A STATEMENT BY
REVEREND FATHER ALFRED D. NSOPE,
CHAIRPERSON OF THE MALAWI HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION,
AT THE WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION,
XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCE,
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA,
31ST AUGUST TO 7TH SEPTEMBER
The Chairman of this World Conference on Racism
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Secretary General of the World Conference Against Racism, Mrs. Mary Robinson
Your excellencies, Heads of States and Governments
Representatives of the United Nations and International Agencies
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Representatives of the Civil Society and NGO Institutions
Representatives of National Institutions
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is an honour and privilege to make a statement on behalf of the Malawi Human Rights Commission at this August Assembly of the World Conference Against Racism.
To begin with, I would like to thank the government
of South Africa for hosting this World Conference Against Racism.
I would also like to commend Mr. Chairman and the Bureau for ably guiding the deliberations of this conference.
I would also like to commend the High Commissioner for Human Rights Mrs. Mary Robinson for personally supporting the Conference and also the full commitment of members of her office and more especially Mr. Brian Burdiken and members of the National Institutions team.
1. National Initiative and contribution to the World Conference Against Racism
Within the framework of this World Conference that is taking place here in Durban from 31St August to 7th September, 2001 and in accordance with the General Assembly Resolution 52/111, the Malawi Human Rights Commission has been calling upon all Malawians to join the rest of the International family in meeting the challenges of combating all forms of discrimination and intolerance that beset the human family.
This World Conference on Racism is intended to assist the human race to reflect on the past, present and future in the area of all forms of discrimination and intolerance as well as enable the human family create a new world vision for the fight against all forms of discrimination and intolerance that exists in our various communities.
As members of the World family of peoples gathered here in Durban, we need to take stock of the past, take the challenge of analyzing new forms of discrimination, exclusion and related intolerance that are emerging in the young democracies, the discriminatory effects of globalizations such as the increasing gap between the rich and the poor and the inequality in the sharing of political power and resources as potential and even actual sources of new forms of discrimination and intolerance that prevail in the world.
The Malawi Human Rights Commission, in an attempt to contribute towards the fight against racism as well as prepare for this world conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, initiated a national programme on peace building and conflict prevention by combating all forms of discrimination, violence and related intolerance that beset our Malawi nation.
A paper on the prevalence of racism, racial discrimination,
xenophobia and related intolerance in Malawi is available at the national institutions'
corner of this World Conference. It suffices here to say that the prevalence
of discrimination and intolerance in Malawi are due to political, ethnic and
The national programme is still on-going. Among the activities the Commission is conducting are workshops among the youth sensitizing them on the evils of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
Regional and International Level
In an attempt to join the rest of the world to reflect on the past, present and future challenges of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, the Commission convened a national consultative meeting to debate on the issues raised in the Draft Declaration and programme of action of this World Conference on Racism from the perspective of the Malawian context. At this National Consultative Meeting, the forum agreed with the proposal in the draft declaration that the starting point for dealing with the issue of racism is the recognition and admission by all of us gathered here in Durban that slavery, slave trade, and the other forms of servitude, conquest and colonialism were the primary sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
This August gathering here should therefore make an outright condemnation of the injustices that were committed particularly against Africans and indigenous peoples as a unique and appalling tragedy in the history of humanity and a crime against humanity, not only because of its enormous magnitude, its institutionalized nature, its transnational dimension but especially because of its negation of the very essence of the human nature and dignity of the victims. The national forum further agreed to the declaration proposal that states which pursued racist policies or acts of racial discrimination such as slavery, slave trade and colonialism should assume their moral, economic, political and legal obligation within national jurisdiction and before other appropriate international mechanisms or jurisdiction and provide adequate reparations and compensation to those communities who were victims of such racist policies or acts, regardless of when or by whom they were committed.
The National Consultative forum also affirmed the declaration's proposal that this August gathering should not only look at historical injustices but should take the challenge of analyzing contemporary forms of racism, discrimination, exclusion and related intolerance that is surfacing due to inequitable political, economic, cultural and social conditions in the emerging democracies in the world.
The national forum underscored the critical and key role that political leaders and political parties can play in combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and intolerance by taking concrete steps to promote pluralism, solidarity, tolerance, and unity in diversity.
The national consultative forum recognized that the root causes of wide spread armed and internal conflicts are due to discrimination and intolerance arising from lack of democratic, inclusive and participatory governance in the emerging democracies.
The Commission, therefore, urges this August gathering to
record that the entrenchment of genuine democracy, transparent, responsible,
accountable and participatory governance responsive to the needs and aspirations
of the people as well as respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and
the rule of law are a "conditio sine quo non" for the effective prevention
and elimination of all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, violence
and related intolerance.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for giving me this opportunity to state the position of the Malawi Human Rights Commission on the theme of this World Conference at this August Assembly.
Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen.
I thank you for your attention.