Who We Are

Afrodescendant Population of Latina America II
The afrodescendants, which represent about 20 to 30% of the population in Latin AmericaI, experience disproportionate levels of poverty anof the afro-Panamanian populationd social exclusion, and continue facing a severe discrimination in every field. Even though the existence of national legal...

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What does it mean to be an Afro-Peruvian?

In 2013, the World Bank and the Ministry of Culture of Peru carried out a series of actions to strengthen the visibility of the Afrodescendant community in Peru. In this context, they produced the video entitled “Perú es diversidad” (Peru is diversity). Directed by Bibiana Melzi, photography and editing were done by Hidrógeno Producciones, Carlos Paz and José Yactayo. Executive production by Celeste Paz A.

The video features testimonials from Afro-Peruvian people answering the question “what does it mean to be an Afro-Peruvian?”. Some say they feel invisible in a society in which racism persists, and for other protagonists of the video it means being part of a living culture.


Images of the Regional Forum “Afrodescendant women and political action in Latin America”, which took place in July 2013 in the city of Panama. Organized by the PAAL2 with support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, the forum brought together 34 afrodescendant women from 17 countries of Latin America (in Spanish).View in HD quality on YouTube.

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Recent publications

COSTA RICAAfrodescendats are not invisible
We share with our readers the article "Los afrodescendientes no somos invisibles” (Afrodescendats are not invisible), signed by Yelgi Lavinia Verley Knight, Mayor of Siquirres, Limón, Costa Rica. The text was published on December 10 in the Opinion section of "Extra", one of the most widely read newspapers in that country.

 Yelgi Verley, Costa Rican leader committed to the cause of the full social inclusion of the afrodescendant population, participated in the regional forum for strategic thinking “Afrodescendant women and political action in Latin America. Towards the collective construction of a common agenda", organized by the PAAL2 (Panama, 15 to 17 July 2013).

Download PDF (in Spanish)

Percepciones y autopercepciones de la población afropanameña: identidad y desarrollo (Perceptions and self-perceptions of the Afro-Panamanian population: Identity and Development) 

Publication of the UNDP regional project "Afrodescendant Population of Latin America II" (PAAL2, acronym in Spanish). City of Knowledge, Panama. 2013

Authors: The research and the preliminary version of this report were conducted by IPSOS TMG Panama, while the final version was produced and edited by the regional project PAAL2.

Prologue: Kim Bolduc, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Panama and Resident Representative of the UNDP. 

This qualitative study addresses the discrimination towards persons of African descent in Panama and the areas and ways in which it occurs.  It is based on the self-perceptions that the Afro-Panamanian population has about the barriers preventing its full development and the perceptions that the rest of the population has on this matter. 

This is a comprehensive analysis of the Afro-Panamanian identity that reveals the situations of discrimination and the obstacles still present in several areas: economic, educational, health, social and employment. The study identifies them as real barriers that prevent the Afro-Panamanian population to access standards of living similar to those of the rest of the Panamanian population. The existence of these barriers based on racial discrimination is admitted by the non-Afro-Panamanian population consulted in the investigation.

Regarding employment, in both public and private sectors, the Afro-Panamanian people interviewed for this study reported that they are confined to lower wage jobs, especially in the case of women who suffer the double burden of gender and racial discrimination. 

Afrodescendant and non-afrodescendant participants have both agreed in the perception that the education system is one of the main barriers to the development of Afro-Panamanian population. They consider that this is a result of the invisibilization of the afrodescendants in the academic curricula and the lack of penalties for acts of discrimination in public and private schools. 

The consulted population blamed the media for the dissemination of negative stereotypes about Afro-Panamanians. They also criticized the scarcity of afrodescendant figures in the main audiovisual media of the country. 

