The WCAR Reparations Commission

The issue of draft language for reparations for the historical wrongs caused by racism, racial discrimination and the slave trade was explored at length in the Reparations Commission of the NGO Forum.

A hot topic of discussion was the United States refusal to participate fully in the WCAR process, and how such a decision could affect the issue of reparations for all nations. U.S. NGOs stressed that although the U.S. government did not appear to want to address the issue of reparations, the U.S. NGO community was resolute in maintaining their fight for full reparations for African-Americans for the harms suffered through slavery and the slave trade.

Members of African, South American and European NGOs also expressed their frustration with the actions of the U.S. government and pledged to vigorously pursue the reparations issue, regardless of U.S. participation. Recognition of specific African- related reparations such as the need for governments to recognize the rights of coloured peoples as indigenous citizens and the elimination of discriminatory laws towards such Africans of mixed racial heritage was also discussed.

The Commission noted that reparations was not just an African and African Descendents issue, but was was an “issue for all humanity”. The panel stressed that “history never ends, but determines the future,” and emphasized the need for both interstate and intrastate reparations for repairing the harms caused by racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and reated intolerance.

NGO concerns ranged from the means of enforcing judgments for reparations, to the development of concrete plans of action for tangible results when pusuing reparations litigation. TheNGOs discussed the need for a framework for developing programs of reparations and agreed that the creation of strong and precise language was key to producing an NGO Declaration and Plan of Action that effectively addressed the reparations issue.

Legal Measures, Policies and Practices Commission

The Legal Measures, Policies and Practices Commission met to discuss the legislative and legal actions that States will need in order to follow-up on the Plan of Action and Declaration that will be adopted by the NGO Forum. The creation of the commission was suggested by the European Caucus of NGOs as a means of focusing on the measures that need to be addressed and implemented to have successful State compliance with National and International Action plans.

The panel comprised of representatives from India, Sri Lanka, and Norway, explained that the adoption of National Action Plans with language addressing legal measures, policies and practices was necessary to ensure compliance and enforcement by States of the policies and actions recommended by the NGO community.

The recommendations were drafted to address the Programme of Action on both international and national levels. Timely compliance with reporting obligations, the provision of a budget and mandate for the UN High Commissioner for the evaluation of National Action Plans, and the involvement of NGOs and national institutions in policy decisions and follow-up were suggested for insertion into the Program of Action.

In addition, improving the effectiveness of criminal law and mainstreaming the issue of combating racism in national policies and practices and all aspects of life were also suggested. Language was also recommended for denouncing globalisation and for addressing the specific discrimination suffered by groups such as the Dalits, African and African Descendents and the Roma.

Education, Information, Communication and Media Commission

This Commission discussed the role that education plays in the fight against racism and discrimination. Issues under the spotlight were media ownership; access; inter-cultural education; education for human values and human rights education.

Specific points were that media institutions were gender-biased and racially imbalanced – for example 90% of the administrative staff were women and men comprised 90% of the technical staff.

On the issue of assignment of stories – women are delegated mainly to soft or social issues and men are assigned to “harder” issues, such as political events. These issues contribute to gender-insensitive content being published.

Impact of Globalisation

Media channels are controlled by a small group of individuals, mainly from the North – the views expressed and the way information is disseminated thus serves the interests of this elite group.

Human Rights Education (HRE): Methodology and Strategy

On the point of Human Rights Education, it was recognized that there was an acknowledgement of the area but no implementation thus far. Kazunari Fujii, a human rights lawyer, proposed the following points to implement the Human Rights Education:

  • HRE is a life-long process for both children and adult and can contribute to human dignity.
  • HRE should be integrated to school system and extra-curricula activities.
  • HRE must reach out to family units and communities
  • It should be part of the University education
  • Professionals need training on HRE. Business and media owners should be taught HRE.
  • There must be public awareness campaigns. The media has potential to make this a success, but this must be explored.
  • Finally, such plans should be implemented at national levels and care must be taken that they are sustainable and effective.
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Drugs have No Racial Preference

Racism is a nasty tradition that has permeated cultures and nations across the globe for centuries. Over the past century, tremendous progress has been made in the fight against racism and discrimination against people with different skin colour and ethnicity. Substance abuse and the assortment of addictive drugs available to youngsters in this day and age however, do not discriminate. Today children are exposed to drugs from many sources. The media is full of images of alcohol, cigarettes and images where these kinds of things are natural or even cool. Drugs can be found in schools and not only the high schools but the primary schools where the younger kids are even more vulnerable.

So how do you talk to your child about drugs?

Start as early as pre-school to help build strong communication and develop dialogue with your child. There is research that shows if a child is educated by their parents about drugs and alcohol; they are less likely to use it themselves.  The more information a child has on the subject the more prepared they will be if presented with a situation where drugs are involved. The rehabs in Cape Town are filled with young people of all races that have problems with substance abuse.

