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ANDEAN COUNTRIES
Making room for Afro-descendens
Latinamerica Press
6/18/2008
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Representatives of the oft ignored Afro-descendent populations of the Andean Community of Nations, or CAN, met in Ica, Peru May 21-23 to form a common development vision and articulate their most pressing needs.

Representatives of the oft ignored Afro-descendent populations of the Andean Community of Nations, or CAN, met in Ica, Peru May 21-23 to form a common development vision and articulate their most pressing needs.

Representatives of Afro-descendent groups from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru proposed a special task force for this population in the Andean region to increase communication between Afro-descendents in these countries and their governments. Participants also agreed this body would push for public policies that promote “economic, social, political and cultural inclusion,” especially for Afro-descendent women, in decision-making positions on the local, national and regional level.

In the Palenque de San José Declaration — an old slave-constructed hacienda in El Carmen, Ica — participants stated that the CAN´s agenda should include the fight against racism, as well as actions in the social, political, cultural and environmental arena to benefit this group.

Representatives also proposed the creation of a racism observatory in the Andean region, and monitoring of education, health care, maternal and infant mortality rates among other indicators in the community, as well as the establishment of previous consultation mechanisms for Afro-descendent populations in the region that guarantees development but with environmental protection. They also proposed financing for research of environmental issues in these communities.

“Only unity will allow us to defend our rights and protect nature to guarantee that everyone can live well,” the declaration said. —Latinamerica Press.


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