Permit me first on behalf of His Excellency President Yahya Jammeh, the government and people of the Gambia, on my own humble behalf and on behalf of the Gambian delegation which accompanies me, I wish to extend to His Excellency President Thabo Mbeki, his family, the government and people of the beautiful country of South Africa our condolences on the passing away of his Excellency's father, Mr. Govan Mbeki. We salute him and all those who made great sacrifices to free the S.A. people and the dignity of African and the African people and those in the diaspora. The timing whether by chance or design is testimony again to his great commitment to ensure that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance are wiped out of the daily lives not only of South Africans but of people the world over. He has very clearly passed on the baton. Long live his memory and God bless his family and the people of South Africa. Let me also seize this opportunity to thank the United Nations and its Secretary General Kofi Annan and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the whole UN system for organizing this conference. It is so timely and relevant. I also thank the government and the people of South Africa for hosting it and everyone else.

Madam President, your Excellencies , distinguished ladies and gentlemen it gives me great pleasure on behalf of the president of the Republic of Gambia Alhagie Dr. Yahya Jammeh to make a statement on this most relevant and epoch making conference.

Racism, racial discrimination xenophobia and elated intolerance are subjects which black Africans in particular are also familiar with that they are like red and white corpuscles in the blood stream which are ever ready and always on the look out to defend the system against any intruder or trouble.

Black people and Africans have suffered greatly down the centuries from racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance from Whites, Arabs, Indians, Latin Americans, to mention a few. Even before the advent of the slave trade which lasted for over four or five centuries and is more practiced in more discrete forms today, black people were looked down upon by people of other colours, maltreated, abused, insulted, belittled and subjected to heinous crimes and offences in all spheres of life.

The "Man Friday" syndrome popularized in Robinson Crusoe was not a sudden occurrence of the slave trade era. The slave trade was the high point of centuries of racial discrimination, racism xenophobia and related intolerance which brought about the weakening, subjugation segregation, harassment and discrimination of the black man and woman who being universally perceived as worthless except as a servile domestic, suffered the final insult of being formally sold, bought, loaned and used, raped, killed, tortured, thrown into the high seas, suffocated, fed to the lions and other wild beasts in hundreds of millions by Europeans, Americans, Arabs, Indians, Asians and other colours and over the centuries with impunity and without questions being asked of how a friendly, extremely tolerant and friendly race could be reduced so low. Where were all the great priests, men and women, religious people and human conscience? The brutalisation and enslavement of the black race, was one of the most demeaning indictments on the human race which was eventually outlawed formally because of the hard blow to the conscience of so many people guilty of practising slavery or associated with the heinous crime one way or the other.

Various speakers have mentioned the extent to which people of the world went to justify this crime.

It lasted so long because of the social, economic and religious structures put in place to consolidate and perpetuate the crime.

It was sought to be justified intellectually, scientifically, economically, politically, religiously, culturally. Racism and racial discrimination were also practiced against black Africans and those of black African descent in the literature, history and sociology books of the English and other languages, in the films, paintings and everywhere. In all these passive and active sympathisers sought to justify the crime but failed in the end.

And it is a travesty to say that slavery was stopped by some Europeans. It was rejected, rebelled against by its victims first and its abolition accelerated by those nations and peoples who had been involved in it. It was a war of conscience, first won in the minds and then only in practice.

It is not good enough therefore to say we should forgive and forget about one of the greatest acts of genocide, of inhumanity by man against his fellowman and the cause of the greatest socio-economic retrogression that has happened. Not before we put it in its right perspective and make appropriate amends for it. It is only in so doing that the whole world can finally do fair justice to the black people, Africans, Americans, and all the descendants of slaves of centuries of slavery, colonial subjugation and domination the effects of which are still visible throughout Africa and among black people in the diaspora.

It is not good enough to say that it will embarrass our friends or partners or for some who have inter-married their relatives and children. That is not the point. We are dealing here with an issue which goes beyond individuals or the relationship between friends or donors and recipients and partners. We are talking about the greatest crime, the biggest genocide, serious underdevelopment with little hope for progress no matter how much effort we put into the development process.

Something terribly wrong has been done and its repercussions will continue to be felt by black people until the end of time in poverty, retrogression, more racism, more racial discrimination, more xenophobia and more intolerance whether it is related to these or not.

This is the place. Now is the time to say all about it and do something about it. Talk openly, all the way, on every aspect of it. Otherwise I do not believe that talking about it again later, little by little, softly, softly or diplomatically will solve it. Diplomacy never solved the real issues in South Africa or anywhere else, nor will it when the chips are down. Let us not be too worried about who will be compensated and how. That can certainly be worked out in due course. Let us agree that:


a) Slavery and colonialism were racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the result of these.
b) Let us agree here in Durban that as a result of these millions of blacks in Africa and in the diaspora were killed, maimed, brutalized, chained, dehumanized, abused and forcefully migrated.
c) Let us agree that this was genocide.
d) Let us agree that this cost Africa and African descendants losses in billions in human and material resources and denied them great benefits.
e) Let us agree that it is immaterial that some Africans and people of African descent were involved in the trafficking of slaves and in facilitating colonization. Two wrongs don't make a right.
f) Let us agree that reparation, redress and compensation are in place.
g) Let us determine the forms that reparation and compensation will take.
h). Let us agree that no plan whether Omega or any other African plan will have the slightest chance of success no matter how many promises the International Community gives until we receive reparation in forms to be worked.
i) Let us agree distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, that the magnitude of the reparation and compensation should correspond with the magnitude, the gravity and longevity of the crimes of slavery and colonization and continued racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
j) Let us, I beg you distinguished ladies and gentlemen, agree in Durban to put in place, international and domestic institutions to outlaw slavery, colonization, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
k) Let us ensure that the worlds financial and other institutions which are supposed to assist member countries and bring peace, justice and developments such as UN bodies, the IMF, World Bank and other international bodies are not in any way hijacked by people who seek instead to foster and encourage subtle and other forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance by linking unduly the assistance of support to ideas and other policies which may in the end be seen and may have some basis in racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.


Finally your excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen let us agree and resolve to leave Durban cleansed from these ills to ensure that we fight for their eradication at home, Regionally and Internationally, in Government and out of it when we return.

Let us seek for universal co-operation in this fight, let us say as they put it, Never, and Never again to slavery and colonialism.

Let all our backs and the backs of all the people of the world be turned against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance so that


- we can live to posterity,
- a world filled with peace,
- a world filled with equalities,
- a world filled with justice,
- a world truly made of sons and daughters of one Adam and Eve.,
- and to practise the love thy neighbour principle.


I thank you all.