Newsletter – December 2023

A message from Salimah Hankins, Director of UNARC

Dear beloved coalition members, friends and community.

It is with a heavy and hopeful heart that I inform you that I will be leaving my position as the director of UNARC at the end of January, 2024. So, why am I leaving? Learn more about this and our transition plans here.

We hope that you enjoy this first ever UNARC newsletter, and that you’ll find its contents informative of the important work that you, as a coalition have allowed us to do, and to support you in.

Thank you!

SNAPSHOT OF UNARC’S WORK IN 2023

UNARC organizes the civil society section of the UN EMLER visit to Brazil

UNARC has just completed organizing civil society for a successful EMLER visit to Brazil which ended just over two weeks ago. From 27 November to 8 December, the United Nations International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the Context of Law Enforcement (EMLER) experts visited the cities of Brasilia, Salvador, Fortaleza, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, meeting officials, civil society, and representatives of Black and Afro Descendant communities to hear direct testimonials and document the root causes and effects of systemic racism in policing in Brazil.

UNARC and our local partners arranged the testimonies, before the United Nations EMLER experts, of 108 directly impacted people across four cities in Brazil. See the press release from UNARC and Coalizao Negra por Direitos here. Also, see the press release published by EMLER directly after the visit (also available in Portuguese). See UNARC´s posts on Instagram here and stay tuned for more updates about the Brazil visit.

UNARC organizes UN EMLERS visit to the U.S.

From 24 April to 5 May the United Nations EMLER mechanism conducted its first ever fact finding visit to the United States. The experts visited Washington D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York City. They met with local and national government officials, law enforcement representatives, civil society organizations, grassroots groups and academics, as well as victims of police brutality and their families.

With support from the UN Antiracism Coalition (UNARC) and its local members and partners in each city, the experts heard testimonies from 131 people who are directly impacted by police violence and systemic racism.

The audience listening to directly impacted people testifying at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center in Chicago, IL.

The Experts presented their report on the 54th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, which included a section at the end with a list of the names of all the people who testified. You can read the report here and visit our U.S. visit page here which will be updated shortly.

📸: Directly impacted people raising their fist as a sign of resistance at the Minneapolis Urban League in Minneapolis, MN.

ACLU & UNARC Side Event

📸: Flyer for the side event organized by the ACLU and UNARC

On 5 October the ACLU and UNARC co-hosted a virtual side event discussing two EMLER reports, the report following their historic visit to the United States as well as their thematic report “reimagining policing”.

Did you missed it? You can still see the full video HERE.

Geneva Side Event

Black Migrants in Europe

UNARC holds an in-person side event in Geneva, Switzerland during the 54th Session of the Human Rights Council. During this event, the audience heard directly from Black migrants in Europe who discussed their personal experiences with migration, what is happening more broadly in their region, and what solutions Black communities in Europe are seeking. The panelists in the event were Iki Yos, Caribbean, Afrodiasporic-transborder artist, performer, and anti-racist activist; Moses Von Kallon, President of Aquarius Survivors; and David Yambio, community advocate and spokesperson at the NGO Refugees in Libya. On the panel was also United Nations official Dr. Tracie Keesee, EMLER Expert; and Mr. Abdoul Thioye, Chief of the Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The moderator was Lamar Bailey Karamañites, coalition coordinator for UNARC.

UNARC testifies before the UN

At the 54th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the coalition delivered a powerful  joint coalition statement during the EMLER/OHCHR Enhanced Interactive Dialog. The statement was delivered by UNARC fellow, Nayara Khaly Silva Sanfo.

In the statement,  the coalition reminded States of the High Commissioner’s agenda for transformative change for racial justice and equality. In doing so we urged States to demilitarize police, stop racial profiling, to ensure that a decolonial and interactional approach is used in policing institutions and to take steps towards accountability and reparations in the context of law enforcement. Additionally, the coalition encouraged the UN to maintain the spaces for people of African descent to expose challenges and propose local-based and global solutions, including the EMLER mechanism, which is up for renewal next year.

