Mr. Abdul-Rahman H. Al-Attiyah
Undersecretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Head of the Delegation of the State of Qatar
To the Anti-Racism
South Africa/ Durban
31/8 - 7/9/2001
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Doha -- Qatar
Bismilah Al-Rahman Al-Raheem In the name of
God, most Gracious, most Merciful
Your Excellencies heads of delegations
Ladies and gentlemen
It is a great pleasure for me to attend this meeting today in this hospitable country, which marks the most important stage in nations' struggle against racism and apartheid in human history and which has become a supercilious castle that can never be overlooked in international conventions similar to the one that we have gathered under its banner.
Your country had a testified role in mobilizing the international community and enhancing its marsh to abolish racism and apartheid, and making it aware of the importance of unity and solidarity among the world's nations in their combat against all forms of racism. Today, while we expect a new era of tolerance, brotherhood and chivalry among people, your country stands as a spotlight in emphasizing the continuity of struggle against all forms of racism.
The question of human rights concerns all mankind, and the scourge of racism is the worst affliction that Man has been suffering from. In this respect, we should acknowledge the efforts exerted for the sake of upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms on the international level and which has become one of the foundations of international law. However, inspite of all this, this question has been manipulated by some world powers in such a manner that was counter to the noble objectives. Thus, it has been transformed from a human value with a major moral dimension to a cheap means for blackmail. There is an imperative need to consider this question since it allows for continuous violations of human rights, as long as these are based on common interests, and not on obligations incumbent on the international community or on the individual states. We all know that interests do not stay the same, but change with circumstances and objectives and reflect the balance of power rather than equality, justice and rights. Elaborating on human rights doctrine based on our realization of man's sublime mission of populating and civilizing the earth is the way to achieve justice for everyone and establish equality among all people without discrimination or favoritism.
The State of Qatar, under the leadership of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, has endeavored and is still strenuously endeavoring to take a firm position on racism and human rights. In doing so, it proceeds from its belief in the importance of eradicating this catastrophe that threatens security and stability all over the world. Hence, Qatar has played a prominent and effective role on both international and regional levels by participating in all conventions and activities that consolidate equality, tolerance and justice and maintain human dignity. It has spared no effort to coordinate with other nations in the realm of human rights and combating racism, apartheid in all its forms, slavery and marginalization.
We, in the State of Qatar, are proud that we have transformed these values into a tangible way of living. This is manifested in perpetual interaction in a multicultural community in which people from different parts of the world, who came to help us in our modern rise, find secure and decent life.
In its capacity as Chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the State of Qatar clearly emphasizes that Islam taught us more than fifteen centuries ago that no one is superior to another except by piety and that all people are equal. Tolerance and amity have always been at the core of the Islamic mission both as a principle and an approach to spread the mission. This has earned it people's trust and opened the door wide for communication which has resulted in mutual benefits. The unbiased spirit of interaction has ' invariably led to development and civilization of the Islamic community which accommodates all people regardless of their race or creed.
Islam preceded international organizations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference in its sublime teachings regarding parents and children long before they enacted their charters
The international community is still facing the risk that these practices might aggravate as manifested in the Israeli attacks against the Palestinians, and the frequent desecration of their sacred places. This indicates that the Israeli enmity towards the Palestinians, and its destruction of their properties and economy do not stem from its desire to subjugate them to the arrogance of power only, but also from its strong sense of superiority which relegates the Palestinians to an inferior position to them. Ironically enough, the Israeli security is sacred when balanced against the Palestinian security and all the Israeli heinous violations are justified as a means to bring back every Jew to a land that they raped from its legitimate owners and denied them their right to claim it back.
Our greatest concern is that entire peoples are denied their political rights. The continuous suffering of the Palestinian people is a case in point. Faced with indifference and marginalization, this people has suffered for more than fifty years the denial of their rights, displacement, expulsion, destruction of their properties and genocide. We must restore to the Palestinian people the rights guaranteed them by international law and endorsed by all the states participating in this conference. The tragic events endured by the Palestinian people are a grave phenomenon and a stigma to the conscience of mankind in its entirety.
While some are recalling the crimes of genocide perpetuated in the last century against one or more groups, they do not attach the slightest importance to the outrageous events being inflictedon the Palestinian people: It is as if this nation has come into existence to suffer injustice and oppression. Isn't this racism in its broadest meaning, its most virulent form and its most hideous manifestations? Otherwise, what could it be? Isn't discrimination among human beings in their very basic rights a hallmark of racism? We must give things their correct names and stand up to our responsibilities by telling the whole truth. We should not select only those elements that accord with our biases and prejudices, because truth has only one face and does not change with the changing objectives and passage of time.
In dealing with the Palestinian people, who are demanding the rights guaranteed them under the international law, Israel resorts to the most brutal tactics and all means of murder and destruction at its disposal. It has imposed such collective punishments as destruction of houses with missiles and heavy artillery, bulldozing of farms and fruit-bearing, the destruction of water wells and the policy of political assassinations in violation of the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which provides that the use of such tactics against civilians is a war crime under international law. It is flouting before the world the will of the international community and the provisions of international law.
If people's misdeeds in the past are attributed to their failure to perceive these sublime concepts of humanity and their ignorance of their role, their present crime is conversely the result of forging a new concept for human rights and manipulating it to conform with the strategic goals of countries and individuals. They have coined racist ideologies that denote racial superiority and promoted ethnic loftiness and hallucinatory discrimination. These tendencies will certainly jeopardize the future of humanity and instigate people to hate each other which will poison the air with intolerance and disrespect, contrary to all divine teachings.
If the logic of power prevails, tolerance and respect recede. No nation can give in to humiliation and subjugation that result from imposing the principles of force, discrimination, military suppression, threatening and starving. Tolerance and respect should be established through empathy, acceptance and recognition of all people's right of decent and free life. We emphasize, in this respect, that the Islamic nation has been constructive, interactive and influential by exigencies of its mission as a universal message for all humanity on Earth. Interaction_ with the surrounding world is an imperative Islamic, instruction that all Muslims should observe as part of their faith that they have held its banner generation after generation. It is a mandate that other people should appreciate that the constructive interaction that Muslims call for should be based on mutual respect and recognition of truth and grudge no effort to thwart the anti-Islam tendency that some groups seek to implant.
Finally, thank you for your cordial attention.
Peace be with you.