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SACW Dispatch #2 | 1st Aug. 00

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Web Dispatch #2 1 August 2000 http://www.mnet.fr/aiindex [This issue of the Dispatch is dedicated to the memory of Ali Sardar Jafri who
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2000
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      South Asia Citizens Web Dispatch #2
      1 August 2000

      [This issue of the Dispatch is dedicated to the memory of Ali Sardar Jafri
      who died on Tuesday in Bombay. Ali Sardar Jafri one of India's best known
      progressive poets]

      #1. Pakistan: Who is the Enemy of Islam ?
      #2. Pakistan: Protest Against Internet Policing
      #3. India: News report on the Death of Ali Sardar Jafri
      #4. Canada / South Asian Disapora: Report on South Asia Solidarity event
      #5. Briefing on Upcoming World Conference Against Racism, Racial
      Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR) 2001



      The News International (Pakistan)
      31 July 2000


      Brian Cloughley

      Who or what is the most dangerous enemy of Islam? Is it the Christian
      fundamentalist, insisting with misguided zealotry that his is the only
      true faith? Could it be the Hindu fanatic, determined to destroy mosques
      and marginalise or even expel Muslims, as Mr Bal Thackeray would wish?
      Or might it be western secularists, seemingly hell-bent (literally?) on
      seducing young people from religious faith by spreading gross and
      degrading images in the guise of 'global culture' and 'information
      technology'? In fact it is none of the above: for the gravest and most
      potent enemy of Islam is the poorly educated and arrogant Muslim bigot
      whose ignorance of the world is complemented by a revolting combination
      of blinkered fanaticism and warped rejection of intellectual probity.

      The indefatigable Pamela Constable of the Washington Post recently went
      to Pakistan's North West Frontier Province and reported in her usual
      estimable fashion on what she saw and heard. She quoted a religious
      teacher, one Samiul Haq, as saying that Pakistan's leaders "cannot dare
      to touch us," and observed that the maulanas "exercise a formidable veto
      over issues of Muslim law, culture and policy that not even the
      country's military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, has felt strong
      enough to challenge."

      It is time this fellow Samiul Haq was brought firmly into line. Nobody
      is above the law of the land, and if somebody likes to think he might
      be, and can boast about it openly, he should be informed in robust terms
      that this is not what law is all about. In fact, it is time that all of
      the arrogant religious leaders were told a few home truths, beginning
      with people like Samiul Haq. His uncompromisingly blinkered approach to
      life is well-described by a brilliant young reporter, Jeffrey Goldberg,
      in the New York Times magazine of June 25 in a piece called "Inside
      Jihad U: the education of a holy warrior". His disturbing description of
      Samiul Haq will have been read by educated and responsible people
      worldwide. Little wonder that Pakistan is regarded with considerable
      suspicion by those whom it should be cultivating, and who can do it
      nothing but good by their benevolent interest, should there be reason to
      display that. But they consider, as do I, that the beautiful bottle of
      Islam has given forth some flawed genies of fearsome, intimidating and
      vicious disposition, whose only motivation is achievement, extension and
      exercise of personal power.

      I had a disquieting email from a young Pakistani friend a few days ago:
      "I travelled by road through Taxila, Abbotabad, Manshera, Nathiagali,
      Murree, etc, and was appalled by what I saw. Almost every wall by the
      roadside is covered with jihadi slogansŠit's like travel back in time.
      'Bara khandan, jihad aasaan (the larger the family the easier it is to
      fight jihad)', 'Come to our training camp to learn jihad tactics',
      'Qitaal (massacre of kafirs) is a duty of every Muslim,' etc. It is
      terrifying." Sure it is; and the sooner this type of wicked nonsense is
      stamped out, the better it will be for Pakistan. Apart from anything
      else, these slogans make nonsense of the official claim that Pakistan
      has no military training camps in which unfortunate and otherwise unemp
      loyable youths are taught that adherence to religion brings approval and
      licence to commit violence. Foreign reporters see the graffiti and
      report worldwide that Pakistan is going fundo, and observers of Pakistan
      are confused and apprehensive about what is going on. Of much more
      importance, possible investors in Pakistan are flocking in their
      hundreds to invest--in India. And who can blame them?

      Muslim fanatics say they don't want western investment. They say it
      encourages influences that corrupt the young; that people are led from
      the path of virtue into scandalous behaviour; that peculation will
      thrive; and that, in any case, Pakistan doesn't need foreign companies
      in order that its peoples should live decently. This is all tripe.

