PRESENTATION ON THE BEHALF OF THE
INTERNATIONAL STEERING COMMITTEE BEFORE THE WCAR PLENARY
By Myrna Cunningham
We are here to present to the delegates of member states, the
outcome of the international process, that NGO's, indigenous
peoples and other civil society groups from around the World
developed during the preparatory process of this WCAR.
We participated in regional conferences in Strasbourg/France,
Santiago/Chile, Dakar/Senegal, Tehran/Iran, and held NGO
conference in Warsaw/Poland, Katmandu/Nepal, Cairo/Egypt, and
We held the NGO forum of the WCAR between August 28th and 1
September, here in Durban, with more than 6000 participants from
2000 NGO organized in more than 40 caucuses.
It was the first time, Mr. Chair, that NGO's, Indigenous
Peoples, other sectors
of the civil society came together to address the issues on
racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related
intolerance. It has been a complex and difficult process, at
times very hurtful. But we bring to you, today, the NGO's
outcome, The Declaration and Program of Action on the
understanding, that it reflects those regional processes, but the
more important fact, is that it reflects the diverse voices of
victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related
Mr. President, the NGO's forum adopted this document and
request the member States, the UN system to consider including
them in your Declaration and Program of Action.
The NGO's Declaration and Program of Action has been prepared
in two parts.
The first part - is the Declaration, which has an introduction
of 62 paragraphs in which, we reaffirm that all human rights are
universal, indivisible, interdependent an inalienable, and that
all human beings are entitled to all these rights, irrespective
of distinction of any kind such as:
Social/Economic status of origin,
Health including HIV/AIDS status.
We recognize the richness of the diversity of cultures,
languages, religions and people in the World and the potential
within this diversity to create a World free of racism, racial
discrimination, genocide, slavery, xenophobia and related
We recognize that racism, racial discrimination, genocide,
slavery, xenophobia and related intolerance are based on
ideological constructions that assigns to certain group of
persons, certain peoples a position of political, economic and
social power over other through notions of racial superiority,
colour, identity, dominance purity and majority status.
The NGO's Declaration considers that the roots of many
contemporary manifestations of racism and racial discrimination
can be located in the legacy of the slave trade, slavery,
colonialism and foreign occupation which led to forced
transplantation of peoples, massive dispossessions of territories
and resources and the destructions of political, religious and
social systems for which acknowledgement and reparations were
never made, and which created historical injustices based on
ideologies of superiority, dominance and purity, the consequence
of which continues to this day, and we recognize the right of the
victims to reparation of all forms.
The NGO's Declaration also acknowledges the growth of
aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism as expressions of racism
and xenophobia. This often leads to large scale human rights
violations, discrimination, persecution of targeted groups such
as Roma, Kurds, Jews, people from the Caucasus, Central Asia,
former Yugoslavia, Chechnya.
The NGO's Declaration affirm that Indigenous Peoples are
bearers of both collective and individual human rights which
include their right to self determination and to the legitimate
exercise of control over their resource and domination of their
territories on the basis of their historical and cultural
identity and have the rights and responsibility to transmit to
future generations their ancestral territories and identities.
The Declaration affirm the rights to Self Determination of all
peoples including Hawaiian, Kurdish, Kashmir, West Sumatran, West
Papuan, Sri Lankars, Tamils, Tibetans, Roma and the no
independent territories of the Americas such as Puerto Rico,
Martinique and Guadalupe, in that sense we call the United Nation
to devise mechanism an procedures that enable the affirmation of
that right, Resolution 1359/2001 of Un Security Council on
We affirm that multiple forms of Discrimination Against women
limit or negate women's potential for the full enjoyment and
exercise of their human rights and fundamental freedom in all
spheres of life, the patriarchal social structures reinforce all
forms of discrimination Against women particularly those with
disabilities, and that racism also creates other forms of
patriarchal subordination of women.
We are concerned that current forms of globalization and
policies of international financial and trade institutions as
well as the activities of corporations prevent the full
realization of rights of all peoples, maintain and deepen social
exclusion of most marginalized groups. It increases exploitation
and poverty of documented and undocumented migrants groups and
peoples with disabilities.
The NGO's Declaration affirms the right of the Palestinian
peoples to self determination, statehood, independence and
freedom and the right of the return as stipulated in UN
Resolution 194, and recognizes their situation as a new form of
It denounce the strategies of international agreements, such
as the Andean Iniciative and The Free Trade Area of the Americas
Project, as well as the Plan Colombia which promotes large scale
internal displacement, accelerates dispossession and aggression
Against Indigenous Peoples, Afro Descendant and peasant
communities, leading to the denial of human rights including the
right to self determination, causing environmental degradation
and growth of militarization in the region.
