The top UN human rights official made those remarks in a speech to the first Meeting of Latin America and the Caribbean on the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) held in Brasilia, Brazil, last week and which bought together States, regional organizations, national human rights institutions, equality bodies and civil society, particularly those of people of African descent, as well as UN bodies from the region.“I am struck by the enormity of the task before us,” Mr. Zeid said. “Ten years to reverse five centuries of structural discrimination? Racial discrimination that has deep roots grown in colonialism and slavery and nourished daily with fear, poverty and violence, roots that aggressively infiltrate every aspect of life – from access to food and education to physical integrity, to participation in decisions that fundamentally affect one’s life,” he said.“A decade is such a short time,” he noted.Mr. Zeid called on States to honour their commitments and obligations under international human rights law and use all the tools at their disposal to make concrete progress in advancing the rights of Afro-descendants. The tools include international human rights treaties, the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) on eradicating racism and xenophobia, as well as the framework provided by the UN General Assembly for the International Decade. The themes for the Decade are: Recognition, Justice and Development. “Today, there are more than 150 million people of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean – about 30 per cent of the population. Yet Afro-descendants throughout much of the region are almost invisible in the halls of power – economic, academic, professional or political, at local or national levels. High rates of inequality persist,” he said.At the end of the meeting on Friday, the delegates adopted a declaration which recalls the UN General Assembly’s Programme of Activities of the International Decade and reaffirms their commitment to the full implementation of the Durban Declaration at national, regional and global levels.States also pledged to adopt affirmative action policies to alleviate and remedy inequalities in the enjoyment of human rights in access to education and employment, in line with the particularities of each country.“Let us seize this chance to tap the untapped potential in hitherto invisible communities. Let us pledge to use these 10 years to turn a corner,” the High Commissioner said.
A senior clergyman has been suspended by church elders after he was arrested on suspicion of voyeurism at a shopping centre.The Very Rev Martin Thrower, 55, has been banned from the pulpit for now by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich in Suffolk after he was detained by police.The churchman’s shocked wife Pauline said the arrest had caused his family “great sadness” but insisted they were all standing by him with “unconditional love”. Whilst this has come as a shock to us as a family we are all supporting Martin with unconditional love at this difficult time.Pauline Thrower Mr Thrower in front of St Mary’s Church, Hadleigh, SuffolkCredit:Su Anderson/Archant Mr Thrower, a widely-respected figure in the local church, has been rector of Hadleigh with Layham and Shelley for the last seven years.The father-of-three also holds the important regional positions of Dean of Bocking and Rural Dean of Hadleigh.Mr Thrower was arrested on August 4 at the Buttermarket shopping centre in Ipswich. He hasn’t been charged over the serious allegations but has been bailed to return to Suffolk Police HQ in Martlesham, near Ipswich, in October.John Howard, spokesman for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said: “I can confirm that The Very Rev Martin Thrower, Rector of Hadleigh, Layham and Shelley, and also rural dean of Hadleigh, has been arrested by Suffolk Constabulary for voyeurism.”He has been suspended from all offices within the diocese until further notice. We have made arrangements to look after his church duties and to offer support to his parishes at this difficult time.”Mr Howard added: “We will make no further comment while the police investigation is ongoing. Our thoughts and prayers are very much with everyone affected by this situation.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Mrs Thrower told the East Anglian Daily Times: “It is with great sadness that we find ourselves in the situation we are now in.”Whilst this has come as a shock to us as a family we are all supporting Martin with unconditional love at this difficult time.”Mr Thrower has led the church in Hadleigh since 2009 and leads a team that has been doing a lot of work in the local community.His determination to shake up St Mary’s in Hadleigh sparked controversy three years ago as he said he wanted to remove many pews to create a more flexible space.The Victorian Society objected to his radical scheme. But Mr Thrower, who has three children got his way after winning permission from church leaders and the work was carried out.His church has since been used by a much wider variety of community groups as a result of his pioneering blueprint.One of these is the Porch Project for youngsters aged from 11 to 20, who meet there twice a week for leisure groups.Although it is backed by St Mary’s and meets there, it is a separate organisation and supports 300 youngsters in Hadleigh.The market town has regularly been slammed for a lack of activities for young people.At the time of the firestorm over the pews in 2013, Mr Thrower insisted: “Churches weren’t built with pews in.”They were built to be the community space, to have the market in and host big meetings and we have an aspiration to return the building to being the true parish church.”