Tags: Racism | Conference | Turns | Israel

Racism Conference Turns on Israel

Sunday, 02 September 2001 12:00 AM

The master of marathon speeches kept the crowd busy for a "short" 90 minutes.

Minutes before the closing ceremony, Cuban flags were handed out to the crowd of delegates to welcome the Cuban president.

In a stark contrast to the waving flags a lone banner protested the plight of the people of Tibet from Chinese rule.

The NGO Forum’s final Declaration and Programme of Action which was supposed to be presented to Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, run into a major hick-up, when Spanish and French speaking delegates objected to the English only draft document that was used for the final discussions.

This caused a major delay in the drafting of the final document.

Indications are that pressure will be put on Government delegates during the coming week at the World Conference Against Racism and Xenophobia (WCAR), to put pressure on the UN to impose punitive sanctions against Israel, until such time that the state of Israel withdraws unconditionally from all the occupied areas.

Furthermore no consensus could be reached for the final wording in the document on the Israel/Palestinian conflict. The NGO working document stated that the Palestinians are subjected to "apartheid" and "other racist crimes against humanity".

There was even pressure from within the Forum to demand the UN to declare that the actions by the state of Israel against Palestinians are equal to "acts of genocide" and "ethnic cleansing."

The second main issue starting to surface is that of reparations for slavery and colonialism. A very strong lobby in this regard has been coming from the African delegations.

During the closing ceremony, various attempts were made to light a candle, in a symbolic united effort against racism.

But in each attempt it failed due to the strong Durban sea breeze.

Still, there was no indication that the "forgotten” and there issues were to be dealt with: the plights of the people of Tibet, the brutal and inhumane caste system in India, the thousands imprisoned in Cuba's Gulags, the continuous and systematic slaughter of white farmers in Zimbabwe, the conditions of Iraq's children under Saddam Hussein -- and the list continues.

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The master of marathon speeches kept the crowd busy for a short 90 minutes. Minutes before the closing ceremony, Cuban flags were handed out to the crowd of delegates to welcome the Cuban president. In a stark contrast to the waving flags a lone banner protested the...
Racism,Conference,Turns,Israel
357
2001-00-02
Sunday, 02 September 2001 12:00 AM
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