📸 Credits: UNARC members and staff, Dayana Blanco from ILEX acción Juridica and Marcia Briggs in Geneva to participate in the HRC 54. From left to right: Moises (Aquarius Supervivientes), Salma El Hosseiny (ISHR), Dayana Blanco (ILEX), Lamar Bailey (UNARC), Nayara Khaly (UNARC), Marcia Briggs (impacted person from the UK), and David Yambio (Refugees from Libya)

Geneva Side Event

BEYOND POLICING

Advocates from maroon societies discuss safety and security from a Black freedom perspective

UNARC conducted a virtual event providing the panelists from the EMLER mechanism, and OHCHR, as well as attendees, a way forward based on the experiences and perspectives of people on the ground. Instead of reimagining policing, this event sought to hear from Maroon societies who had their own ideas about safety and security from a de-colonial, Black-centered perspective.  During the event, representatives from Maroon communities in Central and South America shared their views on security for Black people, highlighting the wisdom of their ancestors who resisted and found new ways to live in community. Also, an advocate from North America discussed alternatives to policing desired by Black communities on the ground.  Speakers addressed issues such as security, justice, and reciprocity from a community perspective rather than relying on cultures steeped in anti-Blackness.

UNARC MEMBER CAMPAIGNS

UNARC had the opportunity to provide grants in the amount of $5,000 USD to five UNARC member organizations to support their campaigns. Please see some of these campaigns below:

1.Coalizão Negra por Direitos (CND): (Brazil🇧🇷)

📸 Credits: Picture#3 from CND´s campaign NÃO AO PERFILAMENTO RACIAL DE AFRODESCENDENTES NO BRASIL

CND´s campaign: NÃO AO PERFILAMENTO RACIAL DE AFRODESCENDENTES NO BRASIL(No to the racial profiling of Afrodescendants in Brazil):  CND carried out advocacy activities including dialogues and the presentation of the black movement’s demands to the Brazilian Executive and Legislative branches.

In this regard, a document containing the priorities for action by the government to end racism was delivered to decision-makers. In October, they produced the last technical note of the project on the subject of incarceration of the black population.

 

2.Fundación Afroecuatoriana Azúcar:
(Ecuador🇪🇨):

The campaign VISIBILIDAD DE LA VIOLENCIA RACIAL Y ESTATAL Y  EL RACISMO SISTÉMICO CONTRA LOS AFRODESCENDIENTES EN EL ECUADOR (Visibility of racial and state violence, as well as systemic racism against Afrodescendants in Ecuador) was executed from July until November 2023. The team developed a social media campaign as well as two webinars on the topic of racial profiling in Ecuador. Additionally they provided the first ever mapping of the cases of racial profiling in Ecuador.

3.FETAEMA: The Federation of Rural Workers and Family Farmers of the State
of Maranhão: (Brazil🇧🇷)

📸 Credits: Flyer for FETAEMA´s in-person side event at HRC54

The campaign FETAEMA developed a campaign called The Impact of Police Violence on the Right to Mental Health of People of African Descent Living in Quilombos in Brazil. In this context they developed a website, social media presence in various platforms, a side event to the HRC 54, one webinar, and a short documentary.

Find the short documentary here

4.Centro de la Mujer Afroperuana (CEDEMUNEP) (Peru🇵🇪):

📸 Credits: Social media post from the PERFILANDO EL FUTURO - NO MÁS JÓVENES AFROPERUANOS EN LA MIRA DE LA LEY campaign

The campaign PERFILANDO EL FUTURO – NO MÁS JÓVENES AFROPERUANOS EN LA MIRA DE LA LEY (Profiling the Future – no more Afroperuvian youth in the Spotlight of the Law) was developed by CEDEMUNEP with UNARC´s support. The campaign created a series of flyers, videos and audiovisual material to make visible and provide education on racial profiling in Peru.

See one of their campaign reels HERE

Thank you to our nearly 100 organizational UNARC members for your thoughtfulness and commitment to the liberation of all Black people.

Thank you to all of our staff, contractors, and interpreters for your work throughout the year.  Thank you to ISHR (UNARC’s secretariat and fiscal sponsor) for all of your dedication and hard work on behalf of this movement. Thank you to the EMLER experts and staff for working with us to provide space for impacted people to be heard. And, thank you to our funders at the Open Society Foundation and the Ford Foundation for your support during these challenging times.

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