Geneva 2009 Declaration Against Racism


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PEOPLE UNITED AGAINST RACISM

Civil Society Forum 2009 for the DurbanReview Conference
17-19 April 2009, Geneva, Switzerland


 Geneva 2009 Declaration Against Racism
FROM THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE GENEVACIVIL SOCIETY FORUM 2009


A Time to Speak Out

We participants of the Civil Society Forum for the Durban Review Conference2009 held in Geneva 17 to 19 April strongly welcome the holding of the DurbanReview Conference and reaffirm our full and dedicated support for the DurbanDeclaration and Plan of Action (DDPA) adopted by the 2001 World ConferenceAgainst Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

We commit ourselves to renew our efforts and intensifyour work for the implementation of the 2001 landmark programme which constitutea solid foundation in the struggle of humankind against racism and racialdiscrimination.

We express our deep concern over the decision by somepowerful countries to boycott this important conference which falls short oftheir Charter obligations to combat racism and promote human rights for all.

We are appalled by the many obstacles that have beenput in the way of preparing and holding of the Durban Review Conference as aresult of lack of political will resulting in the erosion of support for theDurban Declaration and Programme of Action among some member states which alsohas been reflected in the lack of United Nations support and encouragement forCivil Society preparations for the Review Conference.

We strongly believe and insist that the outcome of the2001 Durban Conference is and must be recognized on an equal level with theoutcomes of other major United Nations conferences, Summits and Specialsessions and that strong and concerted actions need to be taken by the UnitedNations, Member States and Civil Society to reinforce its standing and rightfulplace at the top of the agenda of global priorities.

We must not forget the historical importance of theDurban Declaration and Programme of Action in declaring the transatlantic slavetrade as a crime against humanity. It also provided an understanding and clearanalyses of the emergence of the present day world and the deep roots of racismin the transatlantic slave trade and colonial era. Its remaining legacies arefelt throughout the world in terms of situations of profound social andeconomic inequality, hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice.

While noting with appreciation all the measures takensince 2001 to combat racism we are alarmed that today we are witnessing an upsurge ofracism in many countries as a result of neglect to address root causes andinstitutionalised racism. This has been further exacerbated by the deepeningworld economic crisis. Racism is now taking an increasingly violent andaggravated forms in many countries and regions.

Weexpress our concern at the increasing acts of xenophobia against migrants,migrant workers and members of their family, especially by the migrationpolicies of many countries that lead to aggravated forms of discrimination.Migrant workers and their families must be granted residency and equal rightsin the countries in which they contribute through their work.

Weare equally concerned by the increasing discrimination, violation andexploitation faced by refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, internallydisplaced persons and trafficked persons, including women and children, as thisconstitute an affront to human rights and human dignity. We seek all theinternational community to put the responsibility of all violations of theirrights and all forms of racism and discriminations against them on the hostcountries under the international law.

Weemphasise the multiple and aggravated forms of discrimination experienced by womenglobally, at work and at home, especially marginalized and displaced women,which is exacerbated by racism, racial discrimination and related intoleranceand leads to the denial of their civil, political, economic, social andcultural rights and call for the full respect and implementation of theserights urgently.

Wecall on states to adopt strong and effective measures and support initiatives forchildren and youth relating to work, culture and education so as to eliminatesocial exclusion and better counter racism, intolerance and conflicts.

Weare alarmed by the fact that counterterrorism measures after 9/11 have led tothe rise of increased racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, racialintolerance and religious stereotyping as new and contemporary manifestationsof racism. We condemn the stereotyping of religious minorities and call forthis to be closely monitored and addressed by the United Nations bodies. Thisincludes incitement to hatred based on religious believes, in particular theserious increase in islamophobia. We call for the review of the Anti-terrorlegislation and measures and actively bring them into accord with internationalhuman rights standards.

