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UN expert group on people of African descent on fact-finding visit to Spain

GENEVA (16 February 2018) – The United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent will undertake its first official visit to Spain from 19 to 26 February 2018 to study the human rights situation of people of African descent in the country.

“We will gather information on any forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, Afrophobia and related intolerance, in order to assess the overall human rights situation of people of African descent in Spain,” said Sabelo Gumedze, who currently heads the expert group.

The Working Group’s delegation, which is visiting the country at the invitation of the Government, will travel to Madrid, Barcelona, Almeria and Ceuta, and meet representatives of the Government, relevant communities, civil society organizations and individuals working on issues of racism and racial discrimination.

Mr.  Gumedze, together with human rights experts Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry and Ricardo Sunga will also study the measures taken to prevent racial discrimination, protect victims of racism and hate crimes, as well as mechanisms for the protection, integration and inclusion of migrants and refugees, and responses to multiple forms of discrimination that specific groups of African descent may face. The Working Group will present a report containing its findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in September 2018.

The experts will also promote the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024), which aims both to highlight the contribution of people of African descent to societies and to strengthen national, regional and international cooperation to ensure the human rights of people of African descent around the world are respected, protected and fulfilled.

A media conference to share the delegation’s preliminary findings will be held on Monday 26 February, at 1400 hrs in UNWTO, Calle del Capitán Haya, 42, 28020 Madrid.  


The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent was established on 25 April 2002 by the then Commission on Human Rights, following the World Conference against Racism held in Durban in 2001. It is composed of five independent experts:  Mr. Sabelo Gumedze (South Africa), current Chair-Rapporteur; Mr. Michal Balcerzak (Poland); Mr. Ahmed Reid (Jamaica), Mr. Ricardo A. Sunga III (the Philippines), and Ms. Marie Evelyne Petrus-Barry (France).

The Working Group is part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the United Nations Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

UN Human Rights, country page – Spain

For inquiries and media requests Mr. Niraj Dawadi (+41 79 221 8074/ ndawadi@ohchr.org) or write to africandescent@ohchr.org. For access to the media conference, contact: ssiv@unwto.org / +34 91 567 933

This year, 2018, is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rightswww.standup4humanrights.org.