KINGDOM OF LESOTHO
MR. MOTSOAHAE THOMAS THABANE.
THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE KINGDOM OF LESOTHO,
THE WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST
RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCE.
DURBAN SOUTH AFRICA, 2 SEPTEMBER'. 2001.
On behalf of the people and the Governient of the Kingdom of Lesotho, and also on my own behalf, let me join the previous speakers in congratulating you on your election as the President of this third historic World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. My delegation takes this opportunity to thank the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs. Mary Robinson and her Office for dedication displayed during the preparations for the Conference.
My delegation extends its heartfelt gratitude to the people and the Governtnent of the Republic of South Africa for making such a big sacrifice, by hosting the Conférence at a time when they are still recovering frein decades of an institutionalized form of racism, APARTHEID. We are however saddened by the fact that the deinise of apartheid, has not finally meant the end of racism and racial discrimination.
The international community is once again meeting to discuss ways and means of combating the scourge of racism and racial discrimination. It is a hard fact that the principal objectives of the last two Decades for Action to Combat Racisin and Racial Discrimination have not been attained. Instead, the world continues to witness an increase in the number of victims of racism and racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Hence, a heavy burden lies on all of us who are gathered here to elaborate and agree on fürther actions and initiatives that would eventually eradicate these evils which are the legacy of slavery, slave trade and colonialism. We owe it to all these who have been and/or continue to be victims, of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to humankind.
It seems that contemporary forms of racism and racial discrimination are striving to regain political, moral,even legal recognition.Indeed, the modern communication technology is being used to disseminate ideas based on racial superiority. Member States, in particular those who are parties to thé International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) should realise, now than ever before, the need to enact legislation declaring illegal and prohibiting all platforms, organisations and activities that promote or incite racial discrimination.
Lesotho is aware that thé black people of South Africa sufferred in a particularly painful way from the inhuman system of apartheid which was imposed on them by their white counterparts. However we applaud South Africa's ability to forgive and to map oout a new future based on forgiveness and réconciliation. We call on idea of apologizing to heed the call of the entire humankind right here in Durban. In thé saine spirit, we call on others who have equally sufferred from racial prejudives elsewhere to follow the example of South Africa and deal with others with tolérance and forgiveness.
Wliat my delegation finds even more disturbing, is the nextus of racism and other worst form of violations of human rights such as trafficking in human beings, particularly women and children. Trafficking takes place from poor to rich countries. It is thé latter who benefit. The moneys used to support these heinous practices must be ploughed back to develop the countries where thé women, children and other victims come from. If this situation creates a moral dilemma which all of us must examine together, then this Conférence and this platform provides the best opportunity to do so.
The challenge that is facing this platform provides the best opportunity to do so. The challenge that is facing this Conference and this platform is overwhelming. We have to pay due regard to the extent to which acts of racism and racial discrimination affect, in particular, the most vulnerable groups of people such as migrants, refugees, infdiginous populations, national, ethnic and religious minorities who are also victims of other forms of persecutions.
At the same time, clear and serious consideration should be given to the historical atrocities of slave trade and colonialsim whose deplorable effects continue to affect developmeing countries to date. We share the view that has been expressed by other previous speakers, that slavery, slave trade and colonialism must be declared crimes against humanity.
To achieve the above, injustices committed fduring the above practices should be correctly documented. Perpetrators and beneficiaries of those practices must admit and explicitly apologise for atrocities committed. Material and moral reparations must be provided by perpetrators and beneficiaries of the mentioned practices. Future generations must be kept aware of thoese atrocities through a continuous process of education so that while they may forgive, they may never forget.
It has been said before at different forums that the African continent continues to suffer socio-economic under-development, grinding poverty, high levels of foreign debt, civil and territorial wars, lack of market access, lack of food, security and all structural weaknesses and that it is the legacy of the exploitive nature of the policies of slavery, slave trade and colonialism. my delegation regrettably notes that nothing concrete has been achieved, this notwithstanding endless neggotiations with our partners and former colonial masters. it is our fervent hope that this Conference will bring about new, fresh and positive commitment.
In conclusion, Madam President, we cannot change the past, but we can change and must do everything in our power to help build a future without fear. So let us challenge ourselves to build a world in which no branch of humanity, because of race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, is threatened with destruction.
I thank you.