Africa and Diaspora
The following are reproduced from “NUBIART - A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON THE AFRIKAN WORLD” - Sound Radio 1503AM. Web: www.soundradio.info.
On midweek Nubiart we looked at two recent summits feeding into the discussion about the way forward for pan-Afrikanism and the role of the African Union. One summit was in Jamaica and the other was held in two parts of Afrika. The second report-back is particularly important as it relates to a ‘World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance’ attended by delegates from all over the world which concluded on 8 September 2001, three days before the World Trade Centres were destroyed. The biggest stumbling block at the original conference were a minority cabal consisting of Britain, America, Israel and a few other fellow travellers who refused to accept that the Afrikan Holocaust (MA’AFA) was the biggest crime in human history for which those responsible and the beneficiaries should make just reparations for the damage their actions caused and the ongoing related exploitation.
Addressing these issues, along with the United Nations 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), were to be the main focus for the first two decades of the 21st Century. After 11 Sep 2001 all this was put on the backburner and the US-invented never ending ‘War on Terror’ / ‘War on Civilians’ became the prism through which major international relations were viewed. The US / UK / Israeli / inter-Islamic dispute with Al-Qaida is not the most important political, economic, environmental, health, technological, cultural or social problem facing Afrikans - both on the continent and in the diaspora - but the Afrikan agenda has again been pushed to the backburner in the same way it was when Afrikans had to decide in the 1950s-80s if they were European capitalist or Soviet communist and not allowed to pursue their own Afrikan identity or economic and political agenda. Below are the report-backs:
~ Jamaica Pre-Summit Calls For An Afrikan Diaspora Union - from Minister P.D. Mene-lik Harris, May 8, 2007. To attend or support the Pan African Movement Summit at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica from July 11-18, 2007, Tel: 718-523-3312 / 404-527-7756. Web: www.rhawpam.org/ or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The United States is the most dangerous imperialist power, ever in human history" declared Elombe Brath during his opening address at the Pan African Movement Pre-Summit in Washington, D.C. He warned that a U.S. military command in Africa is accelerating global imperialist wars in a 'new scramble for Africa's resources to compete against the interests of Asians, the Arabs and Europeans in Africa. Elombe continued "We must build a strong Diaspora because Africa needs us…We are Africa's foreign policy experts and permanent observers in America for the last 500 hundred years." Our greatest challenge he concluded is "to overcome the trauma of Africa Imperialist Dependency Syndrome (AIDS)."
“The May 5, 2007 meeting at Howard University consisted of representatives from various Pan African organizations and communities to support the launching of an Afrikan Diaspora Union (ADU) as an historic and sacred mission to re-integrate former enslaved Africans as part of a continental union of Africans. Speakers, leaders and students represented organizations such as the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), the Rastafari Movements, Republic of New Africa (RNA), All African Peoples Revolutionary Party (AAPRP), NCOBRA and ASCAC.
“Addressing the issues relating to the direction and potential of the African Diaspora becoming a source of power for Africa and Africans, Dr. Leonard Jeffries described the vision for the Pre-Summit as embracing Africans across the Diaspora in an economic, cultural and political union with Africa. "The billions of dollars in North America when matched with the political successes of Africans in the Caribbean and African cultural integrity of those in countries like Brazil, will become a formidable force for African people in the world" stressed Dr. Leonard Jeffries.
“The Pre-Summit was also focused on crafting an agenda in preparation for the Pan African Movement (PAM) Summit in Kingston, Jamaica from July 11-18, 2007. July 2007 will mark the 107th anniversary of the formal launching of the Pan African Movement by Africans from across the African world. The Pan African Movement was formally launched in 1900 by African leaders such as Sylvester Williams, Trinidad; WEB Dubois, U.S.A; Benito Sylvain, Haiti; Henry Cargill, Jamaica; Majola Agbebi, Nigeria; Tengo Jabavu, South Africa and Bishop McNeil Turner, USA.
“In an article promoting participation in the Pan African Conference in 1900, Booker T. Washington stated "I beg to advise as many of our people as possible to do so (attend)." The Pan African Conference of 1900 was followed by other African congresses and the establishment of major organizations such as the UNIA/African Communities League (ACL) under Marcus Garvey, and the All African Peoples Conferences (AAPC) under Kwame Nkrumah. Both the UNIA and AAPC were models to establish the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in May 1963, under the influence of Emperor Haile Selassie. The OAU became the African Union (AU) in 2001 and is seen as the most important Pan African organization to unify African people in the world. The PAM Summit in Jamaica is a continuation of the Pan African Movement, now concentrating on unifying the Diaspora as part of the 21st century vision for an African system of government, based in Africa.
