Friday, December 2, 2022

UN urged to stop undignified use of African children’s images

“We must dismantle discriminatory structures and create political space for a dialogue on reparations at the international, regional, national and local levels.”

• November 9, 2022
António Guterres
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Catherine Namakula, the chair of the working group on people of African descent, has appealed to the relevant stakeholders to desist from portraying African children in undignified circumstances.

Ms Namakula made the call in New York. She was reacting to a report published and presented to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

“We made an appeal to the United Nations and other stakeholders to desist from using images of African children and children of African descent in undignified circumstances of dire poverty for marketing and fundraising,’’ she said.

In the report, UN human rights experts outlined how discrimination affects black boys and girls worldwide to the extent that they are not considered children, even in the eyes of the law.

They said unresolved legacies of trade and trafficking in enslaved Africans, as well as colonialism, post-colonial apartheid and segregation, continue to harm these children today.

The report by the Working Group on people of African descent highlights discrimination in areas that include the administration of justice, law enforcement, education, and health.

“Due to racial discrimination, racial stereotypes, systemic racial discrimination and xenophobia, children of African descent are not considered as children at all,” Ms Namakula stated.

The report found that throughout the diaspora, children of African descent face heavier policing, including more arrests, police surveillance, racial profiling, strip searches and excessive use of force.

In short, “law enforcement is in conflict with children of African descent,” said the report.

The study detailed how false racial stereotypes of criminality, culpability and dangerousness influence decision-making by police officers, prosecutors, lawyers and judges globally.

“The childhoods of people of African descent are stolen by persistent racial disparities in policing and family interventions, including removal of children and termination of parental rights, and racialised decision-making and outcomes,” they said.

The Working Group stated that it was time to take action to end excessive use of force, extra-judicial killings, disparities, racial profiling, racial stereotypes and stereotyping, systemic racial discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes.

They called for the creation of a racial justice index to measure progress.

“We must dismantle discriminatory structures and create political space for a dialogue on reparations at the international, regional, national and local levels. Only the truth, accountability and justice can eliminate racial discrimination,” Ms Namakula said.

The experts also emphasised that the UN and other stakeholders should stop using images of African children and children of African descent in undignified circumstances for marketing and fundraising purposes.

They further urged these organisations to address negative stereotypes, adding that “children of African descent are not synonymous with poverty.”

(NAN)

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