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Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities
Fiftieth Session

Item 4:  The realization of economic, social and cultural rights

 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 negative circumstances from which developing nations have suffered.  By doing so, advanced nations have gained even more power over them 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.   

            Gradually, 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 network, 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 population 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.  We all are sadly aware of what happened in East Africa few days ago.

            We all are deeply pained by these human tragedies afflicting innocent people.  However, any wise person realizes that these tragedies will reoccur and get worse and more horrific as long as the U.S. foreign policy continues in its tyranny against helpless nations and their people.  The persisting sanctions which only the United States of America insists upon enforcing against the innocent people of Libya, Iraq, and Sudan, is an example of the U.S. reckless disregard to the deprivation and suffering of the people of these nations.  What our colleague from the “International Educational Development” organization stated yesterday in regards to Albright’s remark concerning the sanctions’ killing of one million Iraqi children and Albright’s total oblivion and unconcern with this tragedy is the kind of reaction that reflects the immoral trend and supercilious tone that color the double standards diplomacy of the USA.  Albright could never get away with such mean response if the one million lost souls were American or European children.   

So, is this discrimination or simply a disgrace?  Whatever it is, we should try to focus and exert our efforts to address these essential elements and problematic phenomena 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 in 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 can 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 that 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 education alone. 

            Thus the 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. 

            Since non-governmental organizations truly represent the people of the world, and as stated in the United Nations Charter “we the people of United Nations,” our organization would like to end this statement by calling upon members and NGOs to advocate the endorsement of the following recommendations or resolutions 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.   

We believe resolutions as such are indispensable for world’s peace and progress.                                                        



13 August 1998