HON. JAKAYA M. KIKWETE,
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA
AT THE WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION,
XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCE,
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA: 31 AUGUST -7 SEPTEMBER 2001
Excellencies Heads of State and Government, Honourable Ministers,
Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Allow me, Madame President, to begin my, brief intervention by expressing on behalf of my delegation and my own behalf, our deepest condolences to President Thabo Mbeki and the people of South Africa on the passing away of Comrade Govan Mbeki. President Thabo Mbeki has lost a father and a guardian. The people of South Africa have lost a heroic leader indomitable freedom fighter and a great Comrade in the fight against apartheid, racism and racial discrimination. Africa has lost a role model revolutionary. It is quite historic and enviable that fate destined him to pass away on the eve of the conference so relevant to what he stood for and fought for his entire life. While we join our South African brothers and Sisters in mourning the death of this great; son of Africa, it is incumbent upon all South Africans to remember that the late comrade Govan Mbeki lived his life successfully, they have to live his legacy. May the All Mighty God rest his soul in eternal peace Amen?
Permit me to take this opportunity to congratulate you and express my great pleasure to see you, dear collleague, preside over this historic World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. I am confident that under your wise and able stewardship this Conference will be a resounding success. Let me take this opportunity to pay tribute to the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Secretary General of this Conference, Mrs Mary Robinson for her tireless efforts and immense contribution in the preparatory process of this conference. Perhaps, had it not been for her commitment, hard work, leadership and guidance we may not have had a conference of such glamour and success.
My delegation welcomes the symbolic significance of South Africa as the venue for this important conference. This is a country that has lived through one of the most abhorrent forms of segregation in human history.
South Africa is one such country whose people have the experience of fighting and defeating racism and racial discrimination. Above all South Africa is a shining example of how adversaries can reconcile with their past and live together in harmony and hope for a better common future. The UN, therefore could have not chosen a better host country for this conference than in this land of the great Nelson Mandela.
Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance are serious crimes against humanity, they are a gross violation of fundamental human rights and the source of pain, suffering, and misery many people (its victims) in many societies, communities and countries world over. The~y have been a major cause of misunderstanding, disharmony, conflicts, wars and instability in the Middle East, the Balkans and several countries and communities in Africa, Europe, Asia and the America's. Unfortunately, these problems have been around far too long and seem set to remain for several years more. This situation is not acceptable, for people have suffered too long and should not be left to continue to suffer. Something has to be done quickly to rid our societies of these scourges and prevent them from happening again in the future. It is the view of the Tanzania delegation that this conference presents that hope, opportunity and forum to devise appropriate strategies of attaining that goal. Let us work together intensively, positively and constructively towards its realisation.
Slavery, slave trade and colonialism are the historic roots and prime causes of these problems of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in the context of the African continent, African peoples in Africa and people of African descent in the world. Slavery, slave trade and colonialism are also responsible in a big way, for poverty, underdevelopment, marginalisation and economic disparity in Africa and among people of African descent in the Diaspora. I know this assertion of ours has been the subject of serious debate since the January 2001 Africa regional conference in Dakar, Senegal. The day before yesterday a delegate friend of mine from Europe asked me why we Africans invoke slavery and slave trade which ended more than three centuries ago and colonialism which ended three to four decades ago? My answer then, which is still my answer today, was two fold. Firstly, that, after several hundred years of slavery, slave trade and colonialism and the legacy of these obnoxious systems were so deep rooted that the consequences live on and will continue to be felt many years to come. Secondly, I reminded him of the foresightedness of the Rt. Hon. George Grenville, the British Prime Minister from 1763 to 1765 who once told the House of Lords : " Can we flatter ourselves that the mischief which slave trade has created will not be remembered for many ages, to our reproach?". Here we are about 240 years later (after the statement) we are engaged in heated discussion about the crime committed almost 400 years ago. That quotation from Prime Minister Grenville should serve as an inspiration for us all to address the injustices of the past head on and to seek comprehensive remedies. If not, that quotation which was true and very true today will be true a hundred years from now.
It is the view of the Tanzania delegation that the Africa position adopted at Dakar, Senegal in January 2001 guides us on the best way forward. We support the proposal that States which benefited from slavery, slave trade and colonialism should acknowledge responsibility for their past injustices, express explicit remorse and apologies as well as assume full responsibility and provide fair reparations and compensation to the victims. My delegation and I are fully aware of the concerns of some states and their rejection of the Dakar position. We are utterly surprised by that response, for we believe acknowledgement of responsibility and apology are important first steps in the healing process and repair enormous damage caused by these crimes against humanity. They form essential elements for reconciliation and for building societies based on justice, equality and solidarity. We see a lot of merit in doing that. Let's summon courage and do it.
Payment of reparation and compensation are logically the best way of demonstrating that justice has been done to those who have been wronged. After all, it is common practice everywhere why not applied to Africa? The Germans paid reparation to Europe for crimes against humanity she committed during the First World War. The Jews are being compensated for crimes committed against them during the holocaust. There are many such examples. We do not understand why there is total hostility to the idea of reparation and compensation to Africa and African. What is it that is so blasphemous about it? Is it because Africa does not deserve it? Or is it the difficulty of determining the compensation? In our view Africa deserve reparation and compensation. This is a matter of principle. What form that reparation and compensation will take is a matter that can be discussed.
