Working to secure the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples

Minority Rights Group International campaigns worldwide with around 130 partners in over 60 countries to ensure that disadvantaged minorities and indigenous peoples, often the poorest of the poor, can make their voices heard.

This information pack has been produced with the support of the European Union. All content is the sole responsibility of MRG.

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Afro-Descendants: A Global Picture


The International Decade for People of African Descent was officially launched by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.

This story pack highlights the marginalized histories, current challenges and future prospects of Afro-Descendant communities in the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East and North Africa. Drawing on a range of case studies, it seeks to highlight the invisibility and discrimination that persist for people of African descent to this day, as well as celebrate their achievements as activists, artists and citizens.

Introduction Shihan de Silva History For centuries, Asia has been home to a rich variety of Afro-descendant communities who are still based in large numbers across the region. However, multiple waves of migration over centuries, indigenization and lost histories have meant that self-identification is often complex, particularly due to the different patterns of movement that […]

27 min read

With improved communication networks, Afro-Asians are becoming more aware of their ethnic origins and cultural roots.

Photo essay

‘The Siddi of Karnataka are descended from runaways and those released from bondage in Goa and neighbouring states. In many villages they appear to have been the original settlers. They braved the beasts – snakes and tigers – and deadly malaria and made headway into the dense forests. They cleared and cultivated the land, and […]

4 min read

Introduction Sarah El Ashmawy A significant proportion of the Afro-descendant population in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) originate in the long history of commerce with sub-Saharan Africa, in particular the slave trade, with millions brought over by Arab slavers to be sold in the region – a practice that persisted well into the […]

22 min read

Introduction The history of Europe’s black population stretches back for centuries, driven by the involvement of many European countries in the slave trade and more recently by migration. This includes, post-Second World War, the flow of workers from various parts of the African continent to Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Germany and […]

24 min read

We believe that in our current society, in the twenty-first century, it is time to get rid of racial stereotypes...

Marialuisa Ferro Introduction Afro-descendant communities have existed in the Americas for centuries, making up an important part of the continent’s demographic. Today, there are at least 150 million people of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean,[1] with Afro-descendants especially prominent in Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela, as well as most Caribbean islands, where Afro-descendants […]

22 min read

Film

A Minority Rights Group International production by acclaimed Colombian filmmaker Hollman Morris. Afro-Colombians have been carrying out small-scale mining in Colombia’s Cauca region since their ancestors settled there in 1637. Today their descendants continue to chip away at the red rock in search of gold, seeing it not only as a means for earning a […]

1 min read