Black African descendents take complaints about Portugal to UN

22 associations representing thousands of black African-descendents living in Portugal have sent a letter to the UN Commission for the elimination of racial discrimination saying authorities in this country are not even prepared to hear them.

Headed up by SOS Racism, the associations have criticised the State for “not recognising that specific policies are needed for these communities”, writes Público, which suffer discrimination in practically every aspect of their lives.

The two-page letter was sent on Monday, and included an “analysis in numbers of racial inequalities in Portugal”, said the paper.

Associations are particularly upset because following the UN commission’s last evaluation (2012) in which it recommended that Portugal “create special measures for vulnerable groups – including African descendents” – the country ‘replied’ saying that it already had an “integrated/ holistic stance towards racial discrimination, based on its profound belief that the phenomenon of racism is a global phenomenon”.

Associations wrote that: “Without recognition, a strategy for development to overcome problems is impossible; justice is impossible”.

Talking further to Público, Ana Fernandes of Plataforma Gueto explained: “We want to show our indignation”. At issue, she said, is the right to be represented.

The associations are hoping now that with their letter, the commission will shame Portuguese authorities into action with a hard-hitting new evaluation, due by December 9.

“Exceptional mechanisms are needed to respond to the exceptional problems”, said Fernandes – adding that it was “unacceptable” that the Portuguese State was not taking discrimination against black African descendents seriously.

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