South Africa wants WCAR solution for its racism problems

Johannesburg- South Africa (PANA) -- Racism and xenophobia are still evident in South Africa and the government hopes next month's UN World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) would provide ways of dealing with the human rights abuses.
A minister in the President's Office, Essop Pahad, said Tuesday that South Africa was looking to the Durban meeting for solutions to its problems of racism and xenophobia.
He made no mention of the US threat that it would withdraw from the summit if Zionism was equated to racism and if African nations called for reparations for slavery.
The US stayed away from the UN conference on racism in 1978 and also skipped the subsequent one in 1983 over the same issue.
As the host nation, the South African government has avoided joining the controversy.
The government has been careful not to criticise the United States.
"We are confident an amicable solution will be found in Geneva," foreign affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said when asked to comment on the matter.
The final preparatory meeting of the WCAR is under way in Geneva.
Meanwhile, sources close to preparations for the summit in Durban have revealed that it would cost South Africa about R100 million (R8,25 = 1US$) to host the gathering.
Insiders, however, say the government has only received R10 million from donors for the purpose.
They further say the government may have to dig into its own coffers to make up for the difference, especially if the US pulls out.
The South African Human Rights Commission has criticised the US saying its withdrawal would isolate it from issues Americans were concerned about.
"It will be unfortunate and unacceptable as it will be saying to the world community we don't want to discuss things we don't not like," HRC chairperson Barney Pityana said.

31 july 2001 20:43:00




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