US withdrawal compounds proceedings at WCAR

Durban- South Africa (PANA) -- Most of the 154 countries officially registered for the World Conference Against Racism in Durban appear to be sticking to their Positions, with the US withdrawal Monday compounding the slow progress recorded by the Conference working groups.
Participants continued to reiterate their positions instead of finding ways of striking a consensus on issues dogging the well-attended Conference, which kicked off last Friday.
After three days of proceedings and four sessions which often went into late evenings, the working group in charge of drawing up the Plan of Action to fight racism has only adopted five paragraphs.
These relate to "putting in place programmes intended for the Africans and people of African descent," "access to justice" and "indigenous people," among others.
Meanwhile, the Conference, which ends Friday, is expected to review a total of 116 paragraphs contained in a draft programme of action.
Delegates say the working group on the draft final declaration is not making progress either, on the document, which has been described as a catalogue of "general principles".
Not even the NGOs have managed to overcome their divergent views, three days after the official closure of their proceedings, with some of them, including the SOS Racism, threatening to distance themselves from the text proposed by the Secretariat of the Forum.
In a communique signed by its Vice-President, Mamadou Gaye, SOS Racism regretted that "in the face of the tragedy facing the Palestinians, NGOs can use their misfortune to revive anti-Semitism by associating Zionism with Racism".
It urged all anti-racist militants to "act for peace and the right of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to live in a recognised and secure State.

03 september 2001 23:24:00

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