WCAR: Mbeki decries excesses of new economic order

Durban- South Africa (PANA) -- Ahead of the World Conference against Racism set to begin on Friday, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa Tuesday affirmed at an NGO forum that sweeping changes to injustices around the world could be made through conscious intervention.
Mbeki said there was a firm commitment to eradicate the legacy of slavery, colonisation and racism that condemned billions across the globe to poverty and despair.
He said the worst victims of globalisation were not white, adding that the process had led to a structural dis-empowerment of billions of people, making it even more difficult for them to break off the shackles of poverty and underdevelopment.
"Even as it marches triumphantly throughout the globe like an invincible army, the process of globalisation contains within it the makings of an insoluble crisis that will affect even its greatest beneficiaries, unless its inherent tendency to marginalise many is halted and reversed, he warned.
The delegates, numbering more than 7 000, observed a moment of silence for those who died as a result of racism and foreign occupation around the world.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson also addressed the delegates, insisting that while the conference should be forward-looking, it also had to address the past.
"We must not miss the opportunity of coming away from here with clear strategies to carry the battle against racism onto a new plane," Robinson said, adding "but I recognise also the importance of addressing the past, of acknowledging the horrors of the slave trade and the crimes committed during the colonial period".
Robinson said that only by coming to terms with the past would the future be confronted.
She urged the NGOs to engage every sector of society in the ongoing struggle against discrimination and intolerance.
She said NGOs should continue to be the voices of victims and the watchdog on government performance.
At the pre-conference NGO meeting, the South African Non- Governmental Coalition (Sangoco) said contentious issues such as Zionism would be dealt with extensively at the conference despite US plans to boycott the forum.
"We will speak about Palestine, about blockades in Cuba, about poverty, about globalisation, and we will also speak about reparations," Sangoco President Mercia Andrews told delegates.

28 august 2001 17:26:00

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