The International Day for People of African Descent is celebrated on 31 August globally. The day was first celebrated in 2021, halfway through the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024), which calls for concrete actions on the part of states and other members of the international community to promote recognition, justice and development. The United Nations aims to promote the extraordinary contributions of the African diaspora around the world and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against people of African descent.
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The African diaspora has long been recognized for its spirit and contributions to art, culture, science, and other fields, and it continues to mark a distinctive presence and positive impact in several parts of the world.
International Day for People of African Descent: History
The International Day for People of African Descent was created only recently by the United Nations and is set to be celebrated internationally for the first time this year. This first observance comes in the midterm of the International Decade for People of African Descent, another U.N. initiative. This has largely influenced the creation of this holiday. According to the U.N., 2020 marked the year of a significant change in the way issues of discrimination and marginalization against people of African descent are addressed on a global scale.
While some progress has been made at legislative, policy and institutional levels, people of African descent continue to suffer intersectional and compounded forms of racial discrimination, marginalization, and exclusion. Five years into the Decade, the COVID-19 pandemic shed light on the urgency to address long-standing structural inequalities and systematic racism in health. The lack of recognition remains one of the major barriers impeding the full and effective enjoyment of human rights by people of African descent.