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DRAFT   

DECLARATION OF THE AFRICAN PREPARATORY REGIONAL MEETING FOR THE WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCE

We, African Ministers, meeting at Dakar, from 22 to 24 January 2001, within the framework of the World Conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 52/111,

1. Recalling that the African peoples attach great importance to their values of brotherhood, solidarity, tolerance and multiculturalism, which constitute the moral ground and the inspiring source for our struggle against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance ; an inhuman tragedy for which Africa has been suffering for too long;

2. Realizing the urgent need to resuscitate and to reinvigorate those cherished values, and that the World Conference against racism is a historical opportunity to achieve these objectives;

3. Recalling also the principles established by the Nuremberg Tribunal including the imprescriptibility of crimes against humanity;

4. Bearing in mind that availing ourselves this historical opportunity requires political will, intellectual integrity, and analytical capacity to draw lessons from past experiences with the view to avoiding their recurrence in the future;

5. Stressing that the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance should not be taken for granted and is not an easy task, the proof from the most recent African experience was the enormous African  sacrifices and unabated struggle for decades before Africa could convince the rest of the world  of the imperative and urgent necessity to dismantle an abhorrent institutionalized racist system of apartheid;

6. Expressing in this regard our sincere appreciation and paying tribute to countries and personalities, all over the world, who lent their valuable support to Africa during its struggle against racism, colonialism and apartheid;

7. Also acknowledging the important role of the African non-governmental organizations, members of the civil society and the media in the fight against racism and encouraging them to intensify their endeavours in this respect;

WE HEREBY

8. Salute the memory of victims of racism and discrimination all over the world.

9. Note with grave concern that, despite the efforts of the international community, the principal objectives of the two Decades for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination have not been attained and that millions of human beings continue to this day to be victims of varied, evolving and sophisticated contemporary  forms of racism and racial discrimination, in particular nationals of different origin, migrant workers, asylum seekers, refugees and foreigners.

10. Express concern that beyond the material increase of racism is the disturbing fact that contemporary forms and manifestations of racism are striving to regain political, moral and even legal recognition in many ways including through some legislative prescriptions such as those related to the freedom of expression, political platforms of some parties and organisations as well as dissemination through modern communication technologies of ideas based on racial superiority.

11. Regret the flagrant contradiction that in an era where globalization and technology have consciously produced a  "global village", the international community is evidently receding from the notion of "human family" based on equal dignity among all human beings.

12. Bear in mind that although the African continent has regrettably suffered ethnic violence including instances of genocidal acts, this is not exclusively a racial phenomenon, but has so many deeply rooted dimensions, namely historical antecedents, foreign interventions, economic constraints, weakness of both State structure and justice system, fragility of democratic institutions and evolution in some parts of Africa.

13. Recall the historical fact that the major racial acts that the African continent has suffered, namely slave trade and colonialism, were essentially motivated by economic objective and competition between colonial powers for strategic territorial gains, control and pillage over natural resources, treasured arts and exploitation and subjugation of manpower.

14. Affirm that the transatlantic slave trade is a unique tragedy in the history of mankind, a crime against humanity which is unparalleled, not only in its abhorrent barbaric feature but also in terms of its enormous magnitude, its institutionalized nature, its transnational dimension and especially its negation of the essence of human nature of the victims.

15. Further affirm that the consequences of this tragedy accentuated by those of colonialism are still present in the form of damage caused to the descendants of the victims, the perpetuation of the prejudice against Africans in the Continent and Blacks in the Diaspora, and the hindrance of the development of Africa.

16. Stress the economic consequences of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and conscious that the economic difficulties of Africa cannot be exclusively explained by foreign factors and historical events, it is nevertheless a reality that those factors and events have had profound effects on the development of Africa.

17. Reaffirm that the discriminatory treatment, inter-alia, in granting visas, working permits, family conditions, housing, access to justice, either established or practiced in certain countries, based on race, color, descent or national or ethnic origin are human rights violations which gravely contradict the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) as well as the principle of the equal dignity of all men.

18. Reaffirm also that the stigmatization of people of different origins by acts or omissions of public authorities, institutions, media, political parties, organisations, national or local, are not only acts of racial discrimination but also an incitement to further recurrence of such acts; thereby resulting in the creation of a vicious circle which reinforces racist attitudes and prejudices and should be declared offences punishable by law.

19. Express concern that the complicating dimension of this vicious circle is that it contributes and intensifies racially discriminatory social attitudes which can hardly be criminalized by law.

20. Recall that without the necessary political will to assume responsibility of and their readiness to recognize historical injustices and their contemporary repercussions, programs of action against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, the anti racist slogans, measures taken at the world conferences and at the regional and national levels will remain without effect in changing deeply ingrained prejudices and reaching the noble goal of genuine human family based on equal dignity and equal opportunities.

21. Affirm that the first logical and credible step to be taken at this juncture of our collective struggle is for the World Conference against racism to declare solemnly that the international community as a whole fully recognizes the historical injustices of slave trade and colonialism as the most massive human rights violations in the history of mankind.