      I have to admit a certain sympathy with the view that multinationals are
      interested only in profit. Of course they are. In fact most of them
      appear to be unscrupulous, dishonourable and very nasty. They are in
      business to make money, the more the better, and the devil take the
      hindmost. Widows might weep and orphans go hungry, but, by God, company
      profits will not suffer. But this does not mean to say their influence
      is entirely negative. Worldwide investments are not confined to
      benefiting flinty-eyed, hard-nosed profiteers, because their activities,
      dubious as they might be, contribute enormously to national growth in
      the developing world. For a country to ignore global capitalism is to
      accept permanent relegation to the dark ages. But this seems to be what
      the maulvis want.

      One maulana Adbul Malik, head of a new group called the 'United Islamic
      Revolutionary Front'--which very title is an open challenge to the
      government of Pakistan--said the other day that "We warn the
      administration to ban forthwith all the cable [television] networks in
      Peshawar or we will do it by force." "OK, sonny", the government should
      say: "try to use force, and see what happens." And then they should
      thump him, very hard.

      But I have remarked before that these religious leaders are always ready
      to threaten violence and encourage their misguided adherents to come on
      to the streets and chuck stones--but they are never to be seen when the
      fighting starts. Oh, no: they are back at the ranch, not to the
      forefront of the rioting mob that is obeying their orders and taking the
      teargas and lathi charges. They are more than ready to whip up poor
      ignorant street people and 'students' from their propaganda factories
      that masquerade as religious centres; but when there is the possibility
      of physical danger the beards are seen being driven away quickly in
      their glossy, tinted-glass Pajeros. And how many maulanas are fighting
      in Kashmir, one wonders? India would make much of the capture or killing
      of a religious leader who was bearing arms, were such to occur--but
      there has never been an instance of this. The 'jehad' in Kashmir would
      seem to be conducted without the benefit of attendance by those who most
      encourage it, and who appear to be comfortable with the fact that young
      men make the ultimate sacrifice, while they wag their henna-tinted
      beards in the luxury of their snazzy four-wheel-drives. (And where does
      the money come for them, anyway?)

      The self-proclaimed maulana Abdul Malik says that "cable [TV] networks
      spread obscenity in our society." He claims that cable and satellite
      transmissions are threats to Islamic culture and traditions. No, they
      are not: they are a threat to the power of hypocritical and devious men
      who want to keep as many people as possible in subjection and in
      ignorance of the wider world, entirely for their own reasons. Their
      model is the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, a warped and inglorious
      representation of religion, whose 'minister for vice and virtue,'
      Mohammed Turabi, has a good claim to be the most intolerant person on
      the planet. This fellow lost an eye and some appendages in Afghanistan
      during the war against the Russians, and is now hysterically anti-woman.
      He appears, in fact, to be a seriously disturbed person who ordered
      house-dwellers in Kabul to paint their ground-floor windows black, lest
      a passerby might see a female. He has banned women from undertaking any
      sort of work, and has forbidden education of girls.

      His bizarre and vicious orders have nothing to do with the teachings of
      the Qur'aan or the Hadith. They are dreamed up, in a particularly
      reptilian and horrible way, by men whose minds are so demented and
      grotesque that they can see neither the essential inner beauty of women
      nor appreciate its external manifestations. These men, in fact, are no
      better than beasts, who regard female representatives of their species
      simply as vehicles for base sexual satisfaction and have no finer
      feelings for them. These fanatics are not protecting women; rather they
      persecute them in the name of religion, but in reality their atrocious
      and deviant behaviour stems from a weird and seemingly uncontrollable
      desire for personal satisfaction that would attract the aghast but
      fascinated attention of any Freudian analyst. They are seriously
      sick--but they have influence over many untutored young, whom they seek
      to mould in their own warped image.

      Jeffrey Goldberg's NYT piece on "The education of a holy warrior"
      describes the terrifying and obscenely pathetic existence of 'students'
      in Samiul Haq's 'academy' in NWFP. Some of these poor, misdirected,
      confused and innocent boys asked him whether American men are "allowed
      by law to keep boyfriends and girlfriends at the same time." The
      ignorance of the world displayed by these unfortunate robots ("Candy
      comes from America; I like candy") is simply a reflection of their
      repression by cramped and freakish instructors whose embittered personal
      persuasions are conveyed to unformed minds in the guise of piety.

