Thursday, December 16, 2021, New York – History was made at the United Nations, as Dr. June Soomer was elected by the Member States of the General Assembly to the newly established Permanent Forum on People of African Descent. Dr. Soomer, whose candidature was endorsed by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), will join representatives from Costa Rica, Egypt, Kenya and the United States of America, to serve a three year term on this subsidiary organ that will serve as a standing forum to hear the voices of people of African descent and help eliminate all forms of discrimination against them.


The Permanent Forum on People of African Descent was established in August 2021, as a consultative mechanism for people of African descent and other relevant stakeholders; and will consist of five members nominated by Governments and elected by the General Assembly and five members appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council. It will meet annually, rotating between the United Nations Office at Geneva and New York Headquarters, and other venues decided by the Assembly.


Dr. Soomer’s experience as a distinguished Caribbean diplomat and scholar/historian, whose published works centre on contextualizing history to guide and advance future generation, will make her contribution to the Forum’s historic first term. The 10 member Forum has at its goal to contribute to the full political, economic and social inclusion of people of African descent in the societies in which they live as equal citizens without discrimination of any kind and contribute to ensuring equal enjoyment of all human rights.


It will also provide expert advice and recommendations to the Human Rights Council, the Main Committees and the General Assembly and the wider United Nations system to address racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance confronted by people of African descent that impede the full realisation and enjoyment of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.


The Ministry of External Affairs, International Trade, Civil Aviation and Diaspora Affairs of Saint Lucia worked arduously in collaboration with Saint Lucia’s Overseas Missions in soliciting support for the successful election of Dr. June Soomer. In light of the above, the Government of Saint Lucia conveys its gratitude to Members States of CARICOM and other diplomatic allies for their unwavering support at the elections. This victory is indeed monumental for the region and the Diaspora at large, given the significant number of Caribbean people of African descent.