UNITED NATIONS WORLD CONFERENCE ON RACISM

By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (June 24, 2000)

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, through the Center for Human Rights, established for three years, in 1993, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.

The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations confirmed this mandate and assigned it to Mr. Maurice Glélé–Ahanhanzo of Benin.

At its fifty–second session, the Commission, by resolution in 1996 expressed its full support and appreciation for the Special Rapporteur’s work and decided to extend his mandate for a period of three years.

Since the establishment of the Special Rapporteur’s Office, Mr. Glélé–Ahanhanzo offices examined racism and racial discrimination in Australia, Austria, Canada, the United States, the Russian Federation, France, Israel, Indonesia, Brazil, and Italy and many other countries.

In 1997, the Special Rapporteur’s Office observed "that racism and racial discrimination persist in various regions of the world both in their structural, economic and social form and in the form on xenophobia. Theories of racial inequality are raising their head while at the same time modern communication technologies, especially the Internet, are being perniciously employed to foment racial hatred, xenophobia, and anti–Semitism."

In this regard, the Special Rapporteur made a number of recommendations which have been approved by the General Assembly and the Commission. These recommendations are: "(a) to convene a world conference on racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia and (b) to consider action at the international level— beginning studies, research and joint action immediately— over the use of the Internet as a vehicle for racist propaganda."

When we discuss racism, we must be clear on this term that is so widely used by so many people.

Through our study groups, over the years, with Dr. Anderson Thompson, we have concluded that racism is "The direct and overall physical and psychological subordination and subjection of one racial group over another for the purpose of maximum political and economic exploitation which is based on the belief (supportable by religious doctrine or scientific data) that either because of heredity (genes, family) or culture (social environment) the dominant race in power is superior to the dominated and powerless race."

The manifestation of racism in the western European world has become institutionalized in a worldwide system of white supremacy. White supremacy continues to have a devastating impact on African people throughout the world.

It is in this context that African people should aggressively participate in the United Nations World Conference On Racism that is scheduled to be held in South Africa in 2001. We must get prepared to do battle on the world stage at this conference.

When Mr. Glélé–Ahanhanzo visited the United States in 1994, he found what most African people in America are keenly aware of— "It should be explicitly acknowledged that 30 years of intense struggle against racism and racial discrimination have not yet made it possible to eliminate the consequences of over 300 years of slavery and racial discrimination, particularly where African Americans are concerned.

One of the African organizations that has consistently taken the struggle of African people to the world arena is the December 12th Movement International Secretariat and Non Governmental Status (NGO) with the United Nations. The December 12th Movement International Secretariat has been successful in addressing the questions of the right of self determination for African people in America and have been participating in organizing for the World Conference On Racism.

The December 12th Movement has held several preparatory meetings in New York to begin facilitating the mobilization and participation of large numbers of people who will be unable to actually attend the world conference, but through these (prep coms) can have their views reflected in the work and actual outcome of the conference.

Attorney Roger Wareham of the December 12th Movement and International Secretary of the International Association Against Torture (AICT) has been assisting in organizing these (prep coms).

Attorney Wareham and the December 12th Movement have suggested four areas that African people should focus on in preparation for the World Conference On Racism and establishing an agenda that reflects the condition of African people in America. They are: (1) passage of a United Nations resolution declaring the Trans–Atlantic Slave Trade as a crime against humanity; (2) reparations for Africa and for Africans throughout the diaspora; (3) a campaign, targeted at the United States Congressional Black Caucus focusing on the demand that the United States hold a national prep com for the World Conference On Racism; (4) a campaign to ensure that the United Nations provide the funding to help South Africa indicated it would need for it to host the World Conference On Racism.

Against this backdrop, the National Black United Front / Chicago Chapter, is organizing a major community forum on the World Conference On Racism that will be held in Chicago on Friday, January 28, 2000. We will be featuring Attorney Wareham and he will give us an update on the United Nations World Conference On Racism.

More on this later!

 
National Chairman
National Black United Front (NBUF)


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