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Home Press Releases 2001 MA'AN (Together) Issue 2 - World Conference Against Racism

MA'AN (Together) Issue 2 - World Conference Against Racism

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Forwarded from Arab NGO Caucus, WCAR Durban

MA'AN - Issue No. 2: Racism at Home, Arab Issues - in brief

1. The Palestinian File
2. Gender Justice
3. Minorities Rights
4. Migrant Workers

MA'AN (Together)
An electronic newsletter produced by the Secretariat to the Arab NGOs Caucus at the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance (WACR). This newsletter will continue to be published on a daily basis and in different languages (Arabic, English, French, Spanish) by the Arab Caucus Media Group in Durban, to subscribe or unsubscribe to it send a message to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

1.THE PALESTINIAN FILE

The Palestinian crisis is predominantly an issue of racial discrimination that reaches ethnic cleansing ideologies. Starting from losing by force their homes and land fifty years ago, the Palestinians have faced different forms of killings, torture, injuries by the hand of a racist organised system.

"If the Palestinian were black, Israel would be now a pariah state subject to economic sanctions led by the United States. Its development and settlement of the West Bank would be seen as a system of Apartheid, in which the indigenous population was allowed to live in a tiny fractions of its own country, in self-administered 'bantustans' with 'whites' monopolizing the supply of water and electricity. And just as the black population was allowed into South Africa's white areas in disgracefully under-resourced townships, so Israel's treatment of Israeli Arabs flagrantly discriminating against them in housing and education spending would be recognized as scandalous, too.." (The Observer-Editorial, October 15, 2000).

The Arab Caucus affirms the right of Palestinians to SELF-DETERMINATION and demands the immediate END of ETHNIC CLEANSING strategies against the Palestinians. It also calls the international community to bear its responsibility to liquidate the last stronghold of racism and APARTHIED consecrated by Israel as was the case with removing the before-the-last stain of dishonor in South Africa. Also the international community must acknowledge that establishing just peace can not be based on acquiescence and submissive acceptance of fait accompli but rather on the respect for the inalienable rights of the Arab Palestinian people. From this perspective, the UN must scrutinize any peace agreement and verify that it is consistent with standards of human rights and the International Humanitarian Law and resolutions of the international legitimacy. In particular, any peace agreement must include the following:

* Safeguarding the Palestinian people's right to self -determination and to establishment of its independent state on its national soil.
* Full and unconditional Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Palestinian territories in 1967including Jerusalem and removing colonist settlements inside these territories.
* The right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland and original houses as per UN Resolution 194 and rules of the international legitimacy.

Palestinian NGO position paper for the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Other Forms of Intolerance; Durban, South Africa, August/September 2001 http://www.lawsociety.org/Apartheid/palngo.htm

The Universality of Human Rights at Risk -The Credibility of International Protection Mechanisms in Danger http://www.mezan.org/universality.htm

Documents of negotiations between Palestinian authorities and the Israeli regime http://www.miftah.org/Documents/Agreements.html

2. GENDER JUSTICE

The Arab Caucus celebrates women's rights as human rights and notices that, though the constitutions of Arab States tend to stipulate equality between all citizens and non-discrimination on basis of gender, women face regular discrimination from local institutions (social, economic, political, juridical). The Caucus denounces gender injustice and women forms of discrimination from violence (physical, psychological, sexual) to political and economic.

The Caucus calls upon Arab governments, which did not ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against women (CEDAW) to ratify the convention with no reservations and calling upon ratifying states to lift their reservations. All Arab states must amend their institutional, legislative and constitutional systems to be consistent with the CEDAW and should establish mechanisms of implementation and supervise the modified systems. And it demands governments to bear their responsibility toward finding radical solutions that will put women and men on equal foot in front of the letter of the law, as well as, in public and private life. The excuse of local culture should in no way be used to justify suppression of one gender or the other.

3. MINORITIES RIGHTS

The Arab Caucus denounces the situation of minorities in the Arab Region, Arab governments have failed to solve problems of discrimination against sectional, religious, cultural, linguistic, ethnic, national and racial minorities. Discrimination against minorities has resulted in social, cultural, developmental and economic imbalances between the population inside the same country. Failure to put an end to this problem opened the door for vast violations of human rights, the eruption of acts of internal violence, civil struggles and wars, caused grave damages to the right of development and peace and strengthened tendencies of animosity and hostility.

The rights of minorities, religious (Christian, Jews), ethnic (Akhdam, Amazeeg, Beduins, Kurds) to celebrate their identity must be granted and protected, supporting the struggle of minorities to achieves their rights as stipulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Minorities. Arab NGOs at the Arab Regional Preparatory Conference for the WACR asserted the "denunciation of all acts of oppression and absolutism and launching wars against some minorities in the Arab world in particular acts of genocide, forced displacement and slavery since they constitute crimes against humanity. Condemnation of practices and policies that hinge upon exclusion from political participation on grounds of confession, religion or race, and of all forms of propaganda and incitement that are based on fanaticism, religious or national superiority or the like." (The Cairo Declaration)

4. MIGRANT WORKERS

Migrant workers lack full legal protection in Arab countries where they work. Different forms of discrimination prevail not only against migrant workers in favor of the citizens of the hosting states, but between migrant workers themselves according to their countries of origin. Arab and foreign migrant workers suffer in the Gulf countries from the sponsorship system and are deprived of their fundamental rights. As to situation of migrant workers in the European countries, it is affected by policies that aim at reducing their numbers on the one hand, and the appearance of new waves of racism and xenophobia, that amounted to violence especially against workers of African or Arab descent, on the other hand.

The Arab Caucus asserts the necessity of respecting basic human rights of all categories of migrants in receiving states, including those compulsory residing therein in an illegal way. All states are called upon to review their domestic laws and making them consistent with international standards. States are called upon in particular to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of Migrant workers and Members of their Families of 1990. And it calls upon Arab governments to conduct bilateral and multilateral agreements between exporting and receiving states of workers to safeguard the protection of migrant workers and criminalize the phenomenon of mass lay-off.

IV. EVENTS AND ACTIVISM DURING DURBAN

To know what events the Arab NGOs will be holding during the World Conference Against Racism, check the Arab Caucus web site starting 28 August. http://arabcivilsociety.net/WCARcaucus/event.html

The Arab Caucus secretariat consists of Nazar Abdelgadir, Said Bakri, Shawqi Issa, Ameer Makhoul, and Yousri Mustafa

Editor: Lamis al-Shejni

For any further inquiry or comments This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Arab NGOs Caucus On-Line http://arabcivilsociety.net/WCARcaucus

World Conference Against Racism, Racial discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance http://www.un.org/wcar

WCAR NGOs Forum http://www.racism.org.za