Nord Sud XXI is an NGO in special consultative status with the UN that was formed by senior statesman and women. The current President is Mr. Ahmed Ben Bella, the founding President of a free Algeria.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Oral Statement to the African Commission: Human Rights

Oral Statement by Nord Sud XXI to the 45th Ordinary Session
of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
13 to 27 May 2009, Banjul, Gambia
Item 4: The Human Rights Situation in Africa

Nord Sud XXI, in appreciation of the significant influence that the African Commission's efforts to
ensure human rights in Africa have all over the world, welcomes the opportunity to address the
Our representations specifically concern issues of human rights in Africa that have been dealt with in
the United Nations in particular.
In this regards, we take this opportunity to draw the Commission's attention to the Durban Review
Conference that was recently held in Geneva, Switzerland, under the auspices of the United Nations.
This Review Conference was intended to to deal with issues of racial and other similar forms of
discrimination—a human rights concern in Africa and as concerns Africans abroad. Unfortunately, the
Review Conference itself was an illustration of how Africans are often treated in a discriminatory
manner in Northern-based institutions. This occurred, as several African-based NGOs pointed out,
through the marginalization of the participation and contribution of African NGOs and members of
civil society as well as through the manner by which some states ignored the substantive concerns of
African states.
As a result the Review Conference took place with much less participation from African NGOs than
had the 2001 Durban Conference. In part this was due to the fact that the bodies that are based in
Geneva and tasked with organizing this event specifically refused to support a NGO Forum, which in
Durban has been so instrumental in ensuring attention for the important issues of slavery and other
forms of exploitation. And led by the Western European and Others Group of states—a few of whose
members did not even attend the Review Conference—the Review Conference adopted a text that had
not been transparently negotiated, in which African concerns had been largely ignored, and before a
single NGO had even had a chance to comment on it.
African states, despite accepting the text by consensus, expressed significant concern as to how their
interests had been pushed aside through a process that lacked transparency and which was
characterized more by bullying then by cooperation. One African diplomat speaking on condition of
anonymity called the result an “insult to African values.”
In light of these events and in light of the importance of the issue of non-discrimination to Africa, Nord
Sud XXI calls upon the African Commission to express in a public statement, as the President of the
United Nations General Assembly has done, its regret at the fact that the Durban Review Conference
did not address important concerns that were of essential importance to Africa and its hope that a more
valuable Review Conference will be organized as soon as possible to move the international agenda for
combating racial and other similar forms of discrimination forward in a meaningful way with due
respect for the important voices of Africans in this process.

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