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United States Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Statement

Durban Review Conference, April 20-24, 2009

 

Adopted by United States Civil Society in support of the Durban Review Conference

 

Preamble
 

1.    Members of United States civil society adhering to this Statement express our full and unequivocal support for the Durban Declaration and Program of Action adopted at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001;
 

2.    We affirm that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances are serious human rights violations and are the root cause of persistent inequalities that plague our society today;

3.    We acknowledge that the prohibition of racial discrimination, genocide, the crime of apartheid and slavery is non-derogable, and can never be suspended even in a war or any state of emergency;

4.    We are concerned that little progress has been made on the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action to effectively combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances, which continue to afflict our society and manifest in the unequal enjoyment of basic human rights;

5.    We recognize that urgent action is required on the part of the United States government and other governments of the international community to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances to ensure the full enjoyment of social, economic, civil, political, and cultural human rights;

6.    We recognize that a failure to combat and denounce racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances perpetuates it;

7.    We regret that the United States government did not sign onto the Durban Declaration and Program of Action and has only participated in one meeting of the preparatory process for the Durban Review Conference;

8.    We are convinced that any state that is committed to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerances should come to the table to discuss the issue, and note that the failure to do so further encourages persistent discrimination;

9.    We strongly urge all governments of the international community, including the United States, to affirm their full commitment to the Durban Declaration and Program of Action adopted at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, and call on the United States to implement the Durban Declaration and Program of Action in light of obligations set forth in the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination;

10. We call on the United States and all member states of the United Nations to participate in the Durban Review Conference being held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 20 to 24 April 2009 in good faith and to take into account the following views of the NGOs and other members of civil society adopting this Statement;

Slavery, the Slave Trade and Contemporary Manifestations of Slavery

  

11. We reaffirm that slavery and the slave trade, including the transatlantic slave trade are crimes against humanity, and are major sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances, and call for the reinsertion of this reaffirmation in the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference;

  12. We acknowledge that, to this day, no reparations or apologies have been made to the victims of slavery, and in particular the transatlantic slave trade, and urge States that have not yet condemned, apologized and paid reparations for slavery, the slave trade, the transatlantic slave trade, apartheid, colonialism and genocide to do so, and call for the reinsertion of this language in the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference;

13. We recognize that the prison industrial complex functions as a contemporary form of slavery that should be dismantled, particularly because it assumes the disproportionate targeting, sentencing, and imprisonment of people of African descent, linguistic minorities, indigenous people, immigrants, and transgender and gender non-conforming individuals; subjects members of these groups to heightened abuse while in prison; profits from both their imprisonment and their forced unpaid labor; and disenfranchises them while in prison and upon their release;

14. We recognize that slavery and the slave trade are contributing factors to the poor and unequal economic and social conditions of large numbers of people around the world and call upon the member states of the United Nations to consider this in plans to alleviate global poverty and the current economic crisis;

15. We acknowledge that if real progress is to be made in the elimination of the present day consequences of the transatlantic slave trade and racism, it is essential that all governments of the international community accurately recognize these consequences and their responsibility to implement commitments established in the Durban Declaration and Program of Action without delay and with proper accountability;

People of African Descent

  

16. We recognize that the status of people of African descent has, at best, remained remarkably unchanged since 2001 and that Anti-black racism continues to result in significant economic, social, legal, health and cultural disparities;

17. We urge states to eliminate racial profiling, and disparities in the arrest, prosecution, sentencing, imprisonment and post-conviction restrictions suffered by people of African descent in the criminal justice system;

18. We are alarmed by the policing of people of African descent that has resulted in numerous killings by law enforcement agents and urge all states to implement plans to prevent these discriminatory forms of policing, and to properly investigate and respond with appropriate strength to perpetrators of police violence;

19. We urge states to establish and implement comprehensive plans to reduce the mental and physical health disparities suffered by people of African descent including the elimination of inequalities in social determinants of health such as wealth, income, education, employment, health care, environment, and all forms of racism;