      Does Pakistan want to go the Taliban route? I think not. But if it
      doesn't want Taliban-style bigotry to be the law of the land, then the
      time has come for action to put some of these wicked genies back in the
      good bottle of Islam, from where they can learn from and about the rest
      of the world, and, one hopes, be eventually released as constructive
      teachers rather than divisive, intolerant and malevolent influences on
      society. There isn't much time left, before the bigots bring out the
      mobs on the streets. These men are the greatest enemies of Islam. If
      they achieve their aims, would anyone then undertake to invest in
      Pakistan? Only undertakers



      31 JULY, 2000

      DEVELOPMENT-PAKISTAN: Protest Against Internet Policing
      By Muddassir Rizvi

      ISLAMABAD, Jul 20 (IPS) - The Pakistani government's decision to regulate
      the Internet in the country to block cheap telephony and pornography has
      come under flak for intruding on personal freedom.
      While rights groups have slammed the announcement by the state monopoly
      Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation (PTCL), information technology (IT)
      experts say the move will be counterproductive.
      Media commentators also rapped the military regime for enforcing outdated
      notions of "morality". They have described the step as "regressive" at a
      time when other Islamic nations were opening up to the rest of the world.
      "While the rest of the world is preparing to cultivate the benefits of the
      IT revolution, PTCL is adopting one of the most regressive and myopic
      policies of control," said Faisal Zubair Abbasi, an Islamabad-based rights
      activist who works with a local Internet Service Provider (ISP).
      Since its introduction five years ago, the number of Internet users in
      Pakistan is estimated to have grown to 175,000.
      The government's telecom company announced in mid-July that it was setting
      up two National Access Points (NAPs) in Karachi and Islamabad to control
      cyber traffic.
      "We are installing NAPs to block Internet telephony and pornographic
      websites," said a PTCL official.
      However, the PTCL insists that the decision is more commercial in nature and
      meant to minimise financial losses caused by the growing popularity of cheap
      Internet-based telephone calls in the country.
      "Telephone calls made via the Internet have caused a huge revenue loss to
      the PTCL estimated to be in the range of 2.8 million U.S. dollars per
      annum," said a PTCL press statement.
      More and more Pakistanis are using the new technology to cut down telephone
      bills while speaking to relatives abroad.
      "A three minute call to Canada would cost around 300 rupees (about 60
      dollars ) but the call of same duration made through the Internet will cost
      less than a few cents," said the owner of a cyber cafe in Islamabad.
      "While the Pakistani government is blindly integrating the country's economy
      in the global economy, it is not allowing the benefit of modern technology
      to its people," he added.
      But Internet telephony is not the only reason. "By establishing NAP, we can
      block access to pornographic sites. This will encourage, especially among
      young people, healthy and educational use of the Internet," the PTCL
      official said.
      The critics see this as a "control-freak" state's bid to undo the liberating
      influence of the Internet.
      "The Pakistani state views itself as a guardian and promoter of Islamic
      moral values as defined and dictated by the forces of orthodoxy and has so
      far thrived by manipulating...ideas that are fed to people through
      state-controlled electronic media and a pliable print media," said media
      commentator Najum Mushtaq.
      "Perhaps for the first time, a technology is becoming available to the
      average middle class Pakistani that threatens to break free of this
      controlled communication," he observed.
      Rights activists, IT experts and Internet users are also accusing the
      government of going back on its promise to encourage use of the medium. The
      government had cut down bandwidth charges by 53 per cent earlier this year
      so that more ISPs could start operations.
      According to rights activist Abbasi, such monitoring and control "creates
      opportunities for a 'politically-motivated sniffing' into emails and other
      Internet packets."
      "It seems that the 'morality' propaganda of PTCL is frivolous and naive in
      the potentially anarchic world of cyberspace," he said.
      IT experts also pointed out that there was no way of technically ensuring
      that censorship of this kind could be confined to pornography without
      hampering the flow of other information.
      "Pornography is a relative term and when defined by state-functionaries in
      Pakistan, it can mean anything from a mere description of parts of human
      anatomy to a ceremonial kiss to men in shorts," said Najumul Islam, an IT
      consultant in Islamabad.
      According to some experts, the PTCL decision to set up NAPs at only two
      points will slow down Internet access speed. The Internet Service Providers
      Association has opposed the PTCL plan to set the NAPs, saying it will slow
      down Internet traffic and discourage investment in the IT sector.
      "The PTCL wants to police cyberspace through NAPs, which will cause a logjam
      because the scanning of data will drastically slow down the services," said
      one ISP representative. (END/IPS/ap-dv-hd/mr/mu/00)



      Times of India
      1 August 2000


      MUMBAI: Jnanpith winner Ali Sardar Jafri, one of the leading lights of the
      progressive Urdu literary movement, died of brain tumour on Tuesday at a
      hospital here. He was 86.

