Anti-racism Conference should produce concrete results

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- The UN-sponsored World Conference Against Racism opening Friday in Durban, South Africa, should lead to concrete programmes at combating racial discrimination around the world, Human Rights Watch urged Tuesday.
"Racism today is a pervasive problem which affects every society," said Reed Brody, Advocacy Director of the New York-based rights group.
Brody added: "We are expecting governments to commit to concrete national and global programmes to stamp out racism in all its forms".
Human Rights Watch in a release Tuesday criticised the United States for warning other countries that the Conference "should not lead to any new programmes to combat racism, any new legal standards, or any additional money to fund anti-racism efforts".
"Victims of racism around the world expect more than empty talk - they expect action," said Brody.
"This meeting needs to offer something to the refugee in Europe who is beaten up simply because he is a 'foreigner,' to the scavenger in India whose low Caste prevents him from rising in life, to the Tibetan tortured by Chinese police, to the Palestinian under Israeli occupation, (and) to the African-American child, who is three times as likely to live in poverty as her white counterpart," he stressed.
Human Rights Watch also called on the government of India to drop its insistence that the issue of Caste discrimination be kept out of the meeting's final declaration, despite an unprecedented international mobilisation around the issue.
"More than 250 million people worldwide suffer under a hidden apartheid of segregation, modern-day slavery, and other extreme forms of discrimination because they were born into a marginalised Caste," said Smita Narula, Senior Researcher with Human Rights Watch.
"Caste discrimination has been a shameful secret for too long, but an emerging global movement will not let it be hidden any longer.
" Human Rights Watch expressed the hoped that the Durban Conference would "call for reparations to address the continuing effects of slavery, segregation, and other extreme forms of racism".
It proposed the creation of "Truth Commissions to examine how a government's past racist practices contribute to contemporary deprivation and to propose methods of redress".
The group also said the Conference should recognise discrimination against refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, and internally displaced persons as a contemporary form of racism.
Governments should reverse practices that discriminate against refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, and reaffirm their commitment to the UN Refugee Convention, Human Rights Watch said.
It said the Conference should address the issue of racial discrimination in the conferring, denying and stripping of citizenship, and recommend measures to identify and remedy the racist effect of law or practice in the administration of justice, even in the absence of racist intent.

28 august 2001 14:04:00

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