ADHRB at HRC45: Racial and Ethnic discrimination in the GCC

    On 30 September 2020, ADHRB has delivered an oral intervention at the United Nation Human Rights Council session 45 during interactive debate with Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent.

Madame President,

We thank the Working Group for its work and commitment in investigating the roots that perpetuate racial bias, disparities, and injustice against people of African descent. We are deeply concerned by the fact that racial discrimination against people of African descent, is becoming increasingly prevalent and systemic within societies worldwide.

We consider that to combat racism, in all its forms, it is essential to adopt an institutional and structural strategy, strengthening a broad international commitment towards inclusion and equality in all its senses, irrespective of sex, racial or ethnic origin, age, disability, sexual orientation or religious belief. Such a commitment cannot be resolved in the expression of empty words by States but need to be displayed through effective legislative reforms.

With this regard, we would like to highlight the institutional racism and discrimination experienced by people of African descent in the GCC countries, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. It is documented that Saudi and Bahrain nationals of African descent face systemic discrimination, are subjected to violence and slavery practices, excluded from equal opportunities in all fields, and not granted legal protections and guarantees. Such systemic racism is well reflected in the GCC’s countries reservation with regard to Article 14 of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.

We would like to ask the Working Group if any cooperation has been envisaged with the GCC countries to tackle the systemic discrimination against people of African descent and, also, what measure would it recommend