We are concerns about increasing anti-Semitism which leads to
violence and hate crimes.
We acknowledge that the Roma, who are a non territorial
nation, dispersed in a World wide Diaspora are denied their right
to a cultural identity are disadvantaged and experience
discrimination. This also aplies to the travelers.
We recognize that the Caste system discriminates against an
enables segregation of communities on the basis of work and
descent such as Dalits in South Asia, the Baraku People of Japan,
the Osie and Oru People of Nigeria and the Gritos of Senegal.
We are concerned with the increasing number of refugees an
asylum seekers, stateless and internally displaced persons most
of the whom are women and children and are more vulnerable to
racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
in the receiving countries and regions.
We are also concerned that Asian and Asian Descendant face
deep seated racism and lack of access to political, economic, and
We condemns the abuse of all forms of power, geed, and
exclusions of victims of environmental racism from decision
making, unequal enforcement, non existent of ineffective
environmental laws and regulations, manipulation of media and
language barriers to perpetuate and conceal the environmental
harms to human health, displacement of people, depletion of
natural resources and degradation of biodiversity.
In the second part, the NGO Program of Action recommends legal
measures that should be addressed buy the UN/Member States, and
civil society, the guidelines principles of acknowledge the past
and its impact on the present, is forward looking, and required a
concerted and sustained effort from members of the global
Community in order to succeed.
We consider the restoration of dignity to those who have
suffered the consequences of racism as central to our humanity.
We demand the political will on the part of governments and other
political, economic and social actors. This indicate the
magnitude of the task and the difficulties that lie ahead in
eradicating racism. It requires radical transformation of
society, re-ordering of global institutions and that the UN
initiate engage and redress current imbalances in global
structures with a focus on addressing the cover issue of poverty,
inequality and social exclusion.
We recognize that all human beings are born free and equal in
dignity and rights and have the capacity to contribute
constructively to the development and well-being of their
societies and, that all human societies ascribed towards shared
values of dignity, equality, justice, tolerance, solidarity,
pluralism and multiculturalism.
The Program of Action defines specific measures and
ü African and African
ü Slavery and Slave Trade
ü Asian and Asian Descendant
ü Criminal Justice and Judicial
ü Dalits and other Communities
discriminated against on the basis of work and descend.
ü People with disabilities
ü Public awareness and access
ü Training and education for
ü Environmental racism
ü Ethnic and National
ü Hate Crimes
ü Health - HIV/AIDS
ü Indigenous Peoples
ü Documented and undocumented
migrants, migrant workers, refugees, asylum seekers, stateless,
displaced persons and members of their families.
ü Palestinian and Palestine
ü Religious Intolerance
ü Roma People
ü Sexual Orientation
ü Young People and the girl
Mr. President, Distinguished Delegates, the NGO's Declaration
and Program of Action reflect the diversity of voices in this
process, each victim faces feels, experiences, visions, hopes,
expresses and live racism and racial discrimination, xenophobia
in a particular way. Perhaps it's not expressed in the standard
UN languages, but it is the legitimate voice, the proposal and
recommendations of the victim.
We strongly recommend member of States to use the NGO's
Declaration and Program of Action for the final adoption of the
Declaration and Program of Action of this WCAR.
The NGO's community of the World, demands policies and
programs that effectively address the intersectionality of the
multiple form of racism and discrimination.
In the following up of Durban, we strongly recognize the
important role played by young people in the preparation for the
Inspired by the slogan of the World Conference Against Racism
UNITED TO COMBAT RACISM: Equality, Justice, Dignity, that brought
us with hope to Durban, should commit you to develop practical
action, oriented, measures and strategies that can enable us to
begin us to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and
related intolerance. We urge you be careful and not to approve
set back in the struggle against racism.
We saw this WCAR as an important occasion for healing,
reconciliation and emancipation of the victim of racism.
We want to go back home encouraged by the growing universal
movement driven by civil society, committed for the creation of a
World free from racism.
The International Steering Committee, SANGOCO, the NGO WCAR
Secretariat wishes to tank the South African People, the South
African Government, the High Commissioner on Human Rights, Mrs.
Robinson, the UN Lyasson Office and most of all the NGO's,
Indigenous People and Civil Society that through their
commitment, hard work at local, regional and international level,
made this vision available.
Now allow me, Mr. President, to hand over officially, the
NGO's Forum Declaration and Program of Action to The World
Posted on 2001-10-03