54th session of the Human Rights Council
Item 3: ID on OHCHR report on panel discussion on the negative impact of the legacies of colonialism on the enjoyment of human rights
Thursday, 21 September 2023
Thank you, President
Action Canada makes this statement on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative.
The panel discussion on the negative impact of the legacies of colonialism on the enjoyment of human rights was an important initiative by this Council to provide space for a discussion long overdue. Former (and current) colonial and occupying states act as if the council and other multilateral spaces are far removed from colonialism. In doing so they attempt to absolve themselves of any responsibility for reparations and redress. But as many speakers during the panel attested, while many former colonised states gained political independence they are yet to gain full economic independence. In some instances, even their political sovereignty is threatened by unwanted foreign interference by the same former colonial powers who continue to reap economic benefits from this unequal relationship.
Until all neocolonial and occupying states and forces are withdrawn, until transnational corporations and foreign military bases and operations are expelled, until extractivist industries are stopped, until debt is cancelled and the international economic order reframed to put people before profit, people living under occupation and those who bear the brunt of neocolonialism as well as their allies will continue to fight to be free.
We remind the Council that a true decolonial approach must not only focus on the perceived “extreme” manifestations of racism and individual prejudice, but also on the systems of oppression, including capitalism and neo-liberalism which allow human rights violations to flourish. We call on states and the international community to enact systemic change and rethink the foundations of the global economic system. And until then, we must keep colonialism on the agenda of the HRC.
A luta continua, vitória é certa.