Minorities at the UN: Eradicate racism towards Afro-Latinas in Latin America
At a side event on 29 November 2011, organized by the OHCHR and chaired by MRG’s Executive Director Mark Lattimer, Leonardo Reales, an Ethnic Rights Consultant for AFROLATINOS and ECODESARROLLO, spoke on the many challenges faced by Afro-Latin women in Latin America, drawing on examples from his home country Colombia. He highlighted the fact that Afro-Colombian women were the poorest of poor, in a country where most afro-descendants live below the poverty line.
Through his research on racism and discrimination in Latin America, he argues that rights abuses amongst the Afro-Latino community begin at home, with families typically sending only men to college and neglecting the higher educational needs of women. This common regional practice, Reales contends, needs to be eradicated to ensure that Afro-Latino women have the same rights to education without any obstacles.
Elements of racism in the media against Afro-Latino women are not challenged, says Reales. He argues for the need to challenge public perception through the media and the formal education system, by educating people on the history of crucial socio economic and cultural contributions made by Afro-Latino women.
Reales states that little is being done by the government to change existing attitudes. Legislation has been insufficient in addressing the meager representation of Afro-Colombians in public institutions – currently at 0.001%, a stark figure given that the 12 million Afro-Colombians make up 30% of the population.
Click on the link below to download and listen to Reales' presentation.