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EU Apologized for Slavery

Posted September. 10, 2001 08:50,   


The U.N. conference against racism, which defined the slavery system as a crime against humanity, closed at Durban, South Africa on Saturday with a final declaration on a global plan to fight discrimination, containing the recognition of the self-determination and the right to establish the independent nation of the Palestine people.

In the midst the delegates from Israel and the United States withdrew in opposition to the Middle East counties attempt to define Israel as a racist country, this conference adopted a final accord as a result of a desperate overnight negotiations passing over a scheduled closed date

▼ Issues

The participants had a serious debate over the apology and reparation of the developed countries on the slavery, and the issue to define Israel as a racist county in this conference which opened on 31st last month.

The slavery issue, had been raised between the EU and African countries, reached an agreement, as the EU countries apologized for the slavery, defining it as `a tragedy in human history` and `a crime against humanity`, and instead African countries decided not to demand the reparation.

On the other hand, the Middle East issue went through much hardship since the Middle East countries maintained to specify in the final declaration that Israel is a racist country. But the conference delegates finally avoided complete failure by approving the neutral plan to acknowledge the self-determination and the establishment of independent country, which was suggested by the EU and South Africa.

▼ Implications

The greatest fruit is that the UN stipulated as an international criminal behavior the slavery system, which had been committed for 500 years from 15th century to the World War I.

The final declaration specified the moral obligation of the developed countries on the thousands of millions of Asian and African victims, and stressed the necessity for establishing the social and economic program to support the victimized countries

Urging the international society to condemn the racism, criticizing Zionism (Jewish Nationalism) and acknowledging the self-determination right of the Palestinian people are expected to contribute to solve the bloody conflict in Mideast and the racial discrimination, a remnant of the slavery.

▼ Responses

``The final declaration which was adopted in this conference is meant to be a symbol of hope for the peoples who have suffered from the racial discrimination.``said U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in a statement.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Mary Robinson said, ``The true measure of our work will be whether it makes a real difference in the lives of the victims of racism and racial discrimination.``

``We`re disappointed that the conference was politicized, but we appreciate the final declaration itself.``said Susan Pittman state department spokesman.

Welcoming the adoption of the final declaration, the EU countries including England and France stressed that ``every possible effort should be made to realize the declaration in the future.``

Paik Hyung-Hak stern100@donga.com