Help the child understand how drugs affect the body and mind. Show them the link between using drugs and how this can produce violence and crime.  Seeing that there are real consequences will help to make it more real for them. You are also a role model for your kids and being well informed and having your own view on drugs will definitely have a tremendous influence on your child.

racism and drugs

How to talk about drugs,

To your pre-schooler:

  • Use ‘teachable moments’ for instance, if there is a tobacco advert on the television talk about smoking and how it can affect the body.
  • When talking to a child use easy to understand terms and words.
  • Re-inforce the ability to make decisions, things like choosing what to wear will help the child be able to make their own choices in future.
  • Encourage your child and be an example of healthy living
  • Be calm and approachable and establish yourself as somebody who will answer a question no matter how difficult. Later when there are more serious questions, you will be easier to approach and the child will feel safe asking any question.
  • Teach your child about dangerous substances in the house like bleach. Help them to understand that is important to only eat or drink food that that is safe and to only take food from somebody they know well.


Ages 8 to 12 years:

  • As they get older try to ask them their opinions on drugs, being non-judgemental will help your child to give honest answers.
  • A child has more understanding and reasoning at this age so you can discuss the rules and consequences about using drugs.
  • Help with self-esteem by praising your child for his/her efforts at school and home. A child can be insecure and vulnerable at any age, and this could increase the chances of peer pressure.
  • Discuss how they can say no by offering scenarios and allowing the child to give their own response. Praise them for good answers or provide them with an alternative answer that is easy to remember.
  • Encourage your child to participate in healthy activities like sports or hobbies, this will help to get rid of boredom and keep their minds and bodies busy.

Teenage years:

  • Make sure you plan a talk when it comes to anything important, if they can set the time for a discussion themselves they will be more engaged in the conversation.
  • Several Cape Town rehabs offer talks and workshops to educate kids before problems arise.
  • Try to avoid accusations, but ensure they know the rules and consequences of breaking any.
  • Since at this age many teenagers would have already been exposed to drinking or drugs it is important to talk to your kids.
  • Let them speak and listen to them. Allow them to talk about their feelings. Keep an open dialogue.
  • Seek professional help if you find that there is actually a problem.

No family is immune to exposure to alcohol or drug abuse issues, but there are ways that can help them resist any temptation that comes their way.  Make sure you nurture their self-confidence, provide a safe-environment for them and just be involved in your child’s lives.

Try to stay connected as a family and do things that are fun together. The most important thing to do is, keep an open communication with yourself and your child throughout their lives.

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Forum Exhibition

The exhibition is held at the same venue as the NGO Forum plenary sessions and workshops, ensuring excellent exposure throughout the duration of activities.

NGO’s, CBO’s, NPO’s world wide
Funding agencies
Academic institutions
International agencies
Government departments

The World Conference Against Racism NGO Forum exhibition will be the prime showcase for organisations involved in eradicating racism all over the world. It will be attended by an estimated 15 000-20 000 international NGO Forum and Conference delegates, ranging from high ranking government, private sector and civil decision makers, innovators and activists. It is therefore the ideal event platform to communicate to the world the important work you are doing in your region.

This is a personal invitation to participate in this important exhibition, and to benefit from the exposure and interaction it offers those who will be present.

These are the tangible benefits of exhibiting at the World Conference Against Racism NGO Forum…

The exhibition forms an integral part of the NGO Forum deliberations. Use this opportunity to create awareness about your services and projects, and explore synergies with like-minded organisations and individuals for mutual benefit.
Create eye-catching displays that attract people who matter – share your success and effectiveness by creating a greater understanding and knowledge of your projects.
Since there will be a range of stand alternatives, ranging from large shell scheme stands to a space with only table and chairs, the exhibition will be affordable to all organisations. Organisations who do not have the resources for an exhibition stand can utilise a display panel for posters and other material.

The Panel on Self-Determination opened with remarks from Professor Angela Davis who explained that racism couldn’t truly be defined, but that it exists in the economic, cultural and historical aspects of our daily lives.

Davis noted that indigenous peoples suffer discrimination not only because of their race, but also through the denial of their land, language and other fundamental rights. She also addressed the need for activists and scholars to give priority the growing number of prisoners globally who are subjected to discriminatory punishment. Davis also remarked on the necessity for affirmative action by states and in civil society to right the wrongs of racism.

The right to self-determination for the Hawaiian peoples of the Untied States was also discussed, as well as the need to include the Hawaiian language in education.

Winnie Mandela also addressed the Commission. She expressed the need for people not to depend on the right to self-determination to achieve their freedom, and urged the NGOs to look into themselves to determine their own well being.

Mr Parshuram Tamang, representative of Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) from Nepal raised the issue of the Ex-Gurkha Soldiers, the indigenous people of Nepal, who are being discriminated by British Government. Mr. Tamang noted that the Gurkhas are an indigenous people from Nepal who have been have achieved fame by fighting across the world for the British Government for over 200 years and who in return are discriminated by the British Government in terms of pay pension and other retirement benefits.

The panelist highlighted the relevant treaties, and the social, economic and political implications of the discrimination faced by the Gurkhas.

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