“Additionally, the Pre-Summit recommended actions supporting: (1) African Liberation Month in May 2007 to be a month of decisive actions across the Diaspora and Africa to promote African people's interests, especially African issues affecting Sudan, Zimbabwe, New Orleans, Haiti and Columbia; (2) developing a Marshall Plan for Africans consisting of investments opportunities, trade, African development projects and reparations; and (3) most importantly building an African Diaspora Union (ASU) as part of the African Union 6th Region, and as proclaimed and promoted by great Pan Africanists like Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah and John H. Clarke.
“So far, participants for the Pan Afrikan Movement Summit in Jamaica are confirmed from Central America, Europe, South America and North America. Some of the key conveners and participants will be Esteemed Elder Statesman Ambassador Dudley Thompson, 1945 Pan African Congress participant and former attorney for President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya; Elombe Brath, Veteran Pan African Activist; Nana Yaa Farika, Diaspora Delegate to the 6th Pan African Congress; Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Vice President of ASCAC; Elder Mama Sybil W. Clarke, Wife of Late Dr. John H. Clarke; Prof. James Small, CEO of the OAAU; Dr. Tony Martin, Scholar Activist; Haile Gerima, Film Producer; Dr. Adelaide Sanford, former Vice Chancellor NY State; and Willie Mukasa Ricks, former SNCC & AAPRP leader.
“The theme of the Summit in Jamaica is Political Determination – for Cultural and Economic Rebirth. The Summit will consist of keynote addresses from leaders of Africa and the African Diaspora; strategy sessions with veterans of the Pan African movement; major workshops on politics, economics and cultural empowerment; Pilgrimages to the Maroons' sacred spaces, Queen Mother Nanny, Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley. Also, there will be excursions to enjoy the beauty of Jamaica's African people, its sun and our African way of life.”
~ The second summit was the Panafstrag Roundtable, May ‘07 – Pan-African Global Roundtable on Durban Plus 5 in Addis Ababa (19-22 April, 2007) and Accra, (10-11 May, 2007). The Durban Plus 5 conference should have been held by 2006 in the way that similar UN Conferences have five-yearly follow-ups to check progress and address issues arising but it will not be held until 2009 due to the diversion and waste of resources and lives occurring from the illegal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
- We, participants in the Pan African Global Roundtables in Addis Ababa and Accra, that discussed the "Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance" held in Durban in 2001, after days of deliberations agreed as understated.
BACKGROUND AND OBSERVATIONS
(1) In her foreword to the Declaration and Programme of Action by the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held from 31 August to 8 September 2001 in Durban, South Africa, Mrs. Mary Robinson, the former High Commissioner of the United Nations Commission for Human Rights now the UN Human Rights Council, wrote that the Declaration with the programme of Action is a roadmap that indicates the steps to be taken to put an end to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and to prevent future occurrence. She went on to say that if pursued with energy and goodwill by all state-actors, the UN National institutions, inter-governmental organisations and non-governmental organisations this anti-discrimination agenda can bring hope and changes to the lives of millions of human beings in the world who are victims of racial discrimination and intolerance.
(2) Since 2001, there appears to be shortage of energy and scarcity of goodwill on the part of the actors especially the states, the intergovernmental organisations and national institutions.
(3) Before 2001, Africans and Peoples of African Diaspora have through a Reparation Conference in 1990 in Lagos, followed the then OAU Reparations Conference in 1993 held in Abuja-Nigeria, agreed on the Abuja Declaration which caused the OAU to establish an OAU Commission on Reparations. The Commission was short lived.
(4) With the transformation of OAU into African Union (AU), a window of opportunity was reopened when AU created six regions with 5 in continental Africa while the 6th Region brings together the Diaspora global Africans. This long awaited initiative has created a sense of cultural pride and homeland sentiments among the global Africans.
(5) 0ne of the priority areas for the strengthening this renewed close relationship between the AU and the Diaspora is Reparations and double citizenship. The result is the visit of Professor Ali Mazrui, a key member of the Commission, to the AU Commission Chairman in Addis Ababa in April 2006.
(6) In addition to the above, many Africans within the continent and the Diaspora left Durban in 2001 with a sense of loss in that some issues of direct concern and directly related to their own historic and contemporary experiences were subsumed under wider global crises and politics.
(7) Many were waiting for the usual United Nations Review Conference which is normally done after the first 5-years to air these issues. As at now, it has been confirmed that the Review Conference will take place on or before 2009. The preparatory committee meetings have started with the first taking place in Geneva in January, 2007.
