Youths say slavery is crime against humanity

Port Louis- Mauritius (PANA) -- Mauritian youths have said that slavery should be declared as a crime against humanity.
The youths would also like to see the adoption of an international affirmative action towards descendants of slaves through access to better health, housing, water and other basic needs.
The youths - Diana Bablee, Sandiah Putyah, Visharad Beedassy, Shahed Hoolash, Valérie de Robillard and Béatrice Kong Kam Yuen - voiced their opinion this week at the youth summit held in Durban, South Africa, which was held prior to the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance on Friday.
According to them, human rights and human values should be part of the education curriculum at all levels of formal education.
In Mauritius, they said, regular youth camps for the different ethnic groups should be organised towards this purpose.
"The best-loser system should be removed as well as the mention of religious origin on the birth certificates of all Mauritian citizens since this detail has nothing to do with the citizenship of our country.
"There is a need to introduce history in the school curriculum to stimulate a more objective and comprehensive sense of patriotism among young Mauritians and the regular organisation of debates on these issues on the radio and television", they said.
They also criticised slavery, the Negroid trade and the coolie (Indian) labour system, the holocaust of the Second World War, apartheid in South Africa, the ethnic conflicts in Rwanda, Bosnia, etc.
; and the emergence of local extremist and media groups such as Voice of Hindu, Tamil Council, Hizbollah, Sunday Vani, Zam Zam, La Voice Creole, etc.
, the use of racist terms by politicians for electoral gain, the discrimination against foreign workers (Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, etc.
According to the youths, nobody is born a racist "but that it is either the family or school environment that turns one to become racist.
We are all born free from all these considerations (race, skin colour, caste, ethnicity, religion) which are purely man-made".
They submitted several points as measures of prevention, education and protection aimed at the eradication of racism.
"All international laws against all forms of racial discrimination and intolerance be effectively applied and seen to be applied in every country; dissemination of all these laws to every citizen of each of these countries through conferences, media and printed matter," they said.
The youths also want the harmonisation of all local laws with international laws on these issues and ensure their effective application, the setting up of an International Penal Court to judge all crimes considered as crimes against humanity.
"A legal framework to ensure freedom of religion and equal opportunity to employment; to create awareness through the mass media and conferences on these issues in order to create mutual understanding of each other's culture so as to achieve unity in diversity", they said.

29 august 2001 18:21:00

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