      He had been ailing for quite some time and was undergoing treatment at the
      Bombay Hospital for the past two months. The end came at 8 am.

      A great revolutionary, intellectual and orator, Jafri's acclaimed work,
      Sarhad, a compilation of poems, was carried by Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee
      to Pakistan during his Lahore bus trip in 1999.

      He highlighted the cause of the oppressed class and realities of life
      through his works and preached peace and humanism.

      Jafri wrote against imperialism and did not restrict himself to India. His
      other well-known compilation, Asia Jaag Utha, exemplifies this.

      An alumnus of Aligarh Muslim University, he was a students' union leader
      and went to jail on several occasions during freedom struggle.

      Jafri came to Mumbai in 1942 and made the city his home till his end.
      Maharashtra honoured him with the first Dnyaneshwari award, instituted by
      the state government three years ago, for his immense contribution to

      Influenced by Iqbal, Jafri also wrote autobiographical poems. He was a
      close associate of Turkish poet Nazim Hikmat and Chilean poet Pablo Naruda
      and another legendary Urdu writer Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

      He -- along with Sahir Ludhianvi, Kaifi Azmi, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Uma
      Shankar Joshi -- were the pioneers of the Urdu progressive movement. (UNI)



      [Email from Hari Sharma | 1 August 2000]


      by Hari Sharma

      With skies spitting off and on, clouds rolling in a menacing way, and a
      threat of a thunderous storm hanging in the forecasts, it wasn't the best
      of BC weathers to start a day. Yet almost one hundred people - children,
      women and men - braved the weather and came to the Trout Lake Park in
      Vancouver on Saturday, July 22, to participate in the picnic organized by
      the newly formed organization, South Asian Network for Secularism and
      Democracy (SANSAD).

      Experts had been consulted. Knowledgeable people had looked at the weather
      pattern over the past many decades. And after calculating all the odds,
      July 22 was selected, almost two months ago, as the best bet for planning a
      picnic in the Vancouver area. And for the whole week (and more), leading up
      to the Saturday, we had every reason to be grateful to our
      crystal-ball-gazers. Bright sun, soothingly warm days, long and pleasant
      evenings: there was everything to justify the proclamation on the
      province's license plates, "Beautiful British Columbia".

      But come Saturday, and it seemed like the Rain gods (Hindu, Muslim, Sikh,
      Christian, and every other Rain God) conspired to foul our plans. Or maybe
      it was the Advanis, the Musharrafs, and their likes, who didn't want the
      diverse South Asians to come together to celebrate their common and rich
      cultural heritage. Dark clouds. Chilly winds. Drizzling skies.

      The spirits were dampened a bit; but the resolve was not. Almost two
      hundred people had indicated their desire to come and join the afternoon's
      celebration. What if only ten people showed up? Or only five, or even one?
      So the huge pots kept simmering. Chapatis kept rolling. Dedicated members
      kept up the pace.

      By the time the pots and pans, cups and plates, tables and chairs, berries
      and watermelons, and the newly crafted SANSAD banner arrived at the park,
      the Gods of different faiths also relented. The clouds didn't go away, but
      they stopped watering the earth.

      And people kept coming - not only South Asians but also Iranians, black
      Africans, and Caucasians.

      In a significant sense, the ninety-six people at the picnic represented
      the diverse South Asian community living in the Vancouver area. There were
      people from Sri Lanka - both Tamil and Sinhalese speaking. There were
      Nepalis as well as Pakistanis. South Asians who came to Canada from Fiji
      were there; so also those who migrated from Africa or South East Asia.
      Among those from India there were those whose mother tongue is Bengali,
      Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Sindhi and Tamil. It was thus a most
      unprecedented mix of the people of South Asian background. Certainly the
      various South Asian people do come together: to watch an entertainment
      show, a cultural performance or a sports event. But to the July 22 picnic
      they came because they consciously wanted to get together and know each

      Their presence and participation in several activities have proved the
      correctness of the new organization, SANSAD; as a vehicle for strengthening
      the bonds and for sharing each other's concerns.

