Racism and racial and ethnic discrimination exist and persist in all societies, in all countries and in all regions of the world, varying the different expressions and manifestations of racism between cultures, contexts, and historical moments.
Despite this undeniable reality, in most countries and regions the existence of racism is suppressed, minimized, and made invisible, instead of recognizing and celebrating the diversity of identities as an enriching aspect of cultures and societies.
The UN General Assembly, in declaring 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent, highlighted as one of its objectives “to adopt and strengthen national, regional and international legal frameworks in accordance with the Durban Declaration and Program of Action, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and ensure its full and effective implementation”. For its part, and within the framework of this Decade, the OAS General Assembly approved the Plan of Action for the Decade for People of African Descent in the Americas (2016-2025), which includes among its objectives “to create a campaign to the signature, ratification and, implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Related Forms of Intolerance and of the Inter-American Convention against all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance”.
Thus, the signing and ratification of the Inter-American Convention against Racism is a central axis for advancing the visibility and recognition of the systemic oppressions that exist in the hemisphere against Afro-descendant people, indigenous peoples, and other groups and racial minorities. And it has a central role for the States of the region to fulfill their obligation of promoting equitable conditions of equal opportunities and combating racial discrimination in all its individual, structural, and institutional manifestations.
However, even though the Inter-American Convention against Racism has great potential to achieve the objective of recognizing, addressing, repairing, and eradicating racism, racial discrimination and related forms of intolerance, its dismissal and lack of ratification by States the region has not allowed an effective use of this instrument. With an increase in hate crimes in the region motivated by race, color, lineage, and national or ethnic origin, the Inter-American Convention against Racism cannot be relegated or forgotten.
As long as racial discrimination and racism continue to be denied or ignored by Latin American societies and governments, there can be no progress towards recognizing the problem and adopting the laws, policies, and measures necessary to combat racial and ethnic discrimination. Dialogue and discussion on racism and racial discrimination must be a process aimed at guaranteeing the effective protection of human rights under equal conditions for each and every person on our continent. 
The alternative, that is not to combat and eliminate racism and racial discrimination in the region, is simply not acceptable. The governments of the Americas cannot be the ones to foster societies where millions of people suffer multiple daily violations of their rights and dignity as a consequence of racism and structural discrimination.
Race and Equality's commitment is simple: to promote that all OAS Member States ratify the Inter-American Convention against Racism, within the International Decade for People of African Descent. For this, Race and Equality is launching a Campaign called “Toward a Region Free from Racial Discrimination” to achieve universal ratification and implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Racism by 2024. This will be achieved through a combination of regional initiatives, as well as bilateral and multilateral commitments. This Race and Equality Campaign will help governments overcome particular challenges that stand in the way of ratification and implementation, such as gaps in resources, institutional capacity, and technical expertise. This will require a broad and deep commitment to raising awareness, addressing concerns and challenges, and promoting the benefits of ratification of the Inter-American Convention against Racism.
We invite all the governments of the Americas to join Race and Equality in achieving universal ratification of the Inter-American Convention against Racism and putting the Convention into practice before the end of the International Decade for People of African Descent. We call on the OAS, the UN, their agencies, and other intergovernmental bodies, national institutions, civil society organizations, and experts who can provide quality advice and sustained support, to join this initiative to achieve the maximum coordination, division of tasks, and a creative exchange of solutions.
 Ariel E. Dulitzky, The Denial of Racial Discrimination and Racism in Latin America, November 8, 2000, p. 1.
 OAS, Plan of Action for the Decade for People of African Descent in the Americas (2016-2025). AG/RES. 2891 (XLVI-O/16). Approved at the second plenary session, held on June 14, 2016, p. 16.
 Ariel E. Dulitzky, The Denial of Racial Discrimination and Racism in Latin America, November 8, 2000, p. 20.