Archive for international racism

Remembering the World Conference against Racism

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, HISTORY, Humanity with tags , , , on October 10, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

In 1997, the General Assembly of the United Nations planned the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

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“As we see all around us, racism and racial discrimination continue unabated. Although we refer to our world as a global village, it is a world sadly lacking in the sense of closeness towards neighbour and community which the word village implies . . . there are problems stemming from either a lack of respect for, or lack of acceptance of, the inherent dignity and equality of all human beings . . ”

– Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights March 24, 1999.

The World Conference was held in Durban, South Africa from August 31 to September 7, 2001. It was intended as a landmark in the struggle to eradicate all forms of racism. Governments were asked to “deliver on their promises and make it a conference of actions not just words”.

Combating racial discrimination is a principle of the United Nations as stated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “Faith in fundamental human rights, in dignity and worth of the human person” is stated in the preamble. The Conference focused on achieving these objectives:

  • Review progress made and reassess obstacles since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Right
  • Increase awareness of racism and racial discrimination
  • Formulate ways to increase effectiveness of UN activities and programs aimed at combating racism
  • Consider ways and means to better apply existing standards of combating racism
  • Build the UN resources necessary in the combat against racism
  • Review political, historical, economic, social, cultural, and other factors to racism and racial discrimination
  • Formulate action-oriented national, regional, and international measures aimed at combating racism and racial discrimination

Sadly, the delegates from the U.S. and Israel walked out of the Conference and joined 15 nations in a boycott.  Nine nations boycotted the Conference entirely.

Boycotting nations:

  • Canada
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • United States

Six nations that limited their participation:

  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Czech Republic
  • European Union
  • France
  • United Kingdom

The inability to come together in the common goal to end racism is also reflected in the fact that empowering victims of racism is not included as a Millennium Development Goal.//