      The organization is new only in name though. It is a transformed identity
      of NRISAD (Non-Resident Indians for Secularism and Democracy), an
      organization that was formed in 1993 in the wake of the demolition of Babri
      Masjid at the hands of fascist forces who had been trying to turn India of
      a composite civilization into Hindu Rashtra. Over the years NRISAD has
      carried out many educational and cultural activities to uphold the secular
      and democratic values, and to openly oppose the agenda of the fascists
      forces in India. In the course of our work we attracted the participation
      not only of "NRI's" but also of the broader South Asian spectrum:
      Pakistanis, Nepalis, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, Fijians, migrants from East
      Africa, etc. They supported our work, joined as members of NRISAD, and also
      actively contributed to the work of the organization. And as our practice
      in the community deepened, we realized that the name NRISAD was too
      confining both in terms of the affinity of the people we worked with as
      well as the mandate of our work. At the last AGM of NRISAD, it was
      therefore decided by unanimous vote to change the name and broaden the
      mandate of the organization. NRISAD became SANSAD. The acronym "sansad"
      means, in Sanskrit, "People's Assembly".
      The picnic held at the Trout Lake Park on July 22 - despite the dampness
      the skies had created - was a good beginning for SANSAD. Almost everyone
      present at the picnic expressed a wish to make it into an annual feature.
      We hope to do so. But we also hope to carry out a variety of activities in
      order to highlight the shared concerns of South Asians living in the
      province, and to bring the enormously rich diversity in our community on a
      common platform.
      We appeal to the members of the South Asian community to come forward to
      support SANSAD and its activities. Bring to us your concerns. Let us know,
      for example, if you face racially motivated discrimination. Racists do not
      discriminate by the religion we practice, or whether we came from
      Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Fiji, Srilanka, or East Africa. Support
      us if you support the movement for democracy in the land you come from.
      Support us if you oppose religious bigotory, religiously-based hatred and
      violence. Give us your voice and strength if you are repelled by the manner
      in which members of the Christian and Muslim communities in India are
      singled out for murders, arson, rape, and scapegoating. Join us if you are
      concerned with the rights of minorities in the land you come from; or
      elsewhere. And bring to us, and to each other, your music, poetry, dance,
      and the smells and taste of your foods.

      On our part, SANSAD will strive to make sure that what happens in Fiji or
      Sri Lanka should not be a matter of anxiety for only those who have roots
      there; it should concern all of us. At least we should strive to become
      educated about the happenings in those countries and in India, Pakistan,
      Bangladesh, Nepal. We shall strive to take stands when human rights of
      people are violated in any one of these countries. We shall strive to
      campaign for better living and working conditions for the ordinary people
      in those lands. We shall strive to campaign for peace and demilitarization
      in the South Asian sub-continent.

      With the help of the South Asian community here, SANSAD will join hands
      with similar organizations located in other cities of North America and
      Europe, many of which came together recently to form the International
      South Asia Forum (INSAF).

      We may not succeed to make the Rain Gods relent every time we plan a
      picnic; but there are many things we can do when we are together.



      Briefing Note No. 2, 28 July 2000


      I. Dates and Venue for the World Conference and NGO Forum.
      As noted earlier, the WCAR will take place in South Africa from 31 August
      to 7 September 2001. There is still no decision on the city. The NGO Forum is
      likely to be from 29 August-2 September 2001 (dates still to be confirmed).

      II. Organizing Committee for the NGO Forum
      The Organizing Committee for the NGO Forum will be led by the South
      National NGO Coalition, SANGOCO. Contact Mr. Moshe More at the following e-mail
      for further information: moshe@....

      III. Preparatory Process
      The report of the first session of the PrepCom, which took place in Geneva
      >from 1-5 May 2000, is now available as A/CONF.189/PC.1/21 (in English, French,
      Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Chinese). It is available on the website of the
      High Commissioner for Human Rights < http://www.unhchr.ch/html/racism/index.htm
      The second session of the PrepCom will take place in Geneva from 30
      May - 8
      June 2001.
      In addition, there will be an Open-Ended Inter-Sessional Working Group
      Meeting in Geneva, 15-19 January 2001. The Inter-Sessional Working Group will
      have before it a document prepared by the Secretariat of the World Conference
      (i.e., a draft Declaration and Programme of Action).
      There will also be an Informal Meeting, 19-20 October 2000, to plan for
      the Inter-Sessional Working Group and to begin discussion on the sub-themes of
      the five major conference themes.
      NGOs with Consultative Status with ECOSOC or which are accredited to the
      World, Conference, can attend these meetings as observers.

