Statement

Statement

People of African descent have dispersed in many countries of the world, with over 150 million in the Caribbean and Latin America who have further migrated to the America, Europe, Asia and within and around Africa as well. [1] About 200 million people of African descent live in the Americas and millions elsewhere. [2]  Black people have long been marginalized and discriminated for the stigma attached to the transatlantic slave trade, generations and centuries after the slave trade ended.

They have limited access to education and health services, are denied the right to security and housing and made to lead a life lacking adequate quality or dignity. Innumerable people are subjected to lynching, denied of their civil rights, persecuted from schools and colleges, left unemployed and makeup disproportionately large numbers of population in prison. [3]

Violence against African Americans in recent years are sharp reminders of the deadly consequences of institutional racism in high and low income nations alike, making it a global problem. On May 25th, 2020, the life of a black man named George Floyd was taken away due to knee-to-neck restraint executed by a white police officer, even as Floyd pleaded for it over a sickening eight minutes and forty-six seconds. [4] The latest acts of violence by racist police directed at the black community are occurring at a time when all humans are facing the threat of a global pandemic in the form of COVID-19, thus making our society more fragile while we should be standing in solidarity. 

Hence, there is an urgent need to initiate discussions, design and implement effective measures to promote their participation and ensure their inclusion in social, economic, cultural, political and civil life decisions and more importantly in decisions that affect their lives. We must begin by adopting and implementing national frameworks and policies on the rights of people of African descent, providing them a platform for equality in legislation. There is a necessity to strengthen the system and initiate responsibility among people at global, national, local and community levels.

IFMSA honors and mourns the loss of black lives including George Floyd, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and countless others, and we stand with fellow health professionals who have long argued that police violence and systemic racism are public health issues. We also applaud our National Member Organizations around the world that are allied with anti racism efforts in their communities, and we urge all IFMSA members to reflect on ways in which we can individually and collectively do the same. In order to create a healthy, just and peaceful world for the present and future generations, we strive for the preservation of humanity and dignity of all people. 

References:

[1] https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/pad-final_for_ny.pdf

[2] https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-racism-day 

[3] https://www.un.org/en/observances/decade-people-african-descent/background 

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/us/derek-chauvin-george-floyd-worked-together.html