[interact_list] [Africa] UN world conference against racism (august 31) and the case in US court

  • From: Akio Fujita <A.Fujita@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: superflychic98@xxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001 14:33:25 +0100


This August 31, there will be a UN anti-racism conference (WCAR)

http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Issues_and_Causes/Race_and_Racism/UN_World_Conference_Against_Racism__WCAR_/

Interesting move is taken by South Africa - 'we want compensation from 
North/Powers - for their past deeds.', understandably. 

Then I think they tried to make this as 'the case' - in terms of 
international law - and I heard they are trying to appeal the case in 
US, because US's courts tend to deal with this kind of 'historic' case 
in fair manner - and 'surprise' outcomes could be expectful. 

BBC radio 4 had good coverages on this issue but - I don't think they 
are retrievable. 

Some (whites) argued against compensation - because it's way too old -
and current generations committed nothing - 'collective 
guilt/sin/responsibility' goes against 'liberalism' and 'individualism'-

But one white British female schloar slashed back,

'So well then, there is no problem turning back all those artifacts we 
have in British Museum. Why we keep them in London? Is there any 
meaning for it?'

No one could answer to this, and the programme ended with this comment. 

That was cracking good. 

[But now those bureaucrats and researchers claimed new budget and built
new buildings for British Museum - and they moved those 'hidden' 
artifacts down there - and they say they are going to hold 

'public/pupils open access laboratory' 

so that they can have 'reasons' for why they need to keep those stolen 
stuff in England. Well, rather - they wanted to get paid a bit more. 
Large monery surely went for the this new Museum plex and new open 
access labs.

'We are educating British citizens and we are making use of those 
artifacts for it. Perfect. Now we can eat budget.'

...well, please, wait, those are stolen...there are people wanting them
turn back...kids...listen up...

]

I will check WCAR/ the case in US court, bit more about it 
in August.

A.


========================================================================
Associated Press: 
Saturday June 2 3:14 AM ET (2001)
U.N. Racism Conference Causes Split
By NAOMI KOPPEL, Associated Press Writer

GENEVA (AP) - An upcoming U.N. anti-racism conference is meant to find 
new ways of promoting future racial harmony. So far, it has done little
but reopen past divisions between the conquerors and the oppressed. A 
two-week meeting in Geneva intended to draw up an agenda and 
declaration for the World Conference Against Racism in August ended in 
deadlock on Friday over whether countries that prospered from slavery 
and colonization should formally apologize for the suffering they 
caused - and pay compensation. Africans want both, but Western nations 
led by the United States, Britain and Canada are resisting any such 
move. Diplomats from 21 countries were told to begin another two weeks 
of talks in late July, in hopes of achieving progress before the 
conference formally opens Aug. 31 in Durban, South Africa. Although 
there are other disagreements - such as what the conference should say 
about the Middle East - the question of slavery has proved the most 
vexing. A proposed declaration prepared by African governments 
described the slave trade as ``a unique tragedy in the history of 
humanity, a crime against humanity which is unparalleled'' and said 
slavery, colonialism and apartheid ``have resulted in substantial and 
lasting economic, political and cultural damage to African peoples.'' 
It demanded an ``explicit apology'' and the establishment of an 
international compensation program. U.N. High Commissioner for Human 
Rights Mary Robinson told the Geneva meeting that there should be 
recognition of what happened, adding that she saw ``great merit in a 
willingness to have that recognition in the form of an apology.'' But 
countries which used slaves and former colonial powers are holding out.
Western negotiators have been keeping a low profile and refuse to talk 
about their positions. Sources close to the meeting said Washington is 
ready to accept a statement acknowledging that slavery, even deep in 
the past, is among the causes of racism today and to ``express regret''
for past use of slaves. But it stops short of an apology and refuses to
accept any suggestion in the text that countries might be financially 
liable today. Such a move, wealthier nations fear, could open them to 
almost endless lawsuits. African groups argue that there should be some
compensation for slavery - because, in effect, labor was stolen from 
the African continent and helped the development of now-rich nations - 
and for the stripping of natural resources during colonial times and 
even today. The huge debts of the developing world can be directly 
linked to slavery and colonialism, they say, demanding that as a result
such debts should be forgiven. ``The U.S. position is weak because it 
is legalistic. They say the question of reparations is difficult 
because the victims are no longer alive. We say the victims have 
heirs,'' said Alioune Tine, of the African Coalition for the Defense of
Human Rights. Advocates of compensation point out that Germany are 
reimbursing victims of Nazi slave labor programs, Switzerland is paying
heirs of Holocaust victims for money that lay dormant in bank accounts 
after World War II and South Africa is trying to address the injustices
of the apartheid era. 

===========================================================================
Thursday May 31 1:40 PM ET
Activists Want Slavery Called African 
'Holocaust' 
By Richard Waddington GENEVA (Reuters)

 - African rights activists said on Thursday they would press a world 
conference against racism to declare slavery and colonialism ``a double
Holocaust'' and would call for compensation from former colonial 
powers. Compensation from countries active in the then legal slave 
trade of the 17th and 19th centuries, such as France, Britain, Portugal
and the United States, could take the form of aid for development, they
said. Speaking for African non-governmental organizations, Alioune Tine
of Senegal, said the impact of colonialism was one of the prime causes 
of Africa's economic backwardness today. He told a news conference: 
``We invite the world conference to declare without hesitation that 
slavery and colonialism are a double Holocaust and crimes against the 
humanity of African peoples.'' International non-governmental 
organizations (NGO) are meeting in Geneva to prepare a common position 
to take to a United Nations (news - web sites) ``World Conference 
against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related 
Intolerance'' to be held in Durban, South Africa from August 
31-September 7. Activist Moshe More, also a member of an NGO steering 
committee set up for Durban, said compensation would not necessarily 
mean cash handouts to countries that suffered most from the slave 
trade. A key element of any reparation was recognition by slave states 
of the evils of the trade when millions of Africans were shipped across
the Atlantic in miserable conditions to work in the United States, the 
Caribbean and South America. COMPENSATION PAYMENTS Rather than cash 
payments, compensation could take the form of aid for development, but 
without the usual strings and conditions attached when the 
International Monetary Fund (news - web sites) (IMF) or the World Bank 
(news - web sites) lent money, More said. But he declined to be drawn 
on how much money African states should seek. ``We are talking 
principles, not figures,'' he said. At the same time in Geneva, 
representatives of U.N. member states are also seeking to hammer out a 
draft text for Durban where the aim is to agree measures to stamp out 
racism around the world. Earlier this week, U.N. High Commissioner for 
Human Rights Mary Robinson said recent race riots in the English town 
of Oldham gave a warning of what happens when racism is left to fester.
Robinson, who will chair the Durban conference, has herself called for 
slavery to be labeled a crime against humanity and the French 
parliament recently passed a bill condemning the practice in similar 
terms. But diplomats said other developed countries were unwilling yet 
to say the same, for fear that they could be exposed to lawsuits 
similar to those brought in the name of Jewish victims of Nazi 
oppression before and during World War Two. ``We are prepared for a 
form of words that acknowledges great wrongs of the past. But 
compensation could be impossible in practice and could open up a legal 
can of worms,'' said one European diplomat. Former President Bill 
Clinton admitted the U.S. role in slavery was wrong during an African 
tour last year but he stopped short of offering an apology. 
Negotiations on the draft text were due to finish on Friday, but 
diplomats said they looked like running into next week. (--Geneva 
newsroom, 41-22-733-3831) 
---------------------------------
Akio Fujita
A.Fujita@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


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