UN MUST ENSURE SUCCESSFUL SELF-DETERMINATION PROCESS FOR TERRITORIES FACING REMNANTS OF COLONIALISM, THIRD COMMITTEE TOLD
UN MUST ENSURE SUCCESSFUL SELF-DETERMINATION PROCESS FOR TERRITORIES FACING REMNANTS OF COLONIALISM, THIRD COMMITTEE TOLD
Fifty-seventh General Assembly
27th and 28th Meetings (AM & PM)
UN MUST ENSURE SUCCESSFUL SELF-DETERMINATION PROCESS FOR TERRITORIES
FACING REMNANTS OF COLONIALISM, THIRD COMMITTEE TOLD
Draft Resolutions Introduced on Girl Child, Indigenous People
The representative of Saint Lucia this morning urged the United Nations family not to forget the importance of ensuring a process of successful self-determination for territories, facing the lingering remnants of centuries of exploitative colonialism, as the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) continued its consideration of the question of racial discrimination and the right of peoples to self determination.
With the recent independence of Timor-Leste and its subsequent admission as the United Nations' 191st Member State, 16 Territories remained formally listed by the Assembly as “non-self-governing”, he said. And with several notable exceptions, those Territories were small-island developing countries in the Pacific and the Caribbean, inhabited by descendants of the survivors of such inhumane practices as slavery and indentured servitude.
It was critical to ensure the necessary resources were identified and made available from the United Nations system to carry out Assembly mandates on self-determination and decolonization, he stressed. A plan of action, such as that for the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, without the financial resources for implementation, “was a recipe for inaction”.
The representative of Pakistan said that, in 1947, two new nations, Pakistan and India, had emerged in South Asia. They had been precursors of the wave of decolonization and emancipation, on the basis of the right to self-determination. But having achieved its own liberation, India had chosen to deny self-determination to the people of Kashmir.
Shorn of sophistry, he continued, the problem in Kashmir was simply that India would not allow the Kashmiris to express their wishes freely and democratically. Instead of pursuing its present strategy of force and fraud, India must acknowledge that a durable solution must be based on the wishes and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, as envisaged in the resolution of the Security Council.
The representative of India stressed that the concept of self-determination must not become an instrument to promote subversion and erode the political cohesion or territorial integrity of sovereign United Nations Member States. Taken out of context, self-determination could be abused by interested parties to encourage secession and undermine multi-ethnic, pluralistic and democratic States.
Earlier today, the Committee had heard Pakistan's ritual propaganda on the right of self-determination, he continued. Pakistan, whose own people had remained deprived of their democratic rights for most of its history, must ensure the right of self-determination for its own people before sermonizing others. Pakistan must also desist from loading its discredited agenda on to the legitimate aspirations of others for self-determination.
The Committee began its work this afternoon by hearing the introduction of two draft resolutions on matters related to promotion and protection of the rights of children and indigenous peoples.
The representatives of Namibia and Norway introduced texts on, respectively, the girl child and on the programme of activities for the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People.
Participating in the debate today were the representatives of Brazil, Mali, Romania, Jordan, Ecuador, Cuba, Indonesia, Philippines, Ghana, Thailand, Angola, Russian Federation and Nigeria.
The observer of Palestine also spoke, as did the representatives of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The Committee will meet again tomorrow, 29 October, at 3 p.m., to continue its joint consideration of the elimination of racial discrimination and the right of peoples to self-determination.
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to continue its joint consideration of elimination of racial discrimination and the right of peoples to self-determination. (For background, see Press Release GA/SHC/3705 of 23 October.)
It was also expected to hear the introduction of two draft resolutions on matters related to the promotion and protection of the rights of the child, and indigenous people, respectively.
The Committee will have before it a draft text on the girl child (document A/C.3/57/L.24/Rev.1) which would have the Assembly express its concern about the discrimination against the girl child and violation of her rights, which often resulted in less access to education, nutrition and physical and mental health care. By the text, the Assembly would also express its concern that girl children were among the most affected in situations of poverty, war and armed conflict, and thus, the potential for full development was limited.
