Saint Lucian Assumes Presidency of UN Permanent Forum for People of African Descent

On Tuesday, April 16, Saint Lucia’s Ambassador, Hon. Dr. June Soomer, is set to create history once more as she officially assumes the role of Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum for People of African Descent. This significant appointment marks a pivotal moment in the global conversation on racial equality and social justice, as Ambassador Soomer steps into a leadership position aimed at advancing the rights and well-being of people of African descent worldwide.

Established in 2021, the United Nations Permanent Forum for People of African Descent serves as a consultative mechanism to address the challenges faced by individuals of African descent and to advocate for their safety, quality of life, and livelihoods. As an advisory body to the UN Human Rights Council, the Forum plays a crucial role in promoting inclusivity, combating discrimination, and fostering empowerment within the global African diaspora community.

Ambassador Soomer’s appointment as the Chair of the Permanent Forum underscores her unwavering commitment to social justice and equality. In an exclusive interview with The Voice, Dr. Soomer articulated her mission to dismantle systemic racism and address the historical injustices faced by people of African descent. She emphasized the importance of advocating for reparations as a fundamental step towards achieving sustainable development and addressing the legacy of colonialism and slavery.

Dr. Soomer outlined a comprehensive agenda aimed at advancing the rights and dignity of people of African descent. This includes initiatives to build historical awareness, decolonize education systems, elevate women of African descent, and strengthen linkages between Africa and the Caribbean. By leveraging her extensive experience in diplomacy, academia, and leadership, Ambassador Soomer is poised to drive meaningful change and promote dialogue on issues of critical importance to the African diaspora.

Furthermore, Ambassador Soomer’s appointment has been met with widespread acclaim, both regionally and internationally. The Grenada National Reparations Committee (GNRC) extended congratulations to Dr. Soomer, recognizing her wealth of experience and her potential to provide stellar leadership in her new role. With over 40 years of academic and professional experience, including serving as St. Lucia’s Ambassador to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and CARICOM, Ambassador Soomer brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her position as Chair of the Permanent Forum.

As she assumes her responsibilities, Ambassador Soomer remains steadfast in her commitment to advancing the rights and dignity of people of African descent. By collaborating with UN anti-racism mechanisms, engaging civil society groups, and advocating for concrete policy measures, she aims to consolidate the work of the Permanent Forum and pave the way for a more just and equitable future for all.

In recognition of her exceptional contributions, the Government of Saint Lucia bestowed upon Ambassador Soomer its highest national award, the Saint Lucia Cross, underscoring her status as a trailblazer and champion of social justice. As she embarks on this new chapter of leadership, Ambassador Soomer stands poised to make a lasting impact on the global stage, embodying the spirit of resilience, determination, and solidarity that defines the struggle for equality and human rights.

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