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PfPAD 2nd Session – Health, Well-Being, and Intergenerational Trauma

(6th meeting) 2nd Session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent – Thematic Discussion: Health, Well-Being, and Intergenerational Trauma


Item 5: Thematic Discussion (continued): Health, Well-Being, and Intergenerational Trauma

Health is a fundamental human right. For example, the Constitution of the World Health Organization (1946) establishes the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of all human beings, whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) affirms the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (2001) urges States, individually and through international cooperation, to enhance measures to fulfill this right with a view to eliminating disparities in health status, as indicated in standard health indexes, which might result from racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

Recognizing, coping with and resisting the effects of systemic and structural racism on health and well-being has been a long-standing and central theme of African descendent communities across the world, as reflected in nurturing and supportive community practices, religion, music, literature, and other cultural expressions. In recent decades there has also been a growing research interest in the effects of racism on the health and well-being of people of African descent—including, inter- and transgenerational socially or even epigenetically transmitted effects of trauma, rates of maternal and infant mortality, high rates of gender-based violence, non-communicable diseases and disproportionate fatalities from COVID-infection. This thematic panel offers an opportunity for a conversation on how to promote the right to health and well-being of people of African descent and the way to integrate these subjects in the Declaration, the work of the Permanent Forum, the United Nations system, Member States, and communities.


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