Further to the draft, the Assembly would stress the need for the full and urgent implementation of the rights of the girl child as guaranteed her under all human rights instruments. It would also urge all States to take all necessary measures and to institute legal reforms to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by girls of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Committee will also have before it a draft resolution on the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (document A/C.3/57/L.27), by which the Assembly would request the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to give due regard to the dissemination of information on the situation, cultures, languages, rights and aspirations of indigenous people, and to consider the possibility of organizing projects, special events, exhibitions and other activities addressed to the public, in particular to young people.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil) said the outcome of the World Conference against Racism constituted a solid basis for battling racism and racial discrimination in all its forms. In the fight against racism, Brazil supported the Anti-Discrimination Unit of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, relevant human rights treaty bodies, special procedures and other mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights, national human rights institutions and international, regional and non-governmental organizations aiming at the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action. Adopted by consensus, that document was a landmark in the fight against racial discrimination. It contained important steps towards reconciling States with their own past, both at the national and international levels. The so-called injustices of the past were the stepping stone that enabled the international community to take a forward-looking approach.
The whole Durban process had been marked by controversy, she said. Although different and sometimes opposing views brought about heated discussion, it was high time to concentrate on a positive agenda. Brazil was convinced that if Durban was destined to be a watershed, its outcome must not only deepen the awareness of the scourge of racism, but also lead to positive actions at the national, regional and international levels. Its results had to be promptly implemented by the international community and with the full involvement of civil society.
ISSA KONFOUROU (Mali) said Mali welcomed the fact the Durban Plan of Action had condemned racist tragedies of the past and had classified slavery and the slave trade as crimes against humanity. Mali would call on all governments to extend every effort to implement the Plan and would urge that particular attention should be paid to discrimination against migrants. That trend had been increasing and broad awareness-raising and education campaigns would be required to combat it. A major element of such campaigns should focus on youth in order to promote respect for cultural, ethnic and religious diversity for all. It would also be important to work with representatives of the mass media to counter increasing xenophobic images and hate speech.
Mali did not wait for the outcome of the Conference to enshrine the rights and duties of all its citizens, particularly in the area of discriminatory and xenophobic behaviour. Mali was concerned by increased ethnic strife permeating many regions in Africa, particularly at a time when the African Union was working hard to promote brotherhood and cooperation towards the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) initiative and other programmes. He said there must be regional and international cooperation at all levels to insure the implementation of the Durban Plan. All stakeholders must work together, including governments, NGOs, religious leaders and media representatives.
EARL S. HUNTLEY (Saint Lucia) said the international community had seen the realization of its goals through the successful self-determination process -- and the resultant decolonization -- of over 80 territories since the Second World War. Only 16 territories remained formally listed by the General Assembly as non-self-governing. Other unlisted territories were scattered throughout the globe. With several notable exceptions, the remaining territories were small-island developing countries, mainly in the Caribbean and Pacific. Inhabitants of these territories were mainly descendents of the survivors of centuries of exploitative colonialism emanating from such inhumane conditions as slavery and indentureship. It was only through the completion of a genuine process of self-determination for the peoples of these territories that the lingering remnants of this unfortunate period of world history could finally be laid to rest.
When considering the fundamental principles of self-determination in the contemporary context for the larger, more well known territories, it was important not to forget the significance of a successful process of self-determination for the smaller, lesser known territories, as well. In this regard, it was crucial to ensure that the necessary resources were identified and made available from the United Nations system to carry out the General Assembly mandates on self-determination and decolonization. He stressed that a plan of action without the financial resources for implementation, was a recipe for inaction.
MIHAELA BLAJAN (Romania) said the fight against racism and intolerance must be confronted by concerted action in line with the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action. It was for the international community to lead the fight to ensure that respect for cultural diversity, tolerance and impartiality were the defining features of global societies. Romania was taking concrete measures to respond to the challenges posed by refugees and migrants, particularly towards the promotion and protection of the rights and their integration into society. Romania also aimed to ensure the protection of the rights of all its citizens under various anti-discriminatory laws and policies.
She said education was a major tool in combating education and in changing attitudes. In that spirit, Romania had taken significant effort to promote education and access to education for the Roma people. Its national long-term Strategy for the benefit of the Roma people had been based on the principle of equality for all and, in the elaboration process, had included the participation of leaders from Roma communities. The Government also realized that the Roma must be stimulated to participate in the political, economic and social development of the country.
MIHAELA BLAJAN (Romania) said the fight against racism and intolerance must be confronted by concerted action in line with the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action. It was for the international community to lead the fight to ensure that respect for cultural diversity, tolerance and impartiality were the defining features of global societies. Romania was taking concrete measures to respond to the challenges posed by refugees and migrants, particularly towards the promotion and protection of their rights and their integration into society. Romania also aimed to ensure the protection of the rights of all its citizens under various anti-discriminatory laws and policies.
