Expert Calls for 'Red Alert' on Resurgent Global Racism
A United Nations
expert today called for a red alert to warn the world about racism
and xenophobia as the alarming resurgence and vitality of the
traditional forms of discrimination are joined by new forms of
discrimination affecting the non-national, the refugee and the immigrant.
ideological landscape is structured both by the excessive emphasis
placed on combating terrorism and the inclusion of cultural and
religious elements, which create cultural conflicts and new
discriminatory practices aimed at many different groups," said
Doudou Diene, UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism,
racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
A new, open and
public form of thought was trying to justify racism and racial
discrimination for security and defence reasons, and rejecting
ethnic, cultural and religious pluralism, he told
on Human Rights in Geneva.
on the Right of Peoples to Self-Determination
of International Indian Treaty Council, said no substantial progress
had been achieved in the Working Group on the draft Declaration on
Indigenous Peoples since there were Governments in the Working Group
that were opposed to the adoption of the Declaration. These
Governments, mainly from the North, wished to establish rules to
declare first and second class peoples, and Indigenous Peoples
rejected that, as there was no international legislation establishing
this, and the right to self-determination was the backbone of all the
other articles for indigenous peoples, who were denied this right.
This denied their existence as peoples. There were many Governments
who favoured the adoption of the Declaration, but also had laws in
their own countries to that effect. The Commission should urge
Governments to adopt this right, and extend the mandate of the
Working Group to enable it to finish its work.
Nations Press Release: Commission
on Human Rights Begins Discussion on Racism, Racial Discrimination
Meanwhile, the UN
observed its oldest and most widely ratified human rights convention,
the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Racial Discrimination, yesterday, a day which also commemorated South
Africa's Sharpeville Massacre of 21 March 1960.
principle of non-discrimination has been established as one of the
foundations of international law, the persistence of racism, racial
discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, demonstrates the
need to look for new ways to address this age-old problem," UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message
to mark the day.
Assembly declared 21 March the International Day for the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination in 1966, one year after the treaty was
adopted and six years after apartheid South Africa's police fired on
some 20,000 unarmed black people protesting at restrictive "pass
laws." Sixty-nine blacks were killed and hundreds wounded in the incident.
achievements of South Africa, "reborn as a free nation exactly
10 years ago," were only too rare, said
Bertrand Ramcharan, the Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights,
"for if progress has been made around the world, we are still
witnesses to widespread racism and xenophobia."