Durban II: Participants answer to Westerners who tried to hijack the WCAR

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Geneva/Durban II: Participants answer to Westerners who tried to hijack the WCAR (World Conference Against Racism)

Gilbert Léonard

Paris, April 24, 2009

How many of you could hear the statements made by the numerous representatives who were present at the WCAR, except the one made by Iranian President accusing, I quote, "powerful nations sent migrants in Palestine from Europe, United States of America and from other points of the world to establish a fully racist regime in occupied Palestine" ?

Yet, all their statements are broadcast live and publicly available with no effort at all for journalists at the UN website video archives (here . So why do the media keep this wall of silence on all other sections of the conference whereas "diversity" seems to matter now in Europe?

Can an advised fellow be surprised by the fact that those countries who boycotted the WCAR are the very countries whose centuries-long institutionalised racism marked with the red-hot iron the lives and History of populations on the earth: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States, Italy, Germany, Holland ? Is it really a surprise that their friend countries who agreed to join did so just to "prevent from losing total control of the situation".

In an attempt to hide that the majority of States and NGOs were enthusiastic to contribute to this international conference of hope, A minority of western countries tried many months before its opening and with the complicity of the main media to kidnap the conference or even to get it cancelled.

Because they wanted to dissimulate that they did not meet the commitments they took in Durban I in September 2001 or even to conceal that they took measures and actions contrary to these commitments -namely in the aftermath of 9/11 and of the "war against terrorism", racial profiling, violent deportations of migrants, abductions of migrant parents at their children's school gate, inhuman treatments of political or economical migrants, arrests of human rights defenders and penalization of their activities, hierarchical organization at institutional and juridical levels of victims of discriminations- those few western countries wanted to divert the focus on the tangible and concrete issues addressed by the attendees at the conference.

They wanted to silence the straightforward evidence of their past and present responsibilities in the horrendous consequences of their disgraceful policies against the people of Africa, the Americas, Asia, Oceania, the Pacific and the Middle East.

They wanted to single out all those countries that demand in their vast majority Reparations for these Crimes Against Humanity that are Slavery and Colonisation endured by people of African descents on every continent and nation on earth.

Those very people who partitioned colonized nations many times across history at plundering conferences that they call international conferences pretend to offer their protections to the people they dehumanized as a consequence of these division, yet they refuse to acknowledge as positive that the governments that represent the victims relay they demand for Reparations. They reject the true world-democracy model and they chose to league in a military alliance made up of countries of the North, namely NATO, like preparatory steps towards a new partition of the world.

But the many pressures to intimidate the numerous participants did not work. They presented their reports on the implementations of the 2001 DDPA (Durban Declaration and Plan of Actions) and they showed their willingness to help both the ignored minorities and the dominated majorities.

The statement delivered by Bolivian Minister of Justice (in her original language, Spanish) is remarkably strong and sane from beginning to end.

Those countries who chose to boycott this conference of hope demonstrated that they pertain to this arrogant, archaic, retrograde and anti-universal ideology of superiority of one race or culture or civilisation that they want to impose to the rest of world including against their own populations as a global neo-feudal system. They succeeded, momentarily, with their usual infamy which consists in emptying bills proposals and decisions that would be in favour of the weakest.

But they will not make the weight with the determination of the people of the planet to free themselves from physical and mental domination; they will have no choice but to join the true-democratic-world movement or  they will walk out of History. Universality cannot be imposed by means of force or deception.

The people around the world will continue to exercise their rights and obligations and press their representatives to defend them against the global neo-feudal system and make sure spoken words do not become broken promises. They will give a noble meaning to the words "democracy" and "universal".

Geneva/Durban II,: excerpts from speeches

April 20-24, 2009

audio and video original language:


South Africa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the African Group:

We Africans are the first-hand experience of the pernicious and egregious impacts of Slavery, the Slave Trade, Colonialism, Apartheid and Genocide. We take pride in the decision by the Caribbean community to construct at the UN headquarters a permanent memorial in acknowledgment of that tragedy... Unfortunately, we note that the fight against terrorism has led to the diminishing of civil liberties and an intensification of racial profiling... We reject any doctrine of racial superiority

Namibia, Prime Minister:

The people of Namibia have been victims of institutionalized racism, racial discrimination and related intolerances during the most dehumanizing experience of colonialism and apartheid. The effects of colonial genocide and apartheid brutality are still being felt by my people to this day. Such experiences need to get knowledged ... Racism was ingrained in the social fabric of our society by centuries of colonial and apartheid domination, you agree with me, Mr Chairman, that old habits die hard.

Surinam, former Prime Minister:

Repression on minority groups such as migrants, refugees, indigenous and tribal communities still have destructive effect on the dignity of the human being... What seems to be less understood is that these global efforts [on climate change] will not be effective because their success will be short lived if in the process we cannot sustainably repair the historical damage which still defines relations between and within nations. These reparations must be guided by the resolutions of the Durban conference... We call on the international community to join the Caribbean region in the preparations to erect a permanent memorial at a place of prominence at the UN headquarter in NY to serve as a material symbol of an era that must never be forgotten.

Lesotho, Minister of Justice:

As an immediate neighbor of the former apartheid South Africa, we tasted in a large measure the destructive effects of the practice of racism.