22. Further affirm that this recognition would be meaningless without the explicit apology by ex-colonial powers or their successors for those violations, and that  this apology should be duly reflected in the final Declaration of the World conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

23. Recall that Article 6 of CERD already contains the obligation to provide effective protection and remedies for everyone against any acts of racial discrimination which violate his human rights and fundamental freedoms, a principle reaffirmed by numerous subsequent human rights instruments including the proposed Basic principles and Guidelines on the right to a remedy and reparation for victims of violations of international Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (E/CN.4/2000/62).

24. Strongly reaffirm that States which pursued racist policies or acts should assume legal responsibility for and provide compensation to those countries and  individuals who were victims of such racist policies or acts, regardless of when they were committed.

25. Express deep convinction that everyone's right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating his fundamental rights stipulated by article 8 of the UDHR, article 6 of CERD as well as article 7 of the African Charter on Human Rights undoubtedly applies to victims of racial discrimination.

26. Reaffirm that all individual human rights violations are condemnable, and that collective types of violations such as racial discrimination, deserve similar indignation, which in both cases is not sufficient unless it is complemented by the appropriate remedies.

27. Express conviction that applying a victim-oriented approach to victims of racial discrimination on both national and international levels reaffirms the values of brotherhood, tolerance and solidarity and thus enhances the foundations of human rights law.

28. Affirm that enhancing the victims right to benefit from an international recognition and protection of their right to benefit from remedies and reparation, the international community saves the credibility of the cause of human rights and keeps faith and human solidarity with victims, survivors and future human generations, and reaffirms the principles of equality dignity of all human beings, accountability, justice and the rule of law.

29. Further affirm in particular that the victims right to access to justice is of special importance to victims of racial discrimination, in the light of their vulnerable situation, socially, culturally and economically, and that the principle of equality of victims in the legal systems is meaningless unless it is accompanied by affirmative action.

30. Note that other groups which were subjected to other scourges and injustices have received repeated apologies from different countries as well as ample reparations, on bilateral basis from both public and private sources and lately through international organisations.

31. Affirm in that spirit that all men are equal and that all scourges and injustices should, therefore, be addressed with the same emphasis and that such fairness is a fundamental prerequisite to create a positive state of mind and peace of conscious for all parties involved, which give future efforts better chances of success.

 We recommend to the World Conference:

32. The establishment of a follow up mechanism headed by the chairman of the World Conference and composed of five regional experts entrusted with the supervision of the implementation of the Declaration and Program of Action to be adopted by the World Conference.

33. The setting up of an International Compensation Scheme for victims of slave trade, as well as victims of any other transnational racist policies and acts, in addition to the national funds or any national equivalent mechanisms aiming at fulfilling the right to compensation.

34. The setting up of a Development Reparation Fund to provide additional resources for development process in countries affected by colonialism.

35. The International Compensation Scheme and Development Reparation Fund should be financed not only from governmental sources but also by private contributions emanating in particular from those private sectors which had benefited, directly or indirectly, from transnational racist policies or acts.

36. The follow up mechanism of the World Conference will, inter alia, define the modalities of the compensation scheme for victims of slave trade and to that effect work, closely with the Eminent persons Group established by OAU Council of Ministers' resolution CM/1339 (LIV), mandated to "set out clearly the extent of Africa's exploitation, the liability of perpetrators and the strategies for achieving reparation".

37. The establishment of an international observatory for racially discriminatory attitudes and acts, individual or collective, private or public, including non-state actors charged with the following tasks:

    a) The compilation of information about racial acts and their developments,

    b) The creation of a website by a coalition of NGOs working in the field of combating racism, in collaboration with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to receive and disseminate such information to the widest possible extent,

    c) Provide legal and administrative support and advice to victims of racial acts,

    d) Prepare an annual report on its activities to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

38. The dissemination by the OHCHR to publicize in the most accessible manner through, its website and other appropriate means of all the remedies available through international mechanisms to victims of racial discrimination, as well as the national remedies hopefully enhanced and progressively developed in implementation of the programme of action to be adopted by the World Conference against Racism.

39. The international media through its relevant associations and organizations at both regional and international levels should consider the elaboration of an ethical code of conduct with a view to prohibiting the proliferation of ideas of superiority, justification of racial hatred and discrimination in any form and promoting mutual respect and tolerance among all peoples and human beings.

40. All States should ensure the enactment of legislations with a view to declaring illegal and prohibit political platforms as well as any organizations and all propaganda activities which promote and incite racial discrimination as well as recognizing participation in such organizations as an offence punishable by law.

41. All States should facilitate access to justice and provide legal assistance to victims of racial discrimination in a manner adapted to their specific needs and vulnerability including exemption of fees, simplification of procedures, legal representation and establishment as appropriate of special adapted jurisdictions to deal with such cases.

42. States should intensify their efforts in the field of education to promote the consciousness of the evil of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in order to ensure the respect for the dignity and worth of all human beings.  In this context, States should develop, where appropriate, and implement specific sensitization and training programmes to combat racism, formulated in local languages for all categories of society in particular young people.

43. The OHCHR, in collaboration with UNESCO, relevant specialized regional organizations, and NGOs should periodically consult and co-ordinate their efforts to provide, maintain and adapt technical educational material, inspired by all the cultures of the world, designed to combat racism.

 

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