20. We urge states to make significant progress in gathering data and other human development indicators, disaggregated by racial and ethnic subgroups including descents of enslaved Black people or Afro-descendants, to properly identify both direct and indirect forms of discrimination, and to assess and monitor progress towards its elimination; 21. We urge the United States to include Afro-descendant as a category in the 2010 Census to account for descendants of enslaved Africans;

22. We urge that the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent be made a permanent forum and be expanded to include at least 3 at-large members who are persons of African descent, and to assure that there is representation from the Caribbean and North America and representation of both male and female persons of African Descent;

23. We request that the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent assist civil society in developing and strengthening the connection between the global African community of activists and people of African descent;

24. We urge states to provide adequate funding and resources to allow for full participation of people of African Descent in national, regional and international meetings on racism;

Indigenous Peoples

 

25. We recognize that indigenous peoples have suffered centuries of discrimination on numerous grounds, including racial and similar forms of discrimination;

  26. We reiterate that indigenous peoples’ territories have been dispossessed in the United States as well as other parts of the world and their social, religious and political structures destroyed, and that this dispossession and destruction results in multiple forms of discrimination and violence;

27. We acknowledge that indigenous peoples have the inalienable right to self determination and hence also the right to their own political, social, religious and cultural structure;

28. We acknowledge that indigenous peoples have both individual and collective rights to care for their territorial environment and natural resources, and the right to be able to transfer their territories as well as their cultural practices to future generations;

29. We call upon all states to pay reparation and redress for the damage and harm caused to the indigenous peoples in a just and equitable manner;

30. We call on states to respect the right to participation of indigenous peoples in all matters that affect them;

31. We urge all states to abolish discriminatory laws and policies which exacerbate the difficult plight of indigenous peoples;

32. We urge all states, including the United States, to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples;

33. We further urge the United States to heed the recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) set forth in their Concluding Observations in 2008;

People of Asian Descent

 

34. We reaffirm that in many parts of the world, Asians and people of Asian descent face barriers in areas including employment, housing, education, and the provision of health care, as a result of social biases and discrimination prevailing in public and private institutions and express our commitment to work towards the eradication of all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance faced by Asians and people of Asian descent;

 

35. We call upon all states to review and, where necessary, revise any immigration policies which are inconsistent with international human rights instruments, with a view to eliminating all discriminatory policies and practices against migrant workers and their descendants, and refugees, including Asians and people of Asian descent;

36. We urge states to consider the further disaggregation by Asian subgroups in the collection of data for the purpose of identifying and combating discrimination experienced by people of Asian descent;

 

Linguistic and Cultural Minorities

37. We affirm that linguistic minorities experience multiple forms of discrimination and must be protected to enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms without discrimination of any kind;

 

38. We recognize that in the United States, linguistic and cultural minorities experience many forms of discrimination similar to those experienced by people of African descent, in particular in their treatment by the criminal justice system and over-representation in poverty;

39. We call on states to develop improved mechanisms to collect disaggregated data on linguistic and cultural minorities including Hispanics, Asians, and Africans;

 

Women 

 

40. We acknowledge that women suffer multiple forms of discrimination based on their gender and race, and that gender discrimination still persists in many parts of the world and thus urge states to promote equal rights for women regarding education, health and work opportunities.

 

41. We recognize that women are particularly vulnerable during situations of armed conflict, often subject to abuse and rape, and support the efforts of the international community, and both international and domestic legal systems, to recognize rape as a war crime;

42. We urge all states, to adopt and implement strict policies to prohibit discrimination based on gender, and the intersection of multiple identities;

43. We call on all states to address human rights violations of migrant women, both documented and undocumented; and urge states to monitor its prevention and to prosecute such violations;

44. We call on all states to set up mechanisms to better protect women with disabilities and women living with HIV;

 

45.  We call on all states to provide comprehensive health care, especially maternal and reproductive health care services, and acknowledge that poor reproductive healthcare, inadequate provision of reproductive options, and the overuse of often non-consensual sterilization procedures has been used within the United States to destroy the reproductive capacities of people of African descent, linguistic minorities, indigenous peoples, immigrants, people with disabilities, and transgender and gender non-conforming people.

