African platform at the Durban Conference

Durban- South Africa (PANA) -- Notwithstanding their divergences on key controversial issues, Africans at the ongoing World Conference Against Racism converged in Durban with a nine- item platform adopted way back January at a preparatory conference held in Dakar, Senegal.
The first among the nine points calls on the conference in Durban to get the international community fully acknowledge the historical injustices of the Slave Trade.
The conference should also indict colonialism and apartheid as among the worst institutionalised forms of human rights abuse, and insist that colonial powers offer expressed apology.
The African position, as espoused in Dakar, is for indicted states to "make appropriate compensation to communities and individual victims of racist policies and measures, wherever they were perpetrated and by whoever".
In a fourth request, Africans are emphasise the principle of equal treatment for all.
They note that "other groups that suffered ills and injustices did receive in several instances, apologies from a number of countries as well as huge compensations - be they on a bilateral basis, from public and private sources or, lately, through international organisations".
The African platform also recommends coordination among press associations to develop a code of ethics proscribing the dissemination of ideas that suggest racial superiority, justify hatred or condone discrimination.
States too should formulate laws forbidding political propaganda, organisations and activities that promote discrimination.
The African stance is also for States to grant victims of discrimination certain concessions including exemption from legal expenses, rationalising proceedings and establishing, if need be, special jurisdictions for cases of discrimination.
It also urges States to face up to their humanitarian responsibilities and to make no distinction between religions.
Finally, it enjoins countries hosting immigrant populations to step up training and sensitisation within the police, teachers and local administrators.

03 september 2001 23:46:00

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