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RACIAL EQUITY, EQUALITY, AND JUSTICE - Reinforcing U.S. - EU Parliamentary Coordination to Combat Racism and Systemic Discrimination

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In cooperation with the United States Congress and the U.S. Helsinki Commission

09-22-2020
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On September 22, 2020 Members of the European Parliament from the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Delegation for Relations with the United States and from the Delegtion for Relations with the United States joined the U.S. Helsinki Commission Chairman Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), other Helsinki Commissioners, and select members of Congress discussing racial equity, equality and justice with the goal of reinforcing US-EU parliamentary coordination to combat racism and systemic discrimination.  Following the meeting, participants issued a joint declaration on transatlantic collaboration to address racism and systemic discrimination, including the establishment of a forum for a regular exchange of views between elected representatives and stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic.

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The Joint Declaration

The European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Subcommittee on Human Rights with The United States Congress and the United States Helsinki Commission

Declaration on racial equity, equality and justice with the goal of reinforcing US-EU parliamentary coordination to combat racism and systemic discrimination.

Brussels, Washington DC, 22 September 2020

 

We, in our capacity as committee and delegation Chairs within the European Parliament and the US Congress,

Reaffirm our solid commitment to the founding values of our democracies, based on the rule of law and the protection and promotion of human rights.

We are committed to fight against racism, discrimination and inequalities in all circumstances that undermine the cohesion and well-being of our societies.

Privileged to serve our fellow citizens, we, as legislators, have a duty to respond to our societies’ aspirations to end racial determinism in all areas.

Whilst acknowledging our respective prerogatives, we are committed to working together towards legal frameworks that ensure respect for our common values of equality, equity, and justice, our societies remain affected by prejudice, discrimination, and unequal treatment on different grounds and important gaps remain in the legislative framework aiming at the protection of our citizens.

We recall the European Parliament resolution of 19 June 2020 on the anti-racism protests following the death of George Floyd (2020/2685(RSP) and U.S. Congress resolution Recognising people of African descent and Black Europeans (H.R. 256) introduced March 26, 2019 calling for increased interparliamentary cooperation to address racism.

We recognise past efforts between Members of the European Parliament, United States (US) Congress, and Helsinki Commission supported by civil society to address racial injustice including annual hearings, People of African Descent (PADWEEK), EU Anti-Racism and Diversity Week, the Black European Summit: Transatlantic Dialogue on Political Inclusion, Transatlantic Minority Political Leadership Conferences, and Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Network workshops held in the US Congress and the European Parliament.

We recognise the need to expand and strengthen current efforts, and in this regard, welcome the announcement made by the EU Commission President Von der Leyen of an Action Plan to fight racism and xenophobia and the appointment of a Commission anti-racism coordinator and in this regard support the adoption of national action plans for the United States and EU Member States governments, and a EU-US Joint Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality and Inclusionas outlined in H.R. 256.

Whilst recognisingthat policies, programs, and initiatives to address racism and xenophobia and foster equity and inclusion are most successful when they are properly financed and include a public and private sector focus on human rights, justice institutions, and measuresaiming at recognition, justice and support to victims, health and well-being, education, research, and heritage institutions, employment and entrepreneurship, housing, environment, and natural resources, political participation and representative leadership, science, technology and innovation, and international affairs and national security in addition to other aspects of society.

Parliaments are the beating heart of democracies and embody the people’s will. As Members of the European Parliament and Representatives of the United States Congress, we will ensure that our executives engage in ambitious public policies on racial equity, equality, and justice and ensure their full and effective implementation.

In view of the UN General Assembly midterm review of the International Decade to promote and protect the human rights of people of African Descent (2015-2024), we pledge to continue to work together advocating joint initiatives in international fora.

As credible and reliable partners, we commit to join our forces to ensure the same rights, protections, and opportunities irrespective of race1, ethnicity, or other traits, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and other related United Nations, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Council of Europe international commitments.

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1"The use of the term ‘race’ does not imply an acceptance of theories that attempt to determine the existence of separate human races."

 

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Link to the declaration
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Watch a recording of the event