AI wants victims of racism highlighted at WCAR

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- Amnesty International has expressed fears that conflicts of interest likely to emerge at the forthcoming World Conference against Racism in Durban could throw victims of racism into oblivion.
"What is important in our view is to point out that racism is the root cause of discriminatory practices which regularly lead to human rights violations," the director of Amnesty International (Belgium), Philippe Hensmans, told PANA Tuesday in an interview in Dakar.
Hensmans, who is attending the 25th International Council of AI, refrained from questioning the negative impact of slavery, but added that there are serious problems of racism these days and it would be a pity if they were left untouched.
"I am not saying that the issue of compensation should not be discussed, and the same applies to the problem of knowing whether Zionism should be linked to racism.
We are concerned about knowing what will happen to victims of discrimination whose rights have been violated whether in Israel or elsewhere", he said.
In the AI 2001 Report on Europe, acts of racism which often take the form of police brutality against asylum seekers, refugees or foreigners, racism and discriminatory behaviour are considered as "the cause of human rights violations".
Thus, according to Hensmans, "fighting against racism is tantamount to fighting against human rights violations which very often result from it".
"Governments should also adopt measures clearly condemning racist acts, and independent investigations of racist-related violations should be carried out and those responsible sentenced.
Existing laws on the repression of these acts should be implemented," he said.
In the third AI campaign against torture launched in October, discrimination is considered as an aspect of torture and human rights violation.
Hensmans cited that "the 1994 Rwanda genocide had a racism aspect inherent in it".

22 august 2001 16:49:00

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