people of african descent

EU in Historic Move to Protect People of African Descent


The European Parliament passed a historic resolution last week that for the first time calls EU member states to protect and promote the equal enjoyment of rights for people of African descent.

Michael McEachrane, visiting researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, helped draft the document, titled the Resolution on Fundamental Rights of People of African Descent in Europe.

He says the resolution signifies an official recognition by the EU that legacies of European colonialism must be properly recognized. This includes crimes against humanity such as enslavement, he explains.

“The resolution means that these social injustices need to be addressed and redressed,” says McEachrane.

The resolution is a key milestone during the UN’s so-called International Decade of People of African Descent from 2015-2024. The purpose of the decade is to work to overcome historical injustices and promote the rights of people of African descent, who still experience discrimination and marginalization.

New Network to Promote Rights

Moreover, last week McEachrane co-organised a large-scale meeting in Brussels between parliamentarians of African descent from all over the world. The participants agreed to form a network to promote the UN Decade and rights of people of African descent.

McEachrane hopes the new resolution and network will contribute to a more just world:

I hope the resolution will be translated into ambitious legislation and policies to combat nationalism. I think the spread of political nationalism in Europe is mostly a response to increased multiculturalism. Hopefully, the resolution will be a counterforce to this trend and lead to a more equal Europe that takes greater responsibility for the legacies of colonialism and to more international equality between countries.

Such legacies of colonialism are, for example, discrimination and unequal power relations between countries, says McEachrane.

“We are yet to really come to terms with this, recognize it and create equitable and democratic international order. I think this resolution is a small step in that direction,” he adds.

Get to know more about people of African descent in EU

Last year, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published a report on the experiences of people of African descent in EU. Many regularly face discrimination, racist crime and social exclusion.

If you want to hear more about the experiences of people of African descent in Europe, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute will co-organise a lecture about the “Being Black in the EU” report on April 3. Get more information here.