United Nations World Conference, Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Reparations
WHEREAS, in 2000, a resolution was passed in support of NAACP participation in the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR); and
WHEREAS, the Inter-Agency Task Force, created by the Clinton Administration to oversee and coordinate the United States Government's efforts related to its participation has held a series of closed meetings which have not allowed for public discussion, input or review of the United States Government's preparations for participation in the WCAR, in stark contrast to the open meetings, publicity and widespread government and non-government support in preparing for the UN Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in 1995; and
WHEREAS, during the Clinton Administration, the nature of the United States' participation in the WCAR has been evidenced by the unembellished statement made by Batty King, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, that the "United Nations would never agree to anything that contained the word 'compensation';" and
WHEREAS, the brazen disregard for the past and present suffering, human rights violations of African Americans and the increasingly hostile nature of United States' participation in the WCAR has been further evidenced at the informal government meeting held in Geneva on January 15 and 16, 2001, when Cheryl Sim, the Political Counselor to the U.S. Mission in Geneva, declared that the United States "has no regret, takes no responsibility and will not apologize for slavery;" and
WHEREAS, despite the attempt of United States officials to divert discussions away from racism in America at the WCAR, there is a growing international movement to acknowledge that slavery of people descended from African is a crime against humanity, the effects of which continue to exist under the right wing racist ideology, and the International Movement agrees that there must be concrete demands for reparations for the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the 400 years of bondage and economic exploitation of people of African descent in America; and
WHEREAS, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, among others is generally supportive of such demands and has been quoted in the New York Times as saying language must be found "to condemn in full terms the evil of slavery, returning to the issue of compensation for past practices" and "in fact we need to close off a period and say that this exploitation was in real terms a crime against humanity when it took place and that it has had an effect into this century;" and
WHEREAS, the history and legacy of slavery for displaced Africans in America has been characterized by persistent human rights abuses and violations since the inception of the slave trade and continues to this very day in direct violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and
WHEREAS, despite the glaring and harsh reality of racism that African-Americans deal with on a daily basis such as racial profiling, police brutality and desperate sentencing, the issues of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, its contribution to racism existing today and remedies thereof, have never been fully addressed by the General Assembly of the United Nations; and
WHEREAS, the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance scheduled for Durban, South Africa from August 31 to September 7, 2001, provides a world platform to address these issues and acknowledges that the system of supremacy and privilege of the white race constitutes a fundamental component of structural racism which has been created by the accumulation of wealth and status through a coercive apparatus.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP will take all necessary steps, including all units, members, the Chairman and President/CEO to immediately write President Bush and Secretary of State Powell, asking that they support these issues and that the United States actively participate in this historic World Conference; and to take immediate action to join the growing international movement to affirm the right of the descendants of the victims of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade to just and fair compensatory measures for the suffering and the uncompensated labor of the 400 years they and their ancestors have endured; and
THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP actively participate in demanding that the following three issues be addressed at the United Nations Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa, August 31 to September 7, 2001:
- The declaration of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade as a Crime against Humanity;
- The establishment of "Reparations" for the descendants of the victims of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery; and
- The acknowledgment of the economic roots of racism.