Migrants

46. We are concerned by acts of xenophobia against migrants, migrant workers and members of their families and the failure of many states to adopt policies and practices that prohibit these acts;

 

47. We recognize that migrants, migrant workers and members of their families suffer multiple forms of discrimination and are alarmed by the increased violence directed at migrants or perceived migrants;

48. We are alarmed by state actions that directly or indirectly encourage violence against migrants, migrant workers and members of their families and call on all states to review their policies and practices with a view of eliminating discrimination and ensuing violence experienced by migrants;

 

Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) People

49. We recognize that LGBTQ people are even more vulnerable to multiple forms of discrimination and urge all states to review and change their policies that result in denying people their equal and full enjoyment of all human rights based on these multiple forms of identity;

 

50. We understand that sexual orientation and gender identity often cause marginalization and discrimination in many societies, and that such discrimination constitutes a violation of human rights which should be condemned and responded to with appropriate strength;

 

Religious Intolerance

51. We recognize that discrimination against Muslims or perceived Muslims including Sikhs as a serious problem of discrimination based on religion in the international community today, and that this discrimination is in form similar to that of racial discrimination and should be considered by states meeting at the Durban Review Conference;

 

52. We recognize that in an effort to battle terrorism, religious minorities have found themselves subject to discrimination including racial profiling, and that this form of discrimination is a human rights violation;

53. We urge all states to implement non-discriminatory actions to combat terrorism and to adopt progressive programs in the educational curricula to combat stereotyping and the spreading of phobias against religious minorities;

Children and Young People

54. We acknowledge that children and young people are victims of discrimination, in health, education, the media, and criminal justice systems, and that because of the vulnerability of age they often suffer disproportionate physical and psychological damage as a consequence of discrimination against them;

55. We recognize that the application of the death penalty and life imprisonment without parole to children, as well as the treatment of children as adults by the criminal justice system has a discriminatory effect on children of racial minorities and call on all states to immediately prohibit these practices;

56. We recognize the over-representation of children of African descent and Indigenous children in the child welfare system, and in recruitment for the military, and call on all states to use all appropriate means to investigate and remedy this problem;

57. We call on all states to regulate judicial and criminal justice systems to ensure that children and young people are treated with dignity and fairness, and with special protections based on their age;

 

Other Victims

58. We recognize that the occupation of land belonging to, and treatment of Palestinians are serious human rights violations, and call on all States to take appropriate steps to address it urgently;

 

59. We recognize that the genocide in Darfur is an urgent human rights crime, and call on all States to take appropriate steps to address it urgently;

 

Poverty

60. We recognize that throughout history there has been an economic basis for the perpetuation of racism, and reiterate that economic inequalities of today are a consequence of the long periods of colonialism, slave trade, exploitation of resources and of practices of slavery, racism, and structural and institutional arrangements that continue to marginalize impoverished communities of racial and ethnic minorities, and distribute opportunities unequally;

61. We urge all member states of the United Nations to ratify and enforce the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and its Optional Protocol, and to put forth resources to ensure the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, as the fulfilment of social, economic and cultural rights is directly connected to breaking the cycle of poverty;

62. We recognize the strong link between the right to life, poverty, the environment, and climate change and call on the member states of the United Nations to ensure that sustainability is taken into account in dealing with issues of development, including combating poverty in this global economic crisis;

Education

 

63. We note the persistence of unequal access to quality education and of unequal opportunities of attendance and conclusion of schooling at all levels, due to intra and extra school factors related to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances and that play a significant role in sustaining and transferring poverty from one generation to another, especially now in the new national economic crisis.