She said education was a major tool in combating racism and in changing attitudes. In that spirit, Romania had taken significant effort to promote education and access to education for the Roma people. Its national long-term Strategy for the benefit of the Roma people had been based on the principle of equality for all and, in the elaboration process, had included the participation of leaders from Roma communities. The Government also realized that the Roma must be stimulated to participate in the political, economic and social development of the country.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said that in 1947, two new nations, Pakistan and India, had emerged in South Asia. They were precursors of the wave of decolonization and emancipation on the basis of the right to self-determination. But having achieved its own liberation, India had chosen to deny self-determination to the people of Kashmir. Shorn of sophistry, the problem in Kashmir was simply that India was unwilling to allow the Kashmiris to express their wishes freely and democratically. For the past 12 years, Kashmir had been the killing field for the 700,000-person Indian occupation army. Over this period 80,000 Kashmiris -- men, women and children -- had died. Thousands of young Kashmiris remained incarcerated. Thousands had been tortured and thousands maimed. Crackdowns were common, and rape had been systematically used as an instrument of war. The dispute over Jammu and Kashmir had led to three wars between India and Pakistan -- he said that Kashmir was a volatile flashpoint in South Asia's nuclear tinderbox.
India, instead of pursuing its present strategy of force and fraud, must acknowledge that a military solution was not possible; that the status quo was the problem and could not be the solution; that a peaceful political settlement would have to be the outcome of negotiations between India and Pakistan and involve the true representatives of Kashmir; and that a durable solution would have to be based on the wishes and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir as envisaged in the resolution of the Security Council.
NADYA RASHEED, Observer for Palestine, said the practices of racism and related intolerance continued to deny individuals their rights. Discrimination also remained a barrier to the right of some peoples to live in a free and unprejudiced world. Even though the documents adopted at Durban were, in her delegation’s opinion, less than perfect, they nevertheless represented an important achievement and provided a foundation to build upon. For far too long, the Palestinian people had continued to be the victims of racism, racial discrimination and intolerance. In the occupied Palestinian territories, approximately half of the Palestinian people -– some 3.5 million people –- had lived under brutal and oppressive occupation for decades.
Let it be stressed, she continued, that foreign occupation was clearly the antithesis of all the principles and norms of equality, democracy and tolerance. Many of the systematic oppressive Israeli measures could not have continued or escalated without the racist attitudes of the State as an occupying Power. Those measures had taken the form of State terrorism, war crimes and systematic human rights violations. Inflicting maximum and unremitting pain and suffering on the Palestinian people had been official policy, and causing the virtual collapse of the socio-economic conditions within the territories had been the goal so that the Palestinian people would be driven to kneel to the occupying Power. Her delegation hoped that the international community would exert every effort to relieve the Palestinian people of that hardship and anguish of racism and racial discrimination.
BISHER H. AL-KHASAWNEH (Jordan) believed that the right of peoples to self-determination ought not, in any way, compromise or endanger the territorial integrity and political unity of independent States. Such territorial integrity and political unity must always be preserved and respected. This, however, did not apply, in any way, to peoples, land or territory under belligerent foreign occupation. Against this clear and un-blurred distinction, Jordan emphasized the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to freely determine their political status in the entirety of the occupied West Bank and Gaza, including the right to establish an independent Palestinian State therein, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
In this context, he urged Israel to end, without delay, its occupation of Palestinian cities and siege of Palestinians and Palestinian cities that it had re-occupied and that it withdraw its forces to their positions of before 28 September 2000. Only a withdrawal would allow constructive and conducive conditions to be regenerated enabling the resumption of the peace process. The aim must be to reach a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East region -- based on the Madrid terms of reference -- and to guarantee a better, safer and more prosperous life for Arabs and Israelis alike.
GUSTAVO PALACIO URRUTIA (Ecuador) said the Durban World Conference against Racism had sparked an important debate on prejudice, discrimination and intolerance -- evils which affected all humankind -- throughout Ecuador’s multi-ethnic society. Ecuador believed that present-day discrimination was based on a historical process characterized by rejection of the “other” -- who had been non-white -- as well as the practice of social and economic exclusion or marginalization. Ecuador had set up an ad hoc committee comprised of Government officials, legal experts, community leaders and representatives of people of African and Roma descent to discuss and devise a National Plan of Action to combat racism. He highlighted the active role played by the academic sector in that process. Broad participation in the process reflected the concern of all levels of society.
