On Sept. 22, 2011 at the United Nations in New York, there is to be a celebration and reaffirmation of the World Conference Against Racism Programme of Action (WCAR). That will be the 10-year anniversary of the conference and the recommendations for direct action in and by the nations of the world.

Succinctly, the WCAR concluded that, ‘slavery and the slave trade were crimes against humanity, and always should have been seen as such.’ Additionally, regarding the sources, causes, forms and contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance the nation-states of the world were strongly urged to, among other things, ‘take all necessary and appropriate measures to end enslavement and contemporary forms of slavery-like practices, to initiate constructive dialogue among states and implement measures with a view to correcting the problems and the damage resulting therefrom.’

And for the victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, countries were urged, among other actions, ‘to strengthen national mechanisms to promote and protect the human rights of victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance who are infected, or presumably infected, with pandemic diseases such as HIV/AIDS and to take concrete measures–including preventive action, appropriate access to medication and treatment, programs of education, training and mass media dissemination–to eliminate violence, stigmatization, discrimination, unemployment and other negative consequences arising from these pandemics.’

In order to translate the objectives of the WCAR Declaration into a practical and workable Programme of Action which can be implemented, monitored and measured, the U.N. General Assembly agreed on a 62-page document containing more than 122 introductory affirmations, recognitions and reiterations, and recommendations for more than 219 specific actions. Clearly, there are already enough stipulations, resolutions, and proper language in which to get lost.

What is needed now are strategies of implementation, so that substantial progress can be realized by the conference in 2011. A significant portion of the African and African Descendants Caucus (AADC), which grew out of the WCAR, has created an evaluative instrument which they hope to get approved this September by the U.N. Group of Experts and the Human Rights Council.

Called the Survey of Current Compliance, the instrument will provide the credibility and inspiration for civil society organizations and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the various countries to investigate, research and compile the necessary data to demonstrate whether their home countries and territories have actually made any progress during these 10 years, or has it mostly been hot air and hot lead aimed at citizens. That data can then be given to the four-year Human Rights Evaluation teams that already visit countries in some central city or region, or that report can be mailed into the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR).

Further, the AADC is requesting that the OHCHR compile, edit and publish a booklet of the most egregious current examples of racism, intolerance and xenophobia in world countries, based on the survey results and other collected information, and the most inspiring examples of eradication of racism, intolerance and xenophobia. Whether Swarte Piete (a Black elf accompanying Santa Claus) is just a problem in the Netherlands or interlinked to similar racist situations in other parts of Europe and the world can then be understood by comparing all of the data in one place.

To move forward in the battle against Intolerance, the AADC advocates that we must identify the area of our focus and then move forward to expose it, eliminate it, or otherwise fundamentally change it. Waiting patiently for governments to move on their own is not a viable strategy in the 21st century, as recent events in Syria and other places have shown.

Anyone inspired by this grass roots activity is more than welcome to join the cause. The change we need will occur in human activity when activists force changes in mutually respectful human engagement.

Survey of current compliance with the WCAR Programme of Action

1. Since 2001, has any new legislation been passed in your area that aims at reducing or eliminating racism, sexism, racial and ethnic discrimination, xenophobia or other forms of intolerance in compliance with the WCAR recommendations?

2. If yes, what is the name and primary objective of that legislation? Where can it be found (Is there digital access to it)?

3. Since 2001, have any new initiatives or projects from your government been implemented to reduce or eliminate racism, sexism, racial and ethnic discrimination, xenophobia or other forms of intolerance?

4. If yes, what is the name (or what are the names) of such initiatives and can you briefly describe it or them? (Please use a separate sheet, if necessary.)

5. Since 2001, have any new initiatives or projects from community-based organizations or civil society groups in your area been attempted?

6. If yes, what is the name (or what are the names) of such projects? Can you briefly describe it or them? (Please use a separate sheet for the description, if necessary.)

7. Since 2001, has there been any positive change in reducing or eliminating racism, sexism, racial and ethnic discrimination, xenophobia or other incidences of intolerance in your area?

8. Since 2001, have there been any noticeable changes in the educational curricula in your area aimed at teaching youth to become more aware of racism, sexism, racial and ethnic discrimination and other forms of intolerance?

9. If yes, can you describe that educational curricula including the grade level at which it is being taught or utilized? (Use a separate sheet to describe it, if necessary.)

10. Your information is about what geographical area? Are you currently residing there?

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). It is the step-parent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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