64. We call on states to prioritize the right to education and to guarantee the equal enjoyment of the right to education irrespective of race, ethnicity, gender, economic status, or culture;

65. We urge all states to include human rights, conflict resolution and peace education at all levels of formal education, including graduate and post-graduate education;

66. We urge states in collaboration with civil society to be engaged  in human rights education and in the learning at the community level about human rights as a way of life and as relevant to people's daily lives of life as per the United Nation  General Assembly resolution: The International  Year of Human Rights Learning;

67. We call upon states to include in their educational curricula the accurate teaching and community learning of history of racism, colonialism, and related oppressions;

68. We call upon states to adopt multicultural educational curricula that teach about the diversity of the human experience and the indivisibility, interconnectedness and interrelatedness of human rights;

Environmental Racism

69. We note that environmental racism is real and exists in housing, employment, education, and healthcare;

70. We call on states, particularly the United States, to investigate all practices leading to dumping toxic wastes in or near communities with large populations of people of African descent and other racial minorities, and people with low incomes, and to employ members of these racial minorities in immediate government-funded programs to safely destroy, transport, or dispose of such toxic waste, enforcing fines on all polluters;

71. We call on states to immediately include racial and ethnic minorities and people with low incomes in all environmental decision-making boards and regulatory bodies;

Health

 

72. We recognize the psychological impact that centuries of racial oppression, as well as contemporary forms of racism, has on both the victims and the perpetrators of oppression, and call on all states to fulfil the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health;

 

73. We urge all states to take all appropriate measures to eliminate disparities in health status;

 

State Measures to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

74. We call on all states to adopt and fully implement without reservation all United Nations mechanisms established to combat discriminatory practices;

75. We call on all states to acknowledge that racism is a global problem, which needs joint efforts and strategies adopted by all states, as well as non-state players;

76. We call on the Human Rights Council and all member states of the United Nations to fully support the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action;

77. We call on all states to report regularly and on time to the United Nation committees administering the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities including reporting and implementation at the local level;

78. We call on all states to support the work of Human Rights Council mechanisms in an increased effort to combat the different areas of racism and discrimination including the work of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and in particular call on the United States to implement the recommendations of the fact-finding report of Mr. Doudou Diene, former Special Rapporteur on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

79. We call on all states to develop programs, including affirmative and positive action initiatives intended for victims or members of groups that have suffered racial discrimination, for allocating the necessary resources to enable the equal enjoyment of the rights to health, education, housing, water, safe environment, work, etc.;

80. We call on states to reaffirm the commitments of the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference and the Durban Declaration and Program of Action, and to integrate them into all other international agreements;

81. We call on all states to ensure that proper resources are allocated and dispensed to the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the Human Rights Committee (CCPR), the Committee Against Torture (CAT), the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW), and the Committee on the Right of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to ensure their effective implementation;

82. We acknowledge the work done by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and encourage the full support of her work against racism and other similar forms of discrimination;

Support for the work of Civil Society in Combating Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

83. We express our solidarity and support for all like-minded NGOs presenting their concerns to states in furthering the goals of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action and call on all states negotiating the Final Statement of the Durban Review Conference to take the opinions of civil society into account in their negotiations and to ensure that the Final Statement of the Durban Review Conference that they adopt builds on the Durban Declaration and Program of Action adopted in 2001.

Signed by the following individuals and organizations (list in formation)

 

Organizations

·         African National Congress, Washington, DC

·         Architects for Peace (arch-peace), New York, NY

·         AYA Educational Institute, Stone Mountain, GA

·         Black Workers For Justice, Rocky Mount, NC

·         Center for Community Alternatives, New York, NY

·         Cidadao Global, New York, NY

·         Concerned Citizens for Family Preservation, New York, NY

·         FIST - Fight Imperialism Stand Together

·         Global Afrikan Congress - North American Region

·         Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, Boston, MA

·         HEALIUM, New York, NY

·         Human Rights Advocates, Berkeley, CA

·         Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center, New York, NY

·         Indigenous African American Reparations Tribunal, Oakland, CA

·         Institute on Race, Racism and the Law, Dayton, OH

·         International Action Center, New York, NY

·         Justice Now, Oakland, CA

·         Latin American and Caribbean Community Center, Atlanta, GA

·         Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, New York, NY

·         Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, Berkeley, CA

·         National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (NCOBRA)- Legal Defense, Research, and Education Fund, Colfax, LA

·         National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR), Oakland, CA

·         New York Solidarity Coalition with Katrina & Rita Survivors, New York, NY