With the publication of this kind of reports, the PAAL2 regional project aims to assist governments in the region to achieve more inclusive, equitable and cohesive societies so as to minimize acts of discrimination such as those revealed in this study .
Download PDF (84 pages, in Spanish only)

Situación socioeconómica y mapa político y de liderazgo de la población afrodescendiente del Uruguay  (Socioeconomic situation and political and leadership map of the Afro-Uruguayan population)

Publication of the UNDP regional project "Afrodescendant Population of Latin America II" (PAAL2, acronym in Spanish). City of Knowledge, Panama. 2013

Presentation: Freddy Justiniano, Acting Director, Regional Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean, UNDP. Prologue: Ricardo Ehrlich, Minister of Education and Culture of Uruguay.
This book contains two reports:

I - Socioeconomic situation of the Afrodescendant population in Uruguay.
Authors: Daniel Martínez Cue, Walter Menendez and Sandra Cesilini, Center for Information and Studies of Uruguay (CIESU, acronym in Spanish). Technical assistance: Marisa Elba Diaz and Fanny Trylesinski.
This quantitative report has eight chapters, a section of conclusions and a bibliography. The analysis establishes that the Afro-Uruguayan population is still lagging behind in terms of welfare and development: poverty levels of in the Afro-Uruguayan population double the respective levels of non-Afro-Uruguayan population, while the indigence rate of afrodescendants triples the rate for the rest of the population. 

“Almost three in ten Afro-Uruguayans live in poverty. In addition, about half of this third resides in irregular settlements with poor housing, equipment and comfort. The barriers are higher in the case of young Afro-Uruguayan women living in the countryside (…) The worst living conditions of Afro-Uruguayan population are due to factors that generate social exclusion (…) such as the educational deficits in large part of the population of this ethnic ancestry. These deficits restrict their potential to access good jobs with fair and adequate wages”, says the report in its conclusions. 

II – Political and Leadership Map of the Afro-Uruguayan population
Authors: Eduardo Bottinelli Freire, coordinator of the study, Nadia Mateo Simeone and Franco Gonzalez Mora, Factum Institute, Uruguay.

This study is an unprecedented research in Uruguay, which allows to know how many high positions are held by members of the Afro-Uruguayan population. It also reveals the hidden barriers that prevent the afrodescendant population to access areas of high responsibility. This information is relevant because the access to such positions is related to the full realization of civil and political rights.

For the elaboration of report, was conducted the census "Map of Afro-Uruguayans in high positions", based on a comprehensive survey of existing high hierarchical positions at public sector institutions, the private sector and civil society organizations. In this task, the Factum Institute research team was assisted by the National Statistics Institute (INE) of Uruguay. 

Among the main conclusions of the report stands out the very limited presence of Afro-Uruguayan people in higher hierarchical positions: only 51 people were identified, which equals to 0.8% of the total censed. There is a clear under-representation of the afrodescendants, taking into account that they constitute the 7.8% of the total population.  Inequality is even more evident when considering the position of CEO of medium and large enterprises: in this case, the presence of afrodescendant people reduces to 0.2% of the surveyed companies.

Through the elaboration of this kind of reports, the UNDP regional project PAAL2 seeks to support the efforts aimed at the afrodescendant population performed by institutions in various countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, providing governments of tools that can be used in the design and implementation of public policies that contribute to the reduction of inequalities and persistent inequities in the region.


Perfil sociodemográfico de localidades con presencia de población afromexicana de Oaxaca
(Sociodemographic profile of localities with presence Afro-Mexican population of Oaxaca

Publication of the National Institute of Statistics
and Geography (INEGI) of Mexico, 2013 (136 pages).

In order to contribute to the planning and evaluation of public policies that encourage the recognition and inclusion of the afrodescendant, INEGI conducted a regional survey showing the living conditions of the population that lives in localities with the largest Afro-Mexican population.

The study was based on results of the 2010 Population and Housing Census and the towns of Oaxaca recognized as predominantly afrodescendant historic, social and community organizational settlement by the RED por el Reconocimiento Constitucional del Pueblo Negro de México (NET for the Constitutional Recognition
Of the Black People of Mexico).