He said that Ecuador had focused significant efforts in the areas of education and job creation for vulnerable sectors, such as indigenous peoples and peoples of African descent. Programmes promoting and supporting microenterprises were under way. While he recognized that much remained to be done, what was important was that Ecuadorian society had begun the process of promoting tolerance, respect and social inclusion, which could not be turned back.
ENCHO GOSPODINOV, of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said working against discrimination, and in favour of tolerance and respect for cultural diversity, were central tasks in the world today. These tasks fit closely with the central purpose of all Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies -- to help, without discrimination, those who suffered. All actions carried out by each component of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement were deeply rooted in the seven fundamental principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. These provided a solid basis for work to alleviate tension, combat discrimination, and have an impact not only on vulnerable persons, but on the public as a whole, he said.
The fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and all forms of discrimination required the involvement of everyone. For his organization, it involved the design and implementation of programmes utilizing the resources provided by almost 100 million members and volunteers. But in order to increase the efficiency of this humanitarian power, partnerships with others, including the High Commissioner for Human Rights, were essential, as they provided deeper analytical approaches and better exchanges of views and experience. As part of the follow-up to Durban, the Federation aimed to give priority to the development of these partnerships, he said.
Introduction of Drafts
Before the Committee began its work in the afternoon, it heard the introduction of two draft resolutions.
The representative of Namibia introduced a text on the girl child (document A/C.3/57/L.24/Rev.1)
Then, the representative of Norway introduced a text on the Programme of the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People, (document A/C.3/57/L.27).
LUIS ALBERTO AMORÓS NÚÑEZ (Cuba) said self-determination and equal sovereignty of all States were unshakable pillars of international law. That principle had been based upon the struggle of peoples living under colonialism or foreign occupation. In that regard, Cuba was profoundly concerned by the prolonged and illegal occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel. Cuba hoped that, sooner rather than later, the international community would see a free Palestinian State with free people living free of cruel domination. He said that threats on various fronts to developing countries in an increasingly uni-polar international environment also hindered the exercise of the right to self-determination. It was crucial for the international community to recognize the rights of people and individuals, as well as the right of States to territorial integrity. All countries of the world could not exist as “cookie cutter” replicas of one way of life or political idea.
For its part Cuba had lived for many years with a large portion of its land usurped illegally by the United States, and the situation surrounding the military base at Guantanamo Bay grated against the territorial integrity of his country, he said. There must also be a solution in the colonial case of Puerto Rico, a country which, like Cuba, had been occupied by the United States.
At a time of supposed international peace, mercenaries were still at work trying to destabilize many countries, he said. Accordingly, Cuba supported the thorough work being carried out by the Special Rapporteur on the question of the use of mercenaries, who continually denounced the use of mercenaries wherever it occurred. That mechanism had also noted that mercenaries were on the increase, with actions that now underpinned some terrorist activities. Cuba had been subjected to mercenary activities with terrorist motives for some 40 years. Many of those mercenaries carried out their work through organizations that had been, and continued to be, financed by the United States, with the aim of destabilizing the socio-economic conditions in Cuba. The entire international community must unambiguously condemn State terrorism and terrorist acts. Those who promoted impunity for such acts were, in fact, contributing to terrorism.
BONANZA P. TAIHITU (Indonesia) said that in formulating its national plan in follow-up to the Durban Plan of Action, Indonesia had set out for itself a series of time-dependent objectives which established national priorities in the evolution of democracy, including human rights initiatives. Each country, in accordance with its own needs, culture, customs and resources must determine such priorities. Emerging democracies required the moral, technical and financial support of established democracies. Institutions that had evolved over decades or even centuries in other countries could not be expected to spring up overnight in nascent democracies. The Government of Indonesia was concerned that globally racism seemed to be rising. What was perhaps most troublesome about this global rise in racism was that racists would squander one of humanity's most valuable resources -- diversity.
Concerning the issue of self-determination, he said the long suffering of the Palestinian People, which was in no small way attributable to racism, must be brought to an end. Indonesia believed that a settlement to this conflict required the full withdrawal of Israel from all occupied Arab land, respect for the right of all States in the region to live within secure and internationally recognized boundaries, and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the establishment of a Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.
