News Release

Racism Conference


The UN conference on racism in Durban, South Africa is scheduled to end on Friday. The following analysts are available for interviews:

Coordinator for the African and African Descendants Caucus, one of the main caucuses of the conference in Durban, Brown said today: “Colonization and slavery should be considered crimes against humanity, and African descendants should have rights of reparations…. We also need to address the economic basis of racism and a colonial history that has led to marginalization and impoverishment.”

Toure is a columnist for The Black World Today, a former anti-apartheid activist and editor of the HYPE Information Service, which distributes news of black interest to media outlets. He said today: “The anti-racism struggle is going to continue no matter what comes out of Durban. The idea that the U.S. pulling out makes the conference a failure is itself a racist notion.”
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Abrams is a producer for the radio program “Democracy Now!”, which has been providing extensive coverage of the conference. She is in Durban.
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Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, Boyle said today: “The U.S. and Europe should not be allowed to use the Mideast to avoid seriously addressing the legacy of colonialism and slavery. Africans and their descendants are rightfully owed reparations. Rather than distracting from each other, it’s important to see that Israeli practices are a continuation of colonialism — settler colonialism — and have a great deal in common with the European imperialism in the last half-millennium which we should at long last account for.”

Co-director of the Global Justice Center based in Brazil, Cavallaro is in South Africa until Sept. 9. He said: “There are many, many important issues other than the one the U.S. government is using as the basis of its withdrawal — or downgrading its status — from the conference. The U.S. doesn’t want to discuss slavery, Jim Crow laws and colonialism, and it seems to have taken the issue of the Mideast as a pretext to pull out. A major issue is how the legacies of racism are related to current inequities between different racial and ethnic groups around the world. There is a large block of countries questioning the nature of the relationship between the wealthy and the poor countries — of how neo-liberal corporate globalization and racism are related. The economic gap under the neo-liberal model has increased along racial lines.”
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George is director of the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center. (Much of the center’s membership lives in the congressional district of Rep. Tom Lantos.) George said today: “Once Lantos was put in charge of the U.S. delegation, it was inevitable that it would withdraw. He sponsored a resolution in the House not to send Powell to the conference…. Lantos is Israel’s point person in Congress.”
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