Subject: [fem-women2000 697] FWD: WCAR: Marginalisation and the NGO Forum
From: Makoto TERANAKA <>
Date: Mon, 03 Sep 2001 19:12:57 +0900
Seq: 697

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Date: Sat, 01 Sep 2001 16:18:51 +0800
>From: Kathy Clarin <>
Subject: WCAR Update 9 from Isis International-Manila

Marginalisation and the NGO Forum

The United Nations NGO Forum feeding into the World Conference Against 
Racism brings together 7,000 delegates representing non-governmental 
organisations groups from around the world. Zulu warriors are mixing with 
native Americans, church leaders from New York are meeting Burmese 
refugees. It causes problems.
Translation is a major one. French, Spanish and English are available in 
the larger workshops (although even these were absent for the opening 
China and India, however, combined make up more than a fifth of the world's 
population, but if translation to these languages is available, it is 
unpublicised and scattered.
Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world, but there is no 
translation into Bahasa Indonesia going on.
The most marginalised groups, those who lack the skills, or even just the 
confidence, to participate and negotiate in these European languages, are 
those who are losing out.
I sat in on a working discussion, finalising the input of indigenous women 
for the draft declaration. The group was small, predominantly from 
Australia and Northern America. There was one representative from an 
indigenous people's group in Asia. While an effort was made to include her 
points of view, time constraints and the strain of translation made it 
almost impossible for the Asian woman to contribute.
And, according to some, the resulting documents reflect this. Dr Kua Kia 
Soong of a national human rights body in Malaysia commented on his 
experiences today.
"There was a tendency to be very North-NGO-based. They would talk about the 
legacy of colonialism and then they would take about the trans-national 
corporations, letting many villains, many post-colonial states today, off 
the hook. Not necessarily in the north, but also in the south."
The question of who is setting the agenda at the NGO Forum is becoming 
increasingly urgent. As the Friday deadline closes, it is apparent that 
even among the participants at the forum, not all voices are being heard.

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