Subject: [fem-women2000 692] FWD: WCAR: NGO Declaration: Inclusions, Exclusions
From: Makoto TERANAKA <>
Date: Mon, 03 Sep 2001 19:17:42 +0900
Seq: 692

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Date: Mon, 03 Sep 2001 12:15:08 +0800
>From: Kathy Clarin <>
Subject: WCAR Update 19 from Isis International-Manila

NGO Declaration: Inclusions, Exclusions

The final draft declaration from the NGO Forum at the World Conference 
Against Racism was presented, haphazardly, to the general body this 
morning. Spliced into four parts, and only partially translated, the 
elusive document finally made it into the discussion hall two hours after 
its appearance was first announced.

As the meeting dispersed into smaller 'caucus' discussions to ensure that 
all caucus views are included in the final document, most people seemed 
satisfied. Deborah Robinson from the US, promoting the inclusion of 
environmental racism, a topic that appeared to be being sidelined in the 
earlier stages of the process, said that she was pleased with that section 
of the draft.

Stalin K, a representative from the National Campaign on Dalit Human 
Rights, was also, generally, pleased with the draft. "I think the document 
has covered all the points fairly well, it has gone on record saying that 
caste is not an issue only of India, which is what the Indian government is 
claiming, that caste is an internal matter to India and therefore should 
not be discussed in a world conference. The document very clearly puts the 
figure at 260 million across South Asia, Asia Pacific and African regions."

He was also pleased that 'untouchability' was described as a crime against 
humanity and that it was included in other sections, such as labour and 
migrant workers.

The declaration also sparked controversy.

Tibetan delegates were upset that, despite having been passed through the 
various stages leading up to the Durban conference, all references to Tibet 
were deleted from this draft. The Tibetans accused the Chinese, allegedly 
government-organised NGOs, of hijacking the draft and acting as 
representatives of the Chinese government.

This view was presented at the Asia-Pacific Caucus. As the tent filled with 
delegates, it became apparent that there was a pariah section of seven 
people, separated from other NGOs. They were not at ease, and as soon as 
the discussion began, one started agitating for the right to speak. It soon 
became lively.

Tibetans were accused of not representing the people of Tibet. The Chinese 
reiterated that the meeting had to follow a particular procedure, laid out 
earlier in the day, defined as tightly as possible, allowing no changes. A 
man from East Turkistan accused the Chinese government of crimes against 
the Uyghur people. The chair attempted to hide his obvious sympathies with 
the Tibetan people, and allowed all the Chinese representatives a chance to 
speak. Eventually the matter was decided by a vote. A young Chinese man 
accused the caucus of lacking democracy, pointing out that either side 
could have packed the room with their supporters. Nevertheless, the 
decision taken -- to include country-specific proposals and allow 
amendments based on earlier drafts -- both reflected what the Tibetans, and 
most Asia-Pacific NGOs, wanted.

Oddly, the most explosive discussion in the Asia-Pacific caucus was not on 
Tibet, but on Bhutan, in which representatives from Bhutanese refugee 
organisations prevailed.

The most suprising inclusion in the draft document was a paragraph on 
anti-Semitism equating anti-Zionism. Considering the pronounced 
pro-Palestinian slant of the entire conference, coupled with paragraphs on 
Palestine further on, this one paragraph looked oddly out of place.

Tawfiq Jabareem is from an organisation called the 'Association of 40 
Unrecognised Arab Villages in Israel'. He said that although he was 
generally pleased with the document, his group would be proposing an 
amendment to the offending paragraph.

He asserted, "We think that really they are contradictory with the 
Palestinian issue and with the human rights and self-determination of the 
Palestinian people."

The draft document has to undergo this final process of revision, which was 
supposed to have been completed in time for the closing ceremony this 
afternoon. Only once this is done the final document will be presented, 
letting the world know the issues and concerns of the NGO community on the 
topic of racism.

Sonia Randhawa is a Malaysian journalist with Radiq Radio. She is a member 
of the WCAR Women's Media Team of ISIS International-Manila.

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