The aforementioned NET is constituted by the following organizations: AFRICA A.C., PUMC/UNAM-Oaxaca, Púrpura A.C., Consejera Afrodescendiente de la S.A.I., SOCPINDA A.C., Asociación Cultural XQUENDA, Los Negros y sus Fandangos A.C., Radio Cimarrón, Sociedad Cooperativa de Producción Pesquera
“Santa Quilama”, Grupo Cultural Costa Chica A.C., Grupo las Florecitas, Ébano-Mujeres Artesanas Afros and Unión de Cooperativas Pesqueras de Corralero, Pinotepa Nacional.

The state government of Oaxaca and the Mexico Multicultural Nation University Programme of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (PUMC-UNAM) provided the funding for this publication.
The document is intended for institutional bodies of the three levels of government, educational institutes, academics and member associations of the RED.

Download PDF. 


Situación socioeconómica de la población afrodescendiente de Costa Rica según datos del X Censo Nacional de Población y VI de Vivienda 2011 (Socioeconomic situation of the afrodescendant population in Costa Rica according to data from the 2011 X National Population Census and VI of Housing)

Authors: Luis Angel Lopez Ruiz and David Delgado Montaldo.
Review and editing:: María Florencia Enghel.
Editorial direction: Silvia Beatriz Garcia Savino.
Publication of the UNDP regional project "Afrodescendant Population of Latin America II" (PAAL2, acronym in Spanish). 2013, Panama.

This publication is part of a series of studies on the socioeconomic situation of the afrodescendant population of Latin America, promoted by the PAAL2 with the aim of contributing to the design and implementation of more inclusive public policies. The complete series is available in digital format on the "Publications" section of this website.

This is the second publication of the project on this subject in Costa Rica. The first, took into account data from the 2000 census, while the present study considers the 2011 census data. Creating comparable historical data helps to verify the progress made in the living conditions of the afrodescendant population.

Download PDF (in Spanish)

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International meeting on evaluation and public policy 

From 18 to 20 September will take place in Cali, Colombia, the international meeting “Evaluación y políticas públicas: un enfoque basado en la igualdad de género, la diversidad y los derechos humanos” (Evaluation and public policy: an approach based on gender equality, diversity and human rights", a relevant event on the occasion of the declaration of 2015 as the international year of evaluation (EvalPartners).
Fabiola Amariles (REDWIM) and Victor Manuel Quintero (USC) will coordinate the meeting. Responsible institutions: Universidad Santiago de Cali (USC)- Colombia, Universidad del Valle, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana - Cali, Latin American Network of Women in Management -WIM, UN Women Regional Evaluation Office for Latin America, Latin American Network Evaluation – RELAC, Gender and Evaluation group - RELAC; Núcleo de Evaluación de Políticas Públicas, Universidad de Chile, Red Vallecaucana de Políticas Públicas Territoriales.

People interested are invited to participate by submitting papers. Deadline for receipt of abstract submission: 1st June 2014. Click here to download more information (PDF, in Spanish)
Meeting of the Afro-Panamanian population with the candidates for President

The ONGs gathered at the Afro-Panamanian Forum held last Friday in Panama City a meeting of the Afro-Panamanian community with the 2014 presidential candidates. On that occasion, was delivered the "Proposal of the Presidential Candidates Commitment to Integrate the Needs of the Afro-Panamanian Communities to their Work Agenda", and the candidates present at the meeting were requested to sign the document.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

On the occasion of the celebration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21, we reproduce here some Latin American messages and initiatives adhering to the date established by the General Assembly of the United Nations to commemorate the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960 in South Africa

Central America 
Through a press release isued in Panama on March 21, the Regional Representative for Central America of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Carmen Rosa Villa Quintana, called for states in the region take the necessary measures to eliminate attitudes, prejudices and discriminatory practices that particularly affect Afrodescendants, indigenous people and migrants. Download the full text of the press release (in Spanish).