DANTON BUESER (Philippines) said Member States' efforts must be supplemented by actions at the international level. These actions must include the establishment of an intergovernmental working group composed of five eminent persons from the various regions to work with the High Commissioner for Human Rights and United Nations bodies as part of the Durban Plan of Action. All regional groups must appoint their representatives so these eminent persons could submit recommendations on the implementation and enforcement of measures to eliminate racial discrimination in the short and medium term.
The importance of educational programmes aimed at eradicating all forms of racism and related intolerance needed to be stressed, he said. It was crucial to teach children about their rights and freedoms, and the need to respect the rights and freedoms of others. It was also important to teach children to appreciate the richness and diversity of the world's cultures and peoples. The Philippines therefore supported the efforts of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to address racism in the context of education. He encouraged States to continue to build on past achievements to defeat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and looked to the Third Committee in finding cooperative solutions to reduce the injustices of the world caused by racism in all its manifestations.
MAVIS KUSORGBOR (Ghana) said that one year after convening the momentous World conference against Racism in Durban, the international community’s commitment to combat the scourge of racial discrimination appeared somewhat ambivalent. That was particularly troubling as manifestations were on the increase throughout the world. Ghana attached great importance to the Anti-Discrimination Unit at the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and the work that group was preparing to undertake. She hoped, however, that the unit would be given the necessary resources and support to enable it to function efficiently, in cooperation with Member States and other relevant bodies.
She said racism, often sparked by feelings of superiority, based on ethnicity, colour, sex, language or religion, was, without doubt, a “social cancer”. In Ghana, discrimination in any form was strongly condemned under Constitutional provisions relating to “fundamental human rights and freedoms”. While historical experiences and the results of violent conflict due to ethnic discrimination had only strengthened Ghana’s resolve to curb such practices, the crucial role of the international community to promote Durban’s broad anti-discrimination agenda could not be overstated. Ghana therefore looked forward to the establishment of the working group of five independent experts and would urge the two regional groups that had not yet nominated their experts to do so expeditiously, in order for that group’s work to get under way.
APIRATH VIENRAVI (Thailand) said the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action provided the international community with a comprehensive framework which must be further developed and put into action to address discrimination in its various manifestations. The anti-discrimination spirit must be integrated into efforts to deal with other concerns, including in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic and promoting gender equality and the well-being of children, older persons and persons with disabilities. At the same time, the anti-discrimination agenda set forth by the World Conference must also be mainstreamed in the implementation of other related commitments made at other major conferences, he said.
While doing the utmost to address the consequences of discriminatory actions, the international community must not overlook the need for preventing and addressing root causes of discrimination, he said. Education, awareness-raising and intercultural exchanges, including the pursuit of a culture of peace and dialogue among civilizations, were essential tools in this regard, and must be promoted. He added that, concurrently, poverty, underdevelopment and economic disparity needed to be addressed, and legislative, administrative and other related measures strengthened. The importance of international cooperation in the fight against racism was stressed, yet all States needed to begin at home. Children must be taught to appreciate the values of diversity and harmony. Families and schools, as well as information and communications technologies, must be put to optimum use to advance the value of mutual understanding and cross-culture respect.
ANTONIO LEAL CORDEIRO (Angola) said that in the battle against racism, measures must be taken to heighten awareness and to educate the populace about the deleterious effects of racism, both on the national and international levels. These efforts must be assumed by all nations, and a collective programme of action must be initiated. Education had the potential of becoming a beacon of enlightenment for those that engaged in discriminatory practices. Governments must put in place constitutional, legislative and administrative guarantees which protected against discrimination. Angola had made tremendous progress since the end of the colonial period. Independence had eradicated five centuries of racial discrimination and racism. Presently, Angolans no longer suffered from these conditions and enjoyed a Government that emphasized the equality of rights and the harmonious coexistence of all ethnic groups.
However, decades of civil conflict had displaced thousands of Angolan citizens around the world. He said that some of the members of Angola's displaced populace were exposed to various acts of discrimination, and in many instances endured violations of their civil rights and liberties.
He said Angola strongly condemned the use of mercenaries. Yet, an incorrect interpretation of Mr. Ballesteros’ presentation on this item could lead some to conclude that the Government of Angola supported the employment of mercenaries in conflict situations. Such an erroneous conclusion ran far distant from its policy and practice on this issue, and the Angolan delegation strongly rejected and condemned this erroneous interpretation.
