WCAR debate moves on without US and Israel

Durban- South Africa (PANA) -- The general debate of the World Conference against Racism continued Tuesday without the US and Israeli delegations which withdrew late Monday.
Speakers addressed such modern forms of intolerance as xenophobia aimed at migrant workers, the role of education and the racism of sanctions.
Zimbabwe's Minister of Justice, P.
Chinamasa, refuted the argument that crimes against humanity had not been defined legally at the time of slavery, the slave trade and colonialism.
At the Nuremberg trials in the 1940s, the phrase was used and retroactively applied to crimes committed as far back as 1938, he said.
"We view the reluctance and equivocation over these fundamental issues, and the denial of the problem, as evidence of inherent racism," he said.
Regarding the question of reparations for descendants of the victims of slavery, the slave trade and colonialism, he said the principle of reparations was now recognised in international jurisprudence.
Citing the German reparations to the State of Israel for the Holocaust and United States reparations to Japanese- Americans for their illegal Second World War internment, he asked: "Is the message we take back home that weak nations and peoples have no place in the sun?" Bulgaria's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Petko Draganov, noted the abundance of regional mechanisms designed to handle regional concerns in the Conference and called on delegates not to expand foreign policy agendas into the subject.
He expressed hope that the draft Declaration would become the Magna Carta against all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and that the draft Programme of Action would be the blueprint for building a new world free of those evils.
An official of UNESCO drew attention to the dangers of genetics.
He said more than ever, ethics must keep step with scientific progress and technological applications, so that they did not lead to new forms of discrimination.
He said there was a risk that the new techniques of human reproduction would lead to the selection of embryos, and thereby to discrimination.
World leaders hope to adopt a Declaration and Programme of Action that can be used as a framework by individual countries, governments and their civil society partners to promote policies of tolerance and protect citizens from all forms of discrimination.

04 september 2001 12:43:00

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