      IV. Regional Preparatory Meetings
      There have been changes in the dates of some of the Regional Preparatory
      meetings since the first Briefing Note was prepared. The Regional Preparatory
      meetings and the associated NGO meetings will now take place as follows.
      Regional Preparatory Meeting for Europe (in Strasbourg, France), organized
      by the Council of Europe, 11-13 October 2000. On 10 October, there will be a
      European NGO Forum. For further information about these meetings, see the
      website of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), <
      Regional Preparatory Meeting for Africa (in Dakar, Senegal), November 2000
      (specific date still to be determined). An African NGO Forum will be held one
      day prior to the meeting. For details about that NGO Forum, contact Mr. Alioune
      Tine at Rencontre africaine pour la défense des droits de l?homme (RADDHO)
      Regional Preparatory Meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean (in
      Santiago, Chile), 4-6 December 2000. No decision has as yet been taken about
      whether Canada and the USA will be invited as participants of this meeting. An
      NGO Forum will be held just prior to this meeting. For details, contact Ms.
      Cristina Zeledon at the Instituto Inter-Americano de Derechos Humanos (IIDH)
      Regional Preparatory Meeting for Asia (in Teheran, Iran). New date! 19-21
      February 2001. An NGO Forum will be held 18 February. For details, contact Ms.
      Nimalka Fernando at the International Movement Against All Forms of
      Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) <imadr@...>.
      Note: NGOs wishing to participate in the preparatory meetings (whether in
      Geneva or in the regions) must either have Consultative Status with ECOSOC
      or be
      accredited to the World Conference. The procedure for getting accreditation to
      the WCAR is noted below.
      There are funds available to assist NGO participation at these Regional
      Preparatory meetings. If your NGO wishes to participate and needs financial
      assistance, it is important to contact the relevant ?organizing? NGO noted
      above, and to submit an application as rapidly as possible.

      V. Regional Expert Seminars

      Two expert seminars have already taken place.

      The first was on ?Remedies Available to Victims of Acts of Racism, Racial
      Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and Good National Practices
      in this Field,? which took place in Geneva, 16-18 February 2000. The second was
      an Expert Seminar for Europe, which took place in Warsaw from 5-7 July 2000 on
      the theme: ?Protection of Minorities and Other Vulnerable Groups and
      Strengthening Human Rights Capacity at the National Level?. Three others are
      scheduled as follows.

      Expert Seminar for Asia (Bangkok), 5-7 September 2000. Theme: ?Migrant
      Workers and Trafficking of Persons, with Particular Reference to Women and
      Children? (Point Person: Gloria Nwabuogu. Email: gnwabuogu.hchr@....
      Tel. 41-22 917-9394.)
      Expert Seminar for Africa (Addis Ababa), 4-6 October 2000. Theme:
      ?Preventing Ethnic and Racial Conflict? (Point Person: Aziz Ndiaye. Email:
      andiaye.hchr@.... Tel. 41-22 917-9826.)
      Expert Seminar for Latin America (Santiago de Chile), 25-27 October 2000.
      Theme: Economic, Social and Legal Measures to Combat Racial
      with Particular Reference to Vulnerable Groups (Point Person: Robert
      Husbands. Email: rhusbands.hchr@.... Tel. 41-22 917-9290.)

      Note: NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status or which are accredited to the WCAR
      may participate in these experts seminars as observers: i.e., they may ask
      questions, make comments, or suggest recommendations. Others who wish to
      participate may do so as a member of the public gallery, but with no rights to
      speak or submit documentation. All NGOs wishing to attend an expert seminar,
      both those which have and those which do not have consultative status or
      accreditation to the World Conference, should write a letter to the member of
      the WCAR Secretariat responsible for the meeting (as noted above), indicating
      the name of the NGO representative(s) who will attend. The point person will
      provide details about time and venue.

      VI. Other Regional NGO Meetings

      The Secretariat of the OHCHR is also planning to support four regional NGO
      meetings intended to feed into the NGO Forum. While the dates and venues have
      not yet been confirmed, the plans at present are for meetings:
      for Africa, in Botswana: contact Ms. Chantal Kisoon at the Centre for
      Human Rights, University of Pretoria <ckisoon@...
      for Asia, in Amman, Jordan: contact Arab Organization for Human
      (AOHR), Mr. Nizam Assaf, <achrs@...> or
      for the Americas, in Quito, Ecuador: contact Ms. Irene Leon at
      Latinoamerican de Informacion (ALAI) at <mujeres@...>
      or contact Mr. Mark Hecht at Human Rights Internet (HRI) at
      for Eastern and Central Europe, in Warsaw: contact, Mr. Marek
      Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, at <jacquel@...>
      Further information will be provided as soon as it is available.

