The Current Struggle of the African and Afro-descendant Diaspora

The Swedish Forum for Human Rights will take place in Gothenburg on November 9 and 10. It is the largest human rights venue in Scandinavia, and this year’s theme is racism. The Institute is one of the organizers, and will during the two days be present with an exhibition booth where visitors can learn more about RWI’s work and meet staff members. The Institute will also host a number of panel debates.

RWI Programme Officer David EileOne of those is “The Current Struggle of the African and Afro-descendant diaspora.” We sat down with one of the panelists, RWI’s programme officer David Eile, to ask him some questions about this topic and why it’s important to discuss now.

 Could you describe the panel and the topic of the debate?

The topic of the debate is a comparative analysis of different forms of struggle for recognition of the afro-descendant population in three different contexts: Sweden, Colombia and Turkey.

The Swedish perspective will focus on the current situation of Afro-Swedes and their potential inclusion as a national minority in Sweden. The Colombian perspective will deal with the effects of the 1991 constitutional recognition of Afro-Colombians, both in terms of the changes that this recognition has entailed and the challenges that still persist in the Colombian society regarding the inclusion of Afro-Colombians. The case of Turkey will be discussed in connection with the challenges and discriminatory patterns suffered by the African population as a new ethno-cultural migrant community.Why is this important to discuss?

This is important to discuss because it relates to fundamental human rights issues and coincides with the overall theme of the conference: How to understand issues related to racism and find ways to combat racism and racial discrimination both in Sweden and globally.

Why is this important to discuss now?

A recent report on Afrophobia in Sweden has shown that the afro-descendant population in Sweden is suffering from hate crimes, spatial segregation, and systematic discrimination within areas such as housing and employment, among other things.

Sweden has recently also received critique from the UN Working Group of Experts of People of African Descent for not properly addressing the multiple forms of discrimination suffered by Afro-descendant Swedes. Therefore it seems both timely and warranted to have a discussion on issues of concern in Sweden regarding this minority group, and also see how these can be related to other contexts in a wider European and global perspective.

The panel debate “The Current Struggle of the African and Afro-descendant diaspora” will be held on Monday November 9th, 15.00-16.00. The panelists are Seda Alp, David Eile, Dr. Michael McEachrane and will be hosted by Alejandro Fuentes. The debate will be held in English.

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