MONTEVIDEO – Government agencies and civil society groups in Uruguay marked Tuesday’s observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination by proposing a strategy for combating xenophobia and racism in the South American country.
“What we are doing is proposing ... an effective deployment in our country of measures against racism,” Rosa Angelo, chair of the Honorary Commission against Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination in Uruguay, told a conference in Montevideo.
The initiative includes mechanisms to enable people to report discrimination when they encounter it.
“Despite decades working on migrants and their rights, we have in the world today a view that in some cases, speaks of migration as a negative space, a space where there is intense conflict, as one returns to build positive spaces and promote positive practices,” Angelo said.
Angelo referred to the National Plan for Education and Human Rights, which comes into effect this year, and said the program includes actions “to advance and defend” the rights of people of African descent, who make up a little less than 10 percent of Uruguay’s population of 3.4 million.
Karina Moreira, director of the Afro-Uruguayan department at the National Institute of Women, told EFE that many Uruguayans of African heritage decline to identify themselves in those terms because of negative perceptions.
Afro-Uruguayans continue to suffer major disadvantages in access to education and employment, she said.