Wewill continue our work against all forms of racial and religiousdiscrimination, including afrophobia, anti-Arabism, anti-Ziganism, anti-Semitism,islamophobia, anti-African and Indigenous Peoples ancestral spiritualtraditions

Weacknowledge that poverty affects the majority of people world-wide who sufferfrom unequal distribution of wealth and reiterate that the present globalfinance and trade system must be restructured and reformed in the interest ofjustice and the equitable sharing of resources at all levels. This is on behalfof the healing of a world still divided by the exploitation of peoples’resources and the past and continuing legacies of slave trade and colonialism.

Wereiterate that the barbarism of the transatlantic slave trade stands out in thehistory of humanity in terms of its magnitude and organised nature and expressour concern over any attempt to revise the verdict of history of this unparalleledcrime against humanity. We call for the full implementation of the Durban agreements on thetransatlantic slave trade and the full integration of those provisions as wellas those of the recent General Assembly resolutions in the work of the United NationsDurban follow up mechanisms. Such an active role for the Durban follow up mechanisms should providethe ground for a collaborative effort to bring the matters of remembrance,identification of legacies, apologies, reparations, repatriation and otherforms of remedies forward.

Wecall on the United Nations to create a Permanent Forum for Peoples of AfricanDescent and African diaspora in order to ensure their visibility in the UNsystem.

Wenote the continued failure of the international community to recognize thedestruction of many of the worlds indigenous peoples through the impositions ofthe dominant culture in the countries they live. We call on the internationalcommunity to renew the attention to this and to recognize the historical
debt theworld owes to indigenous peoples worldwide.

Weare appalled by the ongoing atrocities, extreme forms of institutionaliseddiscrimination and racist colonialist practices committed against thePalestinian People struggling against all odds to achieve their inalienableright to self-determination according to international law. We condemn thecontinued impunity of the perpetrators and those responsible of these crimesagainst humanity and war crimes and call for immediate measures to bring themto justice. Our solidarity with the Palestinian People will remain firm andalive until the full achievement of all their rights, including the right toreturn, under international law enshrined in the resolutions of the UnitedNations.

Westrongly deplore the silence in the official Durban process and documents regardingdiscrimination based on work and descent, including caste based discrimination,which affect some 260 million people globally, especially women, violatingtheir individual and collective rights and dignity for generations. We call onthe United Nations and international community to support their cause forequality and justice.

Weexpress our strong concern about crimes against humanity and war crimes inDarfur with massive violations of human rights of civilian populations, thecontinuing multiple, racial and discriminatory acts and mass rapes of women. Weurge the international community to implement the relevant United Nationsresolutions.

Weaffirm our solidarity with all victims groups and express our concern of overany acts of harassments and intimidation of persons and groups combating racismand racial discrimination. We call for the release of human rights defendersand community and political leaders unjustly imprisoned for their engagementagainst racism and racial discrimination.

Weexpress our determination to actively use all the relevant instruments andmechanisms for the protection of Human Rights, especially the InternationalConvention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, theInternational Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workersand Members of their Families, the Convention on the Elimination of All Formsof Discrimination of Women, the Convention on the Rights of Persons withDisabilities, the UNESCO Convention Against Discrimination in Education and theILO related conventions. We call for their speedy universal ratification.

The2001 World Conference Against Racism became a catalyst for networking andactivism for anti-racist movements and many victims groups. It allowed them totake their rightful place in partnership with the movements against war and occupation,for human rights, for sustainable development and the quest for social justice,believing that another world is possible and necessary.

Now is the time for a declaration ofresolve to be made by Peoples, Governments and the United Nations to safeguardthe achievements of the World Conference Against Racism. It is time to providefor the implementation of the DurbanDeclaration and Programme of Action in its entirety.

We callfor Governments to decide on a 10-year Summit, aDurban +10, to review the continuedimplementation of the DurbanDeclaration and Programme of Action.

Wedeclare that irrespective of the decisions of Governments we will join forceswith all people of good will to launch our own Durban + 10 process insolidarity with all victims groups in order to ensure that the combat againstall forms of racism and racial discrimination is moved forward.

 

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