International Day for People of African Descent Date in the current year: August 31, 2022

International Day for People of African Descent The International Day for People of African Descent is one of the United Nations international observances. It is observed annually on August 31 to highlight the contributions of the African diaspora across the world and to fight discrimination against people of African descent.

There are hundreds of millions of people of African descent living outside Africa, collectively known as the African diaspora. The term most commonly refers to the descendants of enslaved people from West and Central Africa who fell victim to the Atlantic slave trade between the 16th and 19th centuries. The African diaspora also includes the Zanj (descendants of Bantu slaves brought to the Middle East by Arab and Persian traders) and the Siddi (descendants of Bantu slaves brought to the Indian subcontinent).

The countries with the largest African diaspora include Brazil (105 million, including multiracial), the United States (over 46 million, including multiracial), Haiti (almost 10 million), and Colombia (almost 5 million). Other countries with significant African populations (over 1 million) include France, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Spain (mostly North African), the Dominican Republic, Italy, Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba, and Germany.

In 2015, the United Nations proclaimed the International Decade for People of African Descent to recognize the need to promote and protect the rights of people of African descent living outside of the African continent. In 2020, while summing up the intermediate results of the campaign, the United Nations remarked that although certain progress had been made at legislative, policy and institutional levels, people of African descent across the globe continue to suffer from discrimination.

The events of the tumultuous year 2020 have demonstrated that people of African descent still face racism, exclusion, and marginalization. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed systematic racism and structural inequalities in healthcare, and the murder of George Floyd has prompted discussions on racial injustice and police brutality.

On December 16, 2020, the United Nations General Assembly declared August 31 as the International Day for People of African Descent. The date was chosen to commemorate the First International Conference of the Negro Peoples, organized by Marcus Garvey and his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which took place in Harlem in August 1920. It resulted in the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World, which condemned European colonization of Africa and formally approved the red, black and green Pan-African flag.

The main goals of the International Day for People of African Descent are to highlight the diversity of the heritage and culture of African peoples and the contribution of the African diaspora to the development of societies, as well as to promote respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of people of African descent and to contribute to the elimination of discrimination against them.

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UN Observances

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International Day for People of African Descent, UN observances, international observances, fight against racism