DMITRY KNYAZHINSKIY (Russian Federation) said that, despite efforts by States and the entire international community, racism, discrimination and intolerance were still among the most serious global phenomena that persisted in many countries and regions around the world. Preventing discrimination should be one of the key goals for all governments. That was particularly salient since racist and prejudicial attitudes often provided a breeding ground for extremist ideologies and terrorist activity. For its part, Russia had initiated a broad system of laws and policies to address the situation of racism and intolerance. The country’s actions had met with some success but had also highlighted the need to further develop the legal bases and government institutions to enhance mechanisms that would ensure tolerance. Another law called for severe punishment for any extremist activity.
He said Russia welcomed the work of United Nations experts and other mechanisms in the eradication of racial discrimination. Those mechanisms should continue to work within their mandates and in cooperation with governments. The decisions adopted at Durban and subsequent to that important Conference should be implemented in good faith and in full awareness that combating racism was the task of the entire international community. Russia hoped that sufficient financial resources would be made available to the proposed working group on behalf of persons of African descent and the working group on follow-up to the Durban Conference.
GEORGES O.O. ALABI (Nigeria) said that, as a follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, the Government of Nigeria had created a special committee to advise it on actions that needed to be taken to achieve their implementation. Nigeria already had appropriate legislation and institutional mechanisms in place to promote equal opportunities in education and socio-economic development for all, including the ethnic minorities, women and children. Regarding those living with HIV/AIDS, the Government was implementing policies that would ensure care and concern for them. Efforts were also being made through an intensive awareness campaign to promote respect for their rights and privileges, which were guaranteed by the Constitution.
He noted that despite the undertaking by many governments to combat racism and racial discrimination, this vice continued to reoccur in various parts of the world, with migrants and refugees -- women and children -- as the worst victims. Migrant women and unaccompanied children, mostly of African origin, continued to experience the most inhuman forms of racially motivated hatred and xenophobic violence, even in some of the countries generally referred to as "developed". Regrettably, some of these women and children were victims of human trafficking, another multifaceted phenomenon, for which the international community needed to find a solution as quickly as possible. As a mark of its concern over the growing menace of trafficking, Nigeria intended to host an international conference on Human Trafficking next year.
AJIT KUMAR PANJA (India) said though the era of colonialism and imperialism was past, it was unfortunate that even today's attitudes, habits and thought processes that, in the colonial past, had created a vast divide in global civilization, still continued to foment racial hatred and segregation. India's commitment to the elimination of racism was historic and well recognized. It was therefore natural that at independence, adequate safeguards had been built into the Indian Constitution and the Indian Penal Code against discrimination, both on the grounds of race and caste.
He stressed that the concept of self-determination must not become an instrument to promote subversion and erode the political cohesion or territorial integrity of sovereign United Nations Member States. However, taken out of context, self-determination could be abused by interested parties to encourage secession and undermine multi-ethnic, pluralistic and democratic States. Earlier today, the Committee had heard Pakistan's ritual propaganda on the right to self-determination.
Pakistan, whose own people had remained deprived of their democratic rights for most of its history and which had ruled part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir illegally, had been indulging in abuse of the concept of self-determination to bolster its agenda of territorial aggrandizement through terrorism against India. Pakistan must first ensure the right to self-determination for its own people before sermonizing others on it. It must also desist from loading its discredited agenda onto the legitimate aspirations of others for self-determination.
ALFATIH HAMAD, speaking on behalf of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said his agency had already taken a number of steps towards the implementation of the Durban recommendations. In May, the UNESCO Executive Board adopted a Strategy for follow-up to the World Conference. At the Secretariat level, a section had been established with a specific mandate to contribute to the fight against racism. Ongoing projects such as the “Slave Route” would continue to be enhanced. The intrinsically ethical and intellectual nature of UNESCO’s mandate and programmes placed the fight against racism at the top of its agenda in relevant areas, such as education and scientific research.
He was pleased to announce that a joint workshop to develop educational tools and materials to foster tolerance and eliminate prejudice would be organized
in cooperation with the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights on 27 and 28 November. Further, UNESCO would continue to pursue the goals of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995 to 2004). Anti-discrimination components in human rights education programmes would be enhanced, notably through innovative and practical education methods and the publishing of materials aimed at clarifying relevant international standards. On the research front, UNESCO would particularly emphasize the economic and cultural dimensions of discrimination, including links to poverty.
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