Organized by the National Movement for Human Rights of Afro-Colombian Communities CIMARRON, on Sunday March 23 a great demonstration for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was held in the streets of Bogotá, under the slogan "My identity, I'm Afro-Colombian. In the next census we will be more! ". With the signature of the national director of the CIMARRON organization, Juan de Dios Mosquera Mosquera, was issued a web document detailing 13 initiatives on which a decision, reflection and commitment are requested from political parties, the Presidency of the Republic, the capital city halls, the media, the business associations, the university system, the trade unions and the social organizations. Link to the document

The NGO LUNDU, Center for Afro-Peruvian Studies and Promotion, released on March 21, a document entitled “Balance de los avances y pendientes en la agenda racial peruana” (Balance of progress and pending in the Peruvian racial agenda), which bears the signature of its Executive President, Monica Carrillo Zegarra. We offer our readers the complete text in PDF format (in Spanish only, click here to download)

Latin America and the Caribbean
The news agency Inter Press Service (IPS) published on March 20 the OP-ED: "Putting an end to the racial divide", signed by Gerardo Noto, coordinator of the UNDP’s Democratic Governance team in Latin America and the Caribbean. The text (in English only) contains valuable information on the situation of Afrodescendants in Latin America. Link to the article.

 In Arica and Parinacota the 4,7 % of the population is afrodescendant


In the XV Region of Arica and Parinacota, located on the northern end of Chile, 4.7% of the population is afrodescendant. Several Chilean media reported this week preliminary data from the "First Characterization Survey of the Afrodescendant Population in the Region of Arica and Parinacota (ENCAFRO)", conducted by the National Statistics Institute (INE by its acronym in Spanish) between May and November 2013.

The survey, whose official publication will be made soon, revealed that the afrodescendant population in Arica amounts to 8,415 people (4.7% of total population). Most of them are women and are located in urban areas. These data position the afrodescendants as the second largest ethnic majority in the region, after the Aymara.

About the study
The geographical coverage of the study included urban and rural areas of the province of Arica, specifically of the towns of Arica and Camarones. The methodology used considered both the exclusive application of samples of the population in certain geographic units (such as blocks of Arica, in the urban area), as the application of a mixed-mode (samples and census) in the rural area of that territory.

The study was developed in the frame of a cooperation agreement signed between the Regional Municipality of Arica and Parinacota, the National Statistics Institute (INE) and Afrodescendant Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) of the region.

For a decade, this initiative was driven by various Afro-Chilean organizations: Oro Negro, Lumbanga, Arica Negro, grouped in the NGO Alianza Afrodescendiente, chaired by Marta Salgado.

Click on the link to see the infography published in the article  Censo Afro en Arica: Hito histórico en el reconocimiento de sus derechos políticos (Afro Census in Arica: Historic Landmark for the recognition of their political rights), signed by journalist Leyla Noriega Zegarra (El Morrocotudo, 11/02/2014).

Download ENCAFRO Results Presentation (INE). PDF in Spanish.

For more information, open the following links:
INE website
Encuesta reconoce a los afrodescendientes como la segunda etnia mayoritaria en Arica
(Survey recognizes afrodescendants as the second largest ethnic majority in Arica). (Diario UdeChile, 11/02/14). 

Afro-Peruvian young leaders receive training in Human Rights


Throughout the month of January, 40 Afro-Peruvian young leaders  from 4 provinces of the Department of Ica (Chincha, Ica, Nazca and Pisco), Peru, are sharing in their respective communities the issues, experiences and knowledge they gained at the Training School of Afrodescendant Young Leaders on Human Rights from the Ica Region.

The School -inaugurated on December 6, 2013 in the city of Chincha- is an initiative of the Black Association for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (ASONEDH) in coordination with Ashanti Peru, Peruvian Network of Young Afrodescendant, for the promotion and observance of human rights and participatory democracy through youth leadership.