      VII. Decisions of the First Session of the PrepCom regarding the structure of
      the conference

      The First Session of the PrepCom elected Ambassador (Mme) Absa Claude
      Diallo of Senegal as its Chairperson. Ambassador Diallo chaired the
      sessional working group of the 55th Session of the Commission on Human
      Rights (1999) on the preparation of the World Conference.

      Other members of the Bureau are the following: Tunisia, Islamic
      Republic of
      Iran, Malaysia, FYR of Macedonia, Georgia, Brazil, Mexico (Rapporteur),
      France, USA and South Africa as ex-officio.

      In the Rules of Procedures adopted at the First Session of the PrepCom, it
      was decided that the Conference would establish one Main Committee and one
      Drafting Committee, and these Committees may set up their own
      or working groups. NGOs will be permitted to participate in the work of
      both of these Committees (and any subcommittees or working groups they
      establish) on questions within the scope of their activities.

      This means that NGOs will be able to make oral statements as well as to
      submit written statements to the Conference. (See details about written
      statement below.)

      VIII. Slogan and Themes of the Conference

      The First Session of the PrepCom adopted the following World Conference
      ?United to combat racism: Equality, Justice, Dignity?

      It also adopted the following 5 broad themes of the Provisional Agenda.
      (1) Sources, causes, forms and contemporary manifestations of racism,
      racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;
      (2) Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related
      (3) Measures of prevention, education and protection aimed at the
      eradication of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related
      intolerance, at the national, regional and international levels;
      (4) Provision of effective remedies, recourse, redress, [compensatory] and
      other measures at the national, regional and international levels;
      (5) Strategies to achieve full and effective equality, including
      international cooperation and enhancement of the United Nations and other
      international mechanisms in combatting racism, racial discrimination,
      xenbophobia and related intolerance, and follow-up.

      Note that the word ?compensatory? in theme 4 is in square brackets because
      there was no general agreement for including this term.

      IX. Accreditation of NGOs

      1. NGOs which have Consultative Status with ECOSOC may participate in the
      World Conference and its Preparatory processes. As well,
      representatives of
      Indigenous Peoples or Indigenous Organizations which have been accredited
      to participate in the Working Group of the Commission on Human Rights on
      the draft declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, under ECOSOC
      Resolution 1995/32, may participate in the World Conference.
      NGOs/Indigenous Peoples or Indigenous Organizations wishing to accredit
      representatives to any of the meetings are invited to send their request
      (s) (one letter of accreditation per meeting) to the secretariat of the
      Preparatory Committee, for the attention of:

      Ms. Catherine Brémont,
      OHCHR, Room PW 1-051,
      Palais des Nations, 8-14
      Avenue de la Paix,
      CH - 1211 Geneva 10
      Tel: : 00 41 22 917 92 62,
      Fax: 00 41 22 917 90 11,
      e-mail: cbremont.hchr@...

      2. NGOs which do not have Consultative Status can be accredited to the
      World Conference under Resolution 1996/31, and Decision PC 1/5 of the
      Session of the PrepCom as follows:

      (a) An NGO applies to the Conference Secretariat with required
      documentation (see information note for NGOs not having Consultative
      Status, on the website of the OHCHR and/or questionnaire on the web).
      (b) This documentation is reviewed by the Secretariat to ensure that
      it is
      complete and that the NGO meets the criteria for accreditation.
      (c) When 10 applications have been received, the Secretariat sends a note
      verbale to all governments with a list of the NGOs applying and its
      recommendation. Governments have 14 days to raise any concerns they
      (d) Where no concerns have been raised, the Secretariat will forward the
      name of the applying NGOs to the Bureau of the PrepCom for
      (e) If concerns are raised about an NGO, the Secretariat will inform the
      NGO about the government?s comments and give the NGO the opportunity
      to reply. It will then forward the government?s concerns, the NGOs
      comments and its own recommendation to the Bureau for action. The
      Bureau, in consultation with the regions, will decide whether or not
      to accredit the NGO.
      (f) If the Bureau decides not to accredit, the matter will go to the
      Second Session of the PrepCom (in May 2000) for final decision.
      3. Additionally, representative of Indigenous peoples or organizations
      may apply for accreditation under ECOSOC Resolution 1995/32, in which case
      the decision is taken by ECOSOC?s Committee on NGOs, not the Bureau of the

      4. NGOs must be also be accredited to the World Conference if they
      wish to
      participate in the Regional Preparatory Meetings. However, once they have
      been accredited to participate in a regional Preparatory Meeting, they
      automatically be accredited to participate in the World Conference itself
      and any other preparatory meeting.