Bolivia, Minister of Justice:

It is important to acknowledge that racial discrimination in Bolivia was a historical social prejudice which began with colonial invasions and which became over the years a system of domination and ethnic exclusion, racism and of intolerance against political and ideological thoughts and against the indigenous people, peasants, women, children and elders, making it possible for racial discrimination to continue up to this day... We cannot fail to recognize the achievements registered by States for Human Rights simply because a few States are leaving this stage of international agreements and are trying to insult us with their absence. It is easy to speak from a first world viewpoint about racial discrimination, racism, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, but how uncomfortable it is to come from a state which is discriminated against and left out of the first world economy which because of its actions has led to our people being characterized by poverty, marginalization and under-development ... we reject the doctrine of racial superiority.

Ouganda, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs-International Affairs:

It's unfortunate that some States decided to stay away from that conference while other chose to walk away yesterday ... indeed, the very essence of tolerance demands us to listen to each other opinion... Racism is many times ignited by the competition for the economic resources

Zimbabwe, Minister of Justice:

Those among us who have been and indeed continue to be victims of racism cannot but be bewildered at the thought that anyone would boycott this essential review conference, we need to hear the view of those who today deny us their company ... They can't absolve themselves of their historical responsibility for crime of racism and its horrendous derivatives of genocide.

Barbados, Ministry of committed development and culture:

Concrete and tangible measures must be taken to repair the damage done to societies by the Transatlantic Slave Trade. We took a logical, practical and developmental approach to the model of reparations and this was reflected in paragraph 158 of the DDPA. I take this opportunity to say that Barbados now calls on the international community to address specifically the implementation of the provisions of this paragraph ... At Durban, Barbados also put posited the need for the creation and implementation of a program to restore to their country of origin the many invaluable art objects, historical artifacts and documents which over the centuries have been removed from Africa and the Americas and from people of African descent and indigenous people. We strongly feel that as a follow-up to this there should be provisions for financial and technical assistance to equip the relevant States with museum and related facilities so they can properly conserve, store and display these items which are an important part of our heritage.

Indonesia, Minister of Foreign Affairs:

History is replete with terrible wrongs inflected through lack of respect for the quality of human being manifested through colonialism, wars of conquest, slavery, apartheid, genocide and ethnic cleansing and other atrocities. The contemporary effects of these past practices and policies have enduring consequences for the people of African and Asian descents.

India, Minister of Internal Affairs:

We cannot loose sight of the continuing need to address all issues of racism and insure that people of African and Asian descents and others who are facing in many cases fresh discrimination do not join the ranks of those victims of racism who in the past had no redress... India was a victim of colonialism. Colonialism was rooted on the notion of racial superiority. Racism has been the very bedrock of colonialism. Millions of millions suffered from racist colonial exploitations, so that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. As a young barrister in SA, he had embarked on a railway journey in a first class compartment. He was thrown out merely because of the colour of his skin. That journey lay down time to Ghandi embarking on another journey of resistance to colonialism, to racial discrimination.

Ecuador, Vice Minister External Affairs:

On behalf of the Indigenous people and persons of African descents we see enshrined the fullest collective rights in economic, social and cultural and political areas including the right to not be victim of racism or any other form of discrimination, together with recognition, redress and reassertion of the communities which have been affected by racism, xenophobia and other related forms of intolerance and discrimination thank to the implementation of the affirmative action. Collective rights are also addressed in terms of secondary norms through the enactment in 2006 of the act on the collective rights of Afro-Ecuadorian people, a law which recognizes and promotes the political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Afro-Ecuadorian community... Before concluding I would like to note the great human historic importance of Nelson Mandela ... On one occasion he said "a nation should not be judged by how it treats its more comfortably placed citizens, by how it treats those who have little or nothing".

Chine, Mr. LI Baodong:

Historically, slave trade, colonialism, foreign aggressions and apartheid brought untold sufferings to people in Africa, Asia and Latin America. They are the main groups concerned by the racism and racial discrimination at focus now. But up to here today some country still cannot face up to history and are refusing to acknowledge their historical responsibilities. Life of the people of African descents have not improved in a significant way.

Cuba, First Deputy Minister for Culture:

Durban 2001 was a milestone in the fight for equal rights for all human beings. On that occasion, the leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, stated that and I quote "racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia constitutes a social, cultural and political phenomenon, NOT some natural instincts of human beings. They are the offspring of war, military conquest, slavery and individual or collective exploitation of the most weak by the most powerful throughout the history of human societies"... We have a moral obligation to redress this and therefore vital to this is political will, not merely at the national level but also internationally. It is necessary first of all to recognize that Slavery and the African  Transatlantic Slave Trade were crime against mankind and that the descendants of the victims of those criminal practises, just like the victims of colonialism and genocidal exploitations applied to indigenous people, should receive Reparations and Compensations they deserve as a measure of historic justice long overdue to them. For Cuba, this is a matter of deep emotion and importance. The African root nurtures our identity and culture.

Guyana, Mr. Patrick Gomes:

Guyana fully supports the view expressed by the representative of Cuba by urging this conference that not only must we recognize slavery and the transatlantic slave trade of Africans as crime committed against humanity but also "the descendants of victims of such criminal practices as well the victims of colonialism and the genocide applied to indigenous people should receive the reparation and the compensation they deserve". These are historical events of sad memory for all humanity.

Democratic Republic of Korea:

Contemporary forms of racism and racial discrimination now prevalent in many parts of the world are deeply rooted in such injustices as the colonialism, the transatlantic trade slave and apartheid as carried out under the doctrine of the racial superiority.

Further reading

"Hijacked" UN Racism Conference

http://www.islamonl Satellite? c=Article_ C&cid=1239888333 286&pagename= Zone-English- News/NWELayout


Publié dans War-Racism

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