It is the view of the Tanzania delegation that the fair reparation and compensation that Africa deserves to be paid is in the form of development. Slavery, slave trade and colonialism impacted negatively on Africa's development. The states responsible for these scourges should make up for Africa's lost development opportunities, by devising special programmes for that sake or make a form of commitment to contribute towards the implementation of the recent African initiatives in the name of MAP/ OMEGA. Also, the developed countries of the North should pronounce themselves in a better way in addressing the burning impediment to .Africa's development. Much more needs to be done on issues like debt, Foreign Direct Investments, ODA, market access and so on.
It is important and indeed encouraging to note that the World Conference goes further to addressing a broader agenda and not just racism and racial discrimination. Xenophobia and related intolerance as well as the issue of how to deal with past injustices and confront the extensive suffering and deaths caused by those scourges are also being addressed.
Unfortunately, manifestations of racism and racisl discrimination are evident in different forms and indeed still exist all over the world today. It is also regrettable to note that during recent years the world has witnessed an increase in such incidents everywhere and especially the outbreak of brutal, racial and ethnic conflicts in Africa, Asia, Europe and elsewhere where civilians, in particular women and children
have been victims of unspeakable cruelty. It is unacceptable that people are being subjected to violence and discrimination simply because of color, race, sex, language, religion, descent, national or ethnic origin. Manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and any violation of human dignity constitute an affront to humanity and should have no place in our societies. Governments should continue to protect everybody within their jurisdiction against racism and racial discrimination.
My country is particularly concerned about the condition of women around the world. Despite international community's efforts and willingness to ensure equal rights and freedom based on the fundamental principles of nondiscrimination as stipulated in the UN Charter as well as in the Universal Declaration for Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, women still suffer deprivation and exploitation. Relentless violation of their rights, limited access to property, education and training are amongst the predicaments demanding resolute international attention today. There is need to take appropriate measures to protect them against human rights violations particularly during wars, ethnic violence, political conflicts or economic crises.
The World Conference should address in a comprehensive manner the issues of violence against women and provide action oriented recommendations and strategies to eradicate gender-based racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Empowerment of women including those subjected to multiple forms of discrimination is an essential component of a proactive strategy to fight :racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and all forms of related intolerance.
The rights of children are equally important and need special attention. All children should be protected from all
kinds of discrimination C, inalienable right to sh education and all other 1 pronounce itself in the st with explicit strategies of
tnd abuses. We should ensure their elter, security, care, good health, Basic rights. This conference has to rongest terms possible and come out fostering the rights of children.
New manifestation of discrimination also present serious challenges to social cohesion in many countries,, one of which is movement of people, which can be seen in migration patterns. In our present shrinking and globalizing world it is evident that migration wi 1 intensify, either through illegal and undocumented migration. Migration brings people from different cultures into a common labour force, the movement that could be a source f empowerment and enrichment for individual as well as for societies of origin and destination. However, legal as well a undocumented migrants across the world and especially those from Africa into industrialized countries are often subjected to humiliation, mistreatment, tolerance and outright violence. This seen when granting visas and work d poor working conditions including discrimination, racism, i discrimination is normall permits, underpayment long hours of work.
We urge states to safeguard
everyone living under the duristriction against violence and acts of racism.
People should enjoy human rights uncondittionally.
The problem of refugees and internally displaced persons represents one of the most serious challenges the international community has been faced with over the past decades.Millions of people have been subjected to ethnic violence and hostilities and forcibly expelled from their homes and countries to seek asylum abroad. They have been deprived for many years of basic living conditions including the right to live in dignity and safety and to participate in social and economic life in their countries of origin.
My Government urges
that more attention to paid in addressing the root causes of displacement and
in finding durable solutions for internationally displaced persons including
voluntary return in safety and dignity. Refugee hosting countries should be
supported and refugee-producing countries should be encouraged to create conducive
environment for voluntary return of their nationals.
My delegation believes
that all people share a desire to live free from the horrors of violence, disease,
torture, insecurity and discrimination and that all individuals have the right
to express themselves freely, develop their talents and pursue their inspirations
and those of their community. We reaffirm our respect to the Principle of Rights
to SelfDetermination where all peoples are free to determine, without any external
interference, their political status and. freely pursue their economic, social
and cultural development. Every state has the duty to respect this right in
accordance with the provisions of the UN Charter. It is in this regard that
my country has always supported the right of the people of Palestine to have
a state of their own. We deplore the violence that is going on in that part
of the world and appeal -to both parties to pursue peaceful means to end the
In conclusion, My delegation
reiterates the need to acknowledge and extend an explicit apology, reparation
and compensate to all the victims of the past injustices, if we are truly to
build a new future free of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related
intolerance. Shaping a new future is nearly impossible if old wounds are still
open. These wounds can only be healed if the global community adopts language
that solemnly and explicitly recognises the hurt and exploitation of the past.
It is essential that
states demonstrate their, serious intention to eradicate racism through developing
a global alliance against injustice. Apart from ratifying human rights instruments,
we should also take practical measures including sensitization, creating awareness
and provision of necessary resource towards bringing our national laws and policies
into conformity with their provisions. The struggle against racism is a struggle
for all nations, large and small. No community, no country, no region can fairly
claim to be free or immune from intolerance. Discrimination must be made illegal
at any cost and strictly punishable by law.
I thank you very much.