      5. Since accreditation is a complicated/lengthy process please note and
      respect the following deadlines. To be accredited, a complete application
      must be received by:

      20 August 2000 for, African Preparatory meeting in Dakar
      4 October 2000 for South American/Caribbean Preparatory meeting in
      15 November 2000 for accreditation to Inter-Sessional Working Group
      meeting in Geneva
      19 December 2001 for Asian Preparatory meeting in Teheran
      28 March 2001 for accreditation to Second Session of the PrepCom

      As a precaution, if you want to participate, apply NOW or as early as
      possible. You should send your applications to: Ms. Sandra
      OHCHR, Palais des Nations, Room PW-RS181, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland.
      (41-22) 917-9129. Fax. (41-22) 917-9050. Email: saragon.hchr@...

      X. Written Statements

      If written statements of NGOs are to be circulated at the Inter-sessional
      Working Group meeting or during the Second Session of the PrepCom, they
      must be submitted 10 weeks prior to the respective meeting. It helps
      if the
      statements are submitted electronically, and especially if text can be
      provided in English, French and Spanish. Length is restricted to 1,500
      words, except that NGOs which have ?general? consultative status may
      submitted up to 2,000 words.

      XI. Substantive Contributions to the Declaration and Programme of Action

      As the Secretariat of the WCAR is currently beginning to prepare the draft
      Declaration and Programme of Action for the World Conference, which will
      initially be considered during the Inter-Sessional Working Group Meeting
      (January 15-19, 2000), NGOs in consultative status or those accredited to the
      WCAR are invited to submit contributions (i.e., text and other suggestions).
      Contributions should be post-marked by August 15 to ensure their inclusion and
      should be sent to the Secretariat of the World Conference Against Racism,
      of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rm RS 181 Palais Wilson, 52 rue des
      Paquis, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland.

      XII. Websites

      Website of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for general information
      on the WCR: http://www.unhchr.ch Click on World Conference Against
      at the top of the Home Page.

      NGO Website for the World Conference: http://www.hri.ca/racism
      (with links to many other sites dealing with racism)

      NGO Website with a specific European focus: http://www.icare.to

      XIII. Guide to Participating in World Conference

      The International Human Rights Law Group has produced an excellent
      Guide to
      Participating in the UN World Conference Against Racism, which is
      in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French, in hard copy. It will shortly
      also be available on the web. The Law Group plans to periodically updated
      this manual throughout the preparatory process. For copies, contact Ms.
      Alison N. Stewart, Special Projects Coordinator, IHRLG, 1200 18th St.,
      N.W., Suite 602, Washington, DC 20009, USA. Tel. (1-202) 822-4600; Fax.
      (1-202) 822-4606. Email: HumanRights@....

      XIV. Other Meetings to Note

      A large number of other meetings are taking place as part of the
      preparatory process for the World Conference. To the extent that we receive
      information about these meetings, we will redisseminate that information
      this ListServ.

      South African National Conference on Racism 2000 will be taking place in
      Johannesburg from 30 August to 2 September. For further information, visit the
      website of the South African Human Rights Commission,
      http://www.sahrc.org.za or
      contact Ms. B. Tselapedi, SACHR, Private Bag 2700, Houghton 2041, South Africa.
      Tel. (27-11) 484-8300. Fax. (27-11) 484-7146. sahrcinfo@...

      Minority Rights Group Roundtable on Strengthening the Implementation of
      International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
      Discrimination, 5 August 2000, in Geneva. This 10th annual roundtable of
      the MRG
      will focus on strengthening the implementation of the Convention. For details,
      contact: Mr. Paul Gaskell: Minority Rights Group, 379 Brixton Rd. London SW9
      7DE, UK. Tel: 44-20-7878-9498. Fax: 44-20-7738- 6265. E-mail:

      Conferencia Nacional de Honduras contra el Racismo, 15 August 2000, in
      Hotel Honduras Maya, Tegacigalpa. For further information, contact: Mr. Celeo
      Alvarez Casildo, e-mail: calvarez@...

      XV. For further information on how NGOs can participate in the WCAR, contact:

      Laurie S. Wiseberg
      NGO Liaison for the WCAR
      Room 4-025 Palais Wilson
      Tel. (41-22) 917-9393
      Fax. (41-22) 917-9050
      informal, independent & non-profit citizens wire service
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      since 1996. Dispatch archive from 1998 can be accessed
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      a message to <act-subscribe@egroups.com>
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