The seminar examined the elements of “access to justice” in relation to the lived experiences of people of African descent, under the “Justice” theme of the Decade. The seminar also raised awareness on the need to strengthen national, regional and international action and cooperation in relation to the full enjoyment of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights of people of African descent.
While the seminar took place in Canada and considered the Canadian context and her national legal framework, it also had an international focus. Experts from around the world attended and spoke at the event and hundreds of thousands of people participated online through social media. Participants shared their stories and contributed to the conversation. It was a unique gathering of legal thinkers and legal practitioners, defense counsel, law students, academics, police services, judicial officials, Government representatives, and civil society activists to discuss these issues together, and provide a practical contribution to the International Decade for People of African descent.
Professor Obiora Okafor, Project Director of E-CASSARE, called on states to commemorate the launch of the International Decade at the national level, develop national programmes of action and activities for the full and effective implementation of the Decade; and to also organize national conferences and other events aimed at triggering an open debate and raising awareness on the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, with the participation of all relevant stakeholders, including government, civil society representatives and individuals or groups of individuals who are victims.
A primer of the expert presentations on access to justice will be published in the coming months as a contribution to the Decade.
The seminar was attended by several experts and stakeholders from within and outside Canada. Also in attendance were the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, OC, OOnt (Representative of Her Majesty The Queen) and several other dignitaries including the Member of Parliament for Whitby, the Honourable Celina Caesar-Chavannes.
Click here to see photos from the United Nations Seminar marking the International Decade for People of African Descent www.flickr.com/photos/92226291@N05/sets/72157676644234993