(8) In preparation for the above, the Global African Civil Society Organisations have decided to take the initiative and organise a PANAFRICAN GLOBAL ROUNDTABLE in ADDIS ABABA and ACCRA respectively on the dates mentioned above. The meetings provided mark analyses that appraised our collective concerns in health, human rights and governance, education, technology, economic development and other issues.
(9) It must be remembered that Durban provided a platform for discussing and agreeing with the rest of the world on key issues of importance to global Africans from Africa, Europe, Asia, Oceania, North, Central, and South America. It is the first time, the citizens of the world through their voices in Durban collectively accepted that slave trade, slavery and the various atrocities committed during that period were "crimes against humanity".
a) The report of the Roundtables on Global Africa agenda on Durban Declaration and Programme of Action are sent to the Forum of NGOs of the 41st session of ACHPA
b) Submission by the Forum to the African Commission for Human and Peoples Rights, then to the Council of Ministers and the Summit.
c) Submission of the Report to the OHCHRC Prep Comms. for Review of the WCAR and Programme of Action on or before 2009.
Having said the above and 5 years after, history now begs some questions of us i.e., have governments concerned shown any signs of commitment since Durban to:
a) Eradicate institutional racism, discrimination and xenophobia.
b) Compensate the Global African for slavery and colonialism period.
c) The total abolition of any form of slavery and neo-colonialism
d) To strengthen the Africa Union-Diaspora synergy and initiative for implementing the programme of Action of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discriminations, Xenophobia and related Intolerances
e) To reactivate and transform the OAU Commission on Reparation into AU Commission in order to follow-up on the 1993 Abuja Declaration on Reparation and Repatriation
The objectives of the Roundtable are:
a) Review issues related to the 2001 Durban WCAR Programme of Action and the slow pace of activation of the Programme of Action.
b) Agree on a Global African Declaration and Action Plan after appraising the follow-up strategies, actions and activities employed by Global African CSOs since 2001.
c) Create a common platform for renewed bonding between Global Africans to reaffirm their commitment to ensure the implementation of the key areas of Programme of Action through the Global African Action Plan.
d) Strengthen the collaboration between the Global African CSOs, the AU-ECOSOCC, ACPHR and the UN Human Rights Council.
e) Re-energise the Global African Movement for Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Reparations for all forms of slavery by past and present actors from the West and Arab land, and for colonialism.
f) Sensitise all Africans to the dangers of xenophobia and related intolerances to free movement of persons in Africa.
g) Strengthen the African Union-Diaspora initiative for implementing the Programme of Action of the UN Convention on Racism and other issues.
h) Reactivate and transform the OAU Commission on Reparation into AU Commission in order to follow-up on the 1993 Abuja Declaration on Reparations.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE ROUNDTABLE
WCAR / Programme of Action
1) That Global Africans should work towards focusing the deliberations of the Review Conference of the "Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances" on discriminations suffered by and perpetuated against people of Africa decent, indigenous peoples and minorities.
2) Global Africans need to urgently organise preparatory meetings in different African regions to properly articulate African positions that will produce a global African position before the review conference in 2009.
3) We have to work toward converting the Declaration and Programme of Action of the Durban conference into a legally binding convention within the nearest possible time.
4) We urge all African governments to urgently establish national research committees on racism, racial discriminations, xenophobia and related intolerance as provided in the Declaration and Programme of Action. The national committees would work towards providing afrocentric solutions to the problems based on studies and consultations.
Slavery (Kidnapping), Colonialism, Reparation and Repatriation
1) We enjoin African countries to issue citizenship to any person of African descent that expresses interest in acquiring such citizenship with minimal restriction.
2) The black slavery in Arab lands must end before we embark on the "United States of Africa" project.
3) We urge Blacks in Africa to explore the chances of opening dialogue with blacks in Diaspora in Arab world
4) We denounce and demand the repudiation of the WTO’s “compassionate slavery" doctrine and resist the implementation of this doctrine in any way.
5) We restate that all black peoples in Africa are indigenous peoples
Xenophobia and Free Movement of People
1) We urge the African Union to adopt the "ECOWAS model of free movement of people and goods" within the continent, to reduce the negative impact of existing artificial boundaries in Africa.
2) We urge African governments and other stakeholders to encourage the development and use of community orientated education programmes that could be disseminated through faith based organisations and the media, to continuously educate Africans on their common history, struggle and aspirations.
3) Africa needs to establish structures that would encourage direct Africa direct investment in Africa and cross-border investments to promote cross-border economic transactions and cooperation.
4) We need a Global African mechanism for proper coordination of various global African movements against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances.