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Let's Talk Human Rights

VOICES: Around the globe, or in your backyard, human rights issues are relatively the same

By Satang Nabaneh

In a world grappling with challenges of poverty, racism, inequality and war, the University of Dayton Human Rights Center is gearing up to host its Social Practice of Human Rights conference Nov. 2-4 at Daniel J. Curran Place (1700 S. Patterson Blvd.). The conference will  focus on addressing rights issues affecting Africa and people of African descent, locally and globally. According to the United Nations, approximately 200 million individuals residing in the Americas identify as being of African descent–including over 50,000 Daytonians.

A central theme of this conference is the right to participate in, contribute to and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized. The right to development is especially important for Africa and people of African descent, who have historically been marginalized and denied opportunities. To better examine this theme, the program is a result of collaboration between the UD Human Rights Center and the International Conference on the Right to Development. This is the first time the conference will be held outside of Africa, presenting an exciting opportunity for local residents to network with and learn from experts from the continent, including academics, researchers, activists, practitioners and policymakers.  

This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone in the journey toward recognizing and safeguarding the fundamental rights of all individuals. As the global commitment to the ‘human rights project’ faces growing challenges, we are coming together to contemplate our pursuit of justice and dignity. We will do so by considering the perspectives, identities and approaches that intersect in this contemporary era. The conference will address other themes like building social movements, achieving a clean and sustainable energy future for all and examining questions of identity and belonging, particularly in the context of Africa and people of African descent. 

Following the #BlackLivesMatter movement and decades of global work, in 2021 the U.N. established the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent, which represents a significant step toward achieving racial justice and equality worldwide. The conference will feature a special session with two members of the Permanent Forum (Justin Hansford, USA and Gaynel Curry, The Bahamas) to share the progress on the declaration of rights and discuss the outlook for this new international mechanism. This continues the work started earlier this year with Hansford’s visit to Dayton as part of a broader effort to collect stories of the Black experience.

Please visit the conference's All You Need to Know page for a complete schedule and to register. E-mail with additional questions.

Satang Nabaneh is Research Professor of Law at the University of Dayton School of Law and the Human Rights Center’s Director of Programs.

Originally published in the Dayton Daily News on October 13th 2023, read the original article here.

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