ORGANIZATION FOR THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
5 route des Morillons, CP 2100. 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
Telephone & Fax: 788.62.33
ON PREVENTION OF DISCRIMINATION AND PROTECTION OF MINORITIES Fifty -
first session ( 2 AUGUST -
27 August 1999)
3: Comprehensive examination of thematic issues relating to the
elimination of racial discrimination
Racism and racial discrimination in all its multifaceted
manifestations has invariably had a negative impact on human society
throughout decades and centuries of documented history.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon modern society at the end of the
twentieth century to seriously evaluate itself and face its weaknesses
in order to rid the world of this dangerous ailment that is threatening
the future of forthcoming generations.
In such critical assessment of the past and present is a major
test of our binding sense of individual and group responsibility under
the guardianship of this great international organization, the United
Nations, which we have agreed to recognize as an international
instrument for peace and prosperity on this planet.
One of the first things that come to mind in relation to
racism and racial discrimination is that it is a phenomenon, which
persisted throughout our human history and resulted in many afflictions
and tragedies. Some of the
most recent tragedies that come to mind were the premeditated plan to
annihilate the native Indians, as well as, the exploitation of Africans
in the continent we know now as America.
However, what appears to be happening is that current
historical trends show us clearly that this phenomenon with its ethnic,
religious and racial elements has begun to diminish in its popularity.
Little by little, it is being replaced and re-manifested through
a new scale designed to discriminate between nations and peoples on the
basis of rich vs. poor nations and developed vs. developing countries.
The peoples of advanced nations whose progressive
civilization took strides in science and technology, in general, look
condescendingly and with a sense of superiority upon peoples of less
advanced nations. What
makes the gap wider and worse for humanity is that some of the advanced
nations have constantly taken advantage of the bad circumstances from
which less advanced nations have suffered.
By doing so, advanced nations have gained even more power over
the less advanced nations and have managed to continue exhausting their
resources. This is often
done in devious and insidious ways that obstruct any potential for
advancement and progress.
Eventually, all of this has led to a major disparity,
instability and imbalanced states in world affairs as witnessed today
especially in comparison between the West and East, and the North and
South, whereby the injustice and oppression are so deep-rooted and
widespread that the inequity is self-evident.
Moreover, empirical studies and statistics further support that
two thirds of the world revenues go to one third of the world’s
population. Whereas one third of the world’s revenue goes to two thirds
of the developing world’s population.
Since the world has become a smaller “Global Village” due
to more efficient and sophisticated communications and transportation
networks, it has been easier to follow up its overall momentum. The general sense of injustice and oppression has devastated
the population of developing nations leading some groups to migrate in
unrestrained large numbers to the developed world.
The negative and tragic consequences of such wide-scale migration
have affected both the migrating people and the populations in which
they had to be integrated.
At the same time, this general sense of injustice and
oppression has led some other groups to express opposition and hostility
through severe measures. The
dangerous consequences of such angry rebellion have made the threat of
violence and terrorism a reality for the innocent victims who always end
up paying the price with their lives for crimes they did not commit and
oppressive circumstances they are not responsible for.
After this short introduction which admittedly requires
further elaboration, we think that combating racism and racial
discrimination should be undertaken through combating its basic roots as
manifested in an ever widening disparity between extreme states of
poverty/wealth, illiteracy/literacy and underdevelopment/ advancement.
The upcoming World Conference against Racism and Racial
Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance should focus on these
basic elements of racism especially in relation to the issue of
underdevelopment. we should
try to exert our efforts to address this problematic phenomenon of
development (i.e. progress and prosperity) on one hand, and
underdevelopment on the other hand.
It is important to highlight this issue rather than to keep
addressing the ethnic, religious and racial symptoms since these seem to
be merely the peripheral
side-effects which have commonly and typically taken priority in
previous meetings. So far,
the focus on the ethnic, religious and racial manifestations has only
succeeded at generating recommendations and drafting resolutions by
well-meaning people. It has
neither been effective nor has it had the desired long lasting impact on
human nature and history. It
has proven almost impossible to design effective programs to get rid of
these ill symptoms in society.
Nevertheless, treating the issue from the underdevelopment
standpoint, and as we work seriously on closing the gap, there will be
no space left to exercise superiority or to condone and tolerate
discrimination. The issue
must first be open for discussion and serious study to pinpoint the ways
and means to close this gap between the developed and underdeveloped
nations. Long-term and
short-term programs should aim at the roots of the problem, if only the
leaderships of the developed world realized that this is where the real
interest of its people lies and if they could agree, once and for all,
to work with good intentions to serve these long-term best interests.
The more powerful ones among us, who have achieved high
levels of progress in science and technology, have to assist their
brothers and sisters in humanity to attain the same level, if we truly
want to eliminate discrimination. The
idea of keeping technology and modern sciences away from the Developing
World is the most dangerous call that faces the world and threatens it
with the worst consequences which the Western world itself will reap its
spikes in the long run.
Combating racism and racial discrimination cannot be done
with kind words or through media and propaganda oriented donations.
What the Developing World needs is neither food, which will be
eaten by the strongest among them, nor arms, which the tyrants will use
against the weaker ones. The
Developing World needs the means to develop and progress.
This end cannot be achieved except through education, and
Thus foreign aid that is offered by developed countries to
developing ones, which by the way, should be multiplied many folds, must
not be dispersed except via an international law for the construction of
schools, educational institutions and universities.
This is the first step towards paving the path to enhance the
potential for development and, in turn, to fight discrimination.
The leaderships of the developed world must realize that
their exerted efforts in regards to the problem of underdevelopment and
its related consequences of racism and racial discrimination is not only
in the best interests of their own people in the long-run, but also that
such efforts are debts they should pay in expiation of their previous
guilt as bearers of the responsibility of what has resulted from their
previous colonial policies. In
other words, they must realize that efforts on their part are not favors
or acts of condescending generosity.
What developed nations enjoy today in the Western world is the
result of great strides taken previously by other ancient civilizations
in India, China, Persia, North Africa and North of the Arabian peninsula
such as the Chaldeanian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Phoenician, Sumerian, and
Pharaonic civilizations. As
the American Historian W. Durant stated in his large volumes titled
“The Story of Civilization”, the Western world would be gravely
mistaken if it thought that its civilization and the luxuries it offers
today has been the result of the Greek and Roman civilizations.
The Greek and Roman civilizations were merely elementary students
of the Eastern civilization.
Our organization calls upon members and NGOs to support the
following recommendations concerning:
1) Asserting that foreign aid offered to developing countries
must be regulated by international law and directed only toward
education, and education alone.
2) Superpowers should be obligated to abide by the laws of
the International Court of Justice.
3) The unilateral veto that the superpowers exercise must be
subservient to the rulings of the International Court of Justice.