·         Nord Sud XXI

·         North Carolina Public Service Workers Union – UE Local 150

·         Professional Inst. for Advanced Wound Recovery Inc., Danbury, CT

·         Texas Southern University, League City, TX

·         The DDPA Watch Group, New York, NY

·         The JD Project, Dayton, OH

·         The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Columbus, OH

·         The Million Worker March Movement, New York, NY

·         The Sons and Daughters of Africa (Sada)(Africanization Society), Washington, DC

·         The Transgender, Gender Variant & Intersex Justice Project, San Francisco, CA

·         U.S. Network of Users & Survivors of Psychiatry (USNUSP)

·         UNESCO Center for Peace, Frederick, MD

·         Universal African Peoples Organization, St. Louis, MO

·         US Human Rights Network, Atlanta, GA

·         Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Bloomington, IN

 

Individuals

·         Afiya Madzimoyo, Co-Director, AYA Educational Institute, Stone Mountain, GA

·         Bob Griss, Director of Health Care Policy, Institute of Social Medicine & Community Health, Falls Church, VA

·         Brenda Randall, Sterling, AK

·         Corann Okorodudu, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ

·         Cynthia Golembeki, Coordinator--US region, Architects for Peace (arch-peace), New York, NY

·         David Schwartzman, DC Statehood Green Party, Washington, D

·         Deborah J. Garretson, Chair, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Bloomington, IN

·         Denyse Walls, General Counsel, HEALIUM, New York, NY

·         Diana Kimble, Southwest Regional Rep, NCOBRA, Colfax, LA

·         Donald H. Smith, PhD, Past President, The National Alliance of Black School Educators, New York, NY

·         Evelyn L. Wilson, Guy Djoken, Executive Director, UNESCO Center for Peace, Frederick, MD

·         Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, University Professor, Gainesville, FL

·         Janette Robinson Flint, Executive Director, Black Women for Wellness,  Los Angeles, CA

·         Jerry Leaphart, Chief Legal Officer, Professional Inst. for Advanced Wound Recovery Inc., Danbury, CT

·         Jill M. Humphries, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Queens College-CUNY, New York, NY

·         Kofi Agyapong, Ph.d, Founder, The Sons and Daughters of Africa (Sada)(Africanization Society), Washington, DC

·         Lauri Andress, Ph.D, Adjunct Professor, Texas Southern University, League City, TX

·         LaVerne Butler, Private Citizen Human Race, Washington, DC

·         Loretta J. Williams, PhD, Director, Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, Boston, MA

·         M. Thandabantu Iverson, Ph.D., Indiana University Labor Studies Program/School, of Social Work, and Member of the US Human Rights Network (USHRN)

·         Marian Douglas-Ungaro, Elections & Human Rights Consultant, Pauli Murray-Claudia Jones Society of Afrodescendant Women of the Americas, Washington, DC

·         Monalisa Mullins, Lecturer, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH

·         Mustafa Ansari, Chief Justice, Indigenous African American Reparations Tribunal, Oakland, CA

·         Nedra Hickson, Lutz, FL

·         Owen 'Mshengu' Greenland, Socio-Political/Community Activist, African National Congress, Washington, DC

·         Patience Schenck, Anti-racism activist, Annapolis Human Relations Commission, Baltimore Yearly Meeting (Quaker) working Group on Racism, Annaoplis, MD

·         Philip G. Smith, Retired Civil Rights Specialist and Educator, Stone Mountain, G

·         Philomena Hare, United Church of Christ, Marshfield, MA

·         Rebecca Cohen, MD, Baltimore, MD

·         Richard J. Perry Jr. Ph.D., Associate Professor, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Chicago, IL

·         Ronald M. Green, EefAP, Norfolk, VA

·         Shulamith Koenig, Founding President, PDHRE-People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning, New York, NY

·         Tanisha Douglas, Member, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Washington, DC

·         Teanna R. Downs, College Administrator, Athens, OH

·         Vernellia Randall, Professor of Law, The Race, Racism and the Law Project, The University of Dayton School of Law, Dayton, OH

·         Wende E. Marshall, Assistant Professor, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

·         Zaki Baruti, President/General, Universal African Peoples Organization, St. Louis, MO

 

 

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Thanks to Derrick Bell and his pioneer work: 
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