The 48th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
13 September - 8 October 2021
Agenda Item 9: Interactive Dialogue with Working Group on People of African Decent - 4 October 2021
Statement by International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
Delivered by Payton Focht
Thank you, President,
People of African descent are continually and disproportionally affected by weather induced harm. This is due to socio economic inequality caused by systemic racism and segregation. Some POC communities have less access to basic needs as a result.
In February 2021, Texas experienced a record cold winter leaving thousands of people without power and hundreds dead. Utility companies prioritized powering downtown areas, benefiting wealthier neighborhoods, while leaving poor communities, comprised mainly of People of African descent, vulnerable and without the rolling power that was promised.
State assurances have not been met and residents were asked to reduce their electricity-usage mid-heat wave. Climate change disproportionally affects the rights of people of African descent, leaving them more vulnerable to suffer from heat related deaths or harm. The extreme weather has increased demand and cost of utilities, adversely affecting lower-income communities with no financial relief.
EAFORD and Geneva International Centre for Justice recognize that incidents like this are happening all over the world. The international community must work towards effective climate change procedures that include the participation of people of African descent. We strongly advocate for the DDPA and encourage all states to implement its Program of Activities.
We ask the Working Group; what concrete steps must be taken to ensure accountability for incidents that adversely affect the rights of people of African descent more than other communities or groups?