For more information, visit the school website.
Watch video on YouTube.

Reports on racism in the front page of La Prensa

“Racismo, barrera para el progreso” (Racism, a barrier to progress),  an article on racism in Panama made the main headline in the front page of last sunday edition of the Panamanian daily La Prensa.

The article summarizes information developed in a longer text also published in the same issue of La Prensa: “Informes de Organizaciones Internacionales. Exclusión racial en Panamá” (Reports of International Organizations. Racial exclusion in Panama). Both articles are signed by Didier Hernan Gil Gil and are based on the study "Perceptions and self-perceptions of the Afro-Panamanian population; Identity and development", a qualitative study recently presented by the UNDP regional project "Afrodescendant Population of Latin America II" (PAAL2) and another report produced by the United Nations Office of the  High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR).

La Prensa is the main opinion forming newspaper of Panama, with an average daily circulation of more than 42,000 and nearly 18,000 subscribers. It is estimated that over half a million people read it at least once a week.

To read the full text of both articles (available in Spanish only), click on the following links:


Study: Afro-Panamanian people perceive discrimination in their country

“Perceptions and self-perceptions of the Afro-Panamanian population: Identity and Development”, a qualitative study published by the UNDP regional project "Afrodescendant Population of Latin America II" (PAAL2), confirms in the opinion of informants - members of the afrodescendant and no afrodescendant populations- the existence of racial discrimination in Panama and details the main barriers that prevent the Afro-Panamanian population to access standards of living similar to those of the rest of the Panamanian population, with the exception of the indigenous people.
The presentation of the publication took place in a workshop held in City of Knowledge and was attended by over 40 people, most of them qualified representatives of the Afro-Panamanian population. The inaugural table was composed by Niurka del C. Palacio U., Vice Minister of Social Development of Panama; Freddy Justiniano, Acting Director of the UNDP Regional Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean,  and Fernando Hiraldo, UNDP Acting Resident Representative in Panama.
Following the introduction by Silvia B. Garcia Savino, coordinator of the PAAL2, Ruben Garrido, Executive Director of IPSOS-TMG -Panamanian firm that developed the study commissioned by the UNDP- explained the methodological aspects of this qualitative research and summarized its main findings. As a guest commentator, participated the Afro-Panamanian sociologist and writer Gerardo Maloney.
Workshop participants’ feedback
Besides expressing their praise and criticism to the study, the workshop participants requested another meeting, in January or February 2014, with the aim of building an afrodescendant agenda on the basis of the presented study. The proposal was accepted and the PAAL2 project team will begin to schedule the meeting in January.
For more information, read the book review on "Publications" and / or download PDF file with the full text of the document.
Media Impact
The presentation workshop was widely covered in the media of Panama and the region. Here are some links to the news published: see full list of links and more photos

New publication reveals the situation of the Afro-Uruguayan population

Caption: Beatriz Ramirez and Edgardo Ortuo, two members of the Afro-Uruguayan population in high government positions (photo of Adhoc Javier Calvelo for Portal 180).
With the participation of 51 people, including high government officials, members of academia and representatives of the Afro-Uruguayan population, on Thursday 28 November was held  at the UNDP headquarters in Montevideo  a workshop for the presentation of the book  “Situación socioeconómica y mapa político y de liderazgo de la población afrodescendiente del Uruguay”  (Socioeconomic situation and political and leadership map of the Afro-Uruguayan population), published by the UNDP regional project "Afrodescendant Population of Latin America II" (PAAL2, acronym in Spanish).

The event began with a panel composed by Aldo Garcia, Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP;  Oscar Gomez, Vice Minister of Education and Culture, Edgardo Ortuño, Vice Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining, and Silvia Beatriz Garcia Savino, PAAL2 Coordinator. See more

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