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Inclusion of Afro-Descendents in Ethnic Data Collection: Towards Visibility

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Afro-descendant civil society organisations in Latin America have pursued an important strand of advocacy on reforming national censuses. The aim has been to increase the 'visibility' of Afrodescendant populations through disaggregated data and thus to improve recognition of their distinct identity. Brazil is leading the way on such data collection while other countries are taking first steps, like Argentina and Chile. International organisations have offered support in these efforts, including development agencies and human rights institutions. The census questions added have not always met the expectations of civil society, nor have civil society actors always agreed among themselves on the categories of self-identification. The 2001 World Conference against Racism has also played a key role by challenging the 'racial democracy' myth, exposing racism as a factor in inequality and stimulating increased Afro-descendant social mobilisation.


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Affiliations: 1: Lecturer in Human Rights, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, UK; 2: Researcher; Former consultant, UNICEF-Costa Rica; Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Regional Office, Central America


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