The creation of OJALA
On February 17, 2018, the meeting participants listed below decided to transform what had been until then the “International Working Group-Comparative Assessment of the Utility (or Lack Thereof) of ‘Multicultural Legal Instruments’ for Afrodescendants in Latin America” into a formally constituted group called: In Spanish: Observatorio de Justicia para Afrodescendientes en Latinoamérica (OJALA); In English: Institute of Justice for Afrodescendants in Latin America; In Portuguese: Observatório
The participants in the February 17, 2018 meeting are the founding members of OJALA. On March 20, 2018, the founding members adopted OJALA's constitution.
(From left to right: Jhon Antón Sanchéz, Jean Muteba Rahier, Alicia Saura, Dayana Rivas Brito, Gabriela Iturralde Nieto, Carlos Agudelo, Tanya Hernandez, Sofía Lara, Sara Busdiecker, Gianmarco Ferreira, Rebecca Igreja, Mariela Noles Cotito)
- As OJALA begins its existence, and as indicated in the constitution, our initial objective is to establish in the FIU Law School Library, a Repository of relevant archives of legal cases from all national contexts in the Latin American region in which a) multicultural legal instruments, b) anti-ethnically and racially-based discrimination law (sometimes called racial equality law), and/or c) any other relevant legal instrument(s) have been in use for the promotion and defense of Afrodescendants’ human rights. The Repository should be made available digitally to attorneys from the region as they litigate new cases, to researchers (mostly graduate students and professional researchers) working on the systematic practices of the Latin American legal systems with Afrodescendants, and to activists in search of documentation about related legal cases in other countries of the region.We hope that OJALA’s comparative activities will end up producing knowledge that is of use to community-based and/or national activist organizations,
policy makers, law practitioners, scholars, government organizations, and others.
- As we want to facilitate necessary interventions in Latin American legal systems, we plan to use the comparative knowledge produced with the Repository to design and offer tailor-made (according to specific Latin American national and legal contexts) training workshops for judges, prosecutors, attorneys, law enforcement agents, and other agents of institutions in charge of any aspect of the legal cases involving the three types of instruments listed above. These workshops would have a variety of foci, among which: a) An examination of how to accurately operationalize in specific Latin American legal systems anti-black racism, racial discrimination, racially-based hate crimes and their devastating physical and/or psychological impacts on Afrodescendants. b) An examination of how to use existing relevant legal instruments for the promotion and defense of Afrodescendants’ “ethnically-based” collective rights and right to protection against discrimination and hate.
- We plan to design and conduct research projects in specific national contexts and/or throughout the region (comparative in scope) aimed at producing related knowledge (about the use of “multicultural legal instruments,” “
ethno-racial law” or “anti-discrimination law,” and any other type of legal instruments to protect the rights of, and produce remedies for Afrodescendants in Latin America) that is not made readily available by the Repository.
- We will actively look for the private, local, state, federal, international funds necessary to accomplish OJALA's objectives.
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