Democracy Now! August 31, 2001

Program Title:
Democracy Now! August 31, 2001
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 

The United Nations opens its historic World Conference Against Racism as thousands take to the streets of Durban demanding action from world governments; a Dutch court rejects Milosevics appeal to declare the International War Crimes tribunal against him illegal; and the home of Palestinian leader Abu Leilah is partially destroyed in Ramullah

9:01-9:06 HEADLINES A Dutch court in the Hague has rejected an appeal brought by lawyers supporting former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. The appeal asks that Hollands court declare the International War Crimes Tribunal illegal, and order Milosevic returned to Yugoslavia. GUEST: JEREMY SCAHILL Last night, the home of Abu Leila, head of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Ramullah, was bombed and partially destroyed. He and his family fled the area 15 minutes before the attack. Two days ago on Democracy Now, we spoke to Abu Leila and addressed the question of his safety. GUEST: RAPHAEL KRAFT 9:06-9:07 ONE MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:07-9:25 THE UNITED NATIONS OPENS ITS HISTORIC WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM AS THOUSANDS TAKE TO THE STREETS OF DURBAN DEMANDING ACTION FROM WORLD GOVERNMENTS. More than 6,000 delegates from 130 countries are gathered in Durban South Africa today as the United Nations opened its historic World Conference Against Racism. Attendees at the eight day conference hope to produce a global plan of action to combat racism. South African President Thabo Mbeki in his opening remarks painted a grim picture of a world divided between poor people of color and rich whites. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, who is in charge of the proceedings, said much of the world is still deeply angered at Europe and the United States' lack of recognition of the impact of slavery and the exploitation of colonialism. The United States and European countries have harshly criticized language in the conference agenda referring to the impact of slavery and colonialism and calling for reparations. The US, Canada and Israel have limited their representation to mid-level delegations in response to what they say is "offensive" language towards Israel in the conference's draft declaration, although any equation between Zionism and racism has been dropped. India and China have also been working to keep the issues of India's Dalit - or untouchable class - and repression in Tibet off the agenda. Criticism of Israel, the discussion of reparations for slavery, and the US refusal to send a high level delegation have dominated media coverage in this country. But government officials, activists and non-governmental organization representatives from around the world insist they will press these issues as well as the plight of indigenous people, migrant workers, Europe's Roma people, and environmental racism. Non-governmental organizations have been meeting in Durban all this week to press their national delegations and increase the visibility of grassroots agendas against racism, holding an international Youth Summit, People's Global Action gathering, and an International Landless People's Assembly. As we broadcast, thousands of demonstrators led by Kosatu, the South African trade union movement, are marching towards the conference venue, saying the UN agenda on racism does not go far enough. Today and all next week, Democracy Now! will be breaking the sound barrier and bringing you extended coverage of the UN World Conference Against Racism. We will go from the conference halls to the streets and hear the voices of grassroots activists from around the world working to eradicate racism and discrimination. GUEST: KOFI ANNAN speech at opening of conference TAPE 9:25-9:26 ONE MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:26-9:40 MARCH OUTSIDE UN CONFERENCE TO DEMAND MORE ACTION FROM WORLD GOVERNMENTS ON RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA Thousands of demonstrators led by Kosatu, the South African trade union movement, are marching towards the conference venue, saying the UN agenda on racism does not go far and demanding action on a variety of related issues. We go now to the streets outside the conference center in Durban. GUEST: MERCIA ANDREWS, Head of SANGOCO, the South African NGO congress. She is currently in a stand off with riot police in the march outside the conference hall. GUEST: HASSEN LORGAT, National Media Officer and lead organizer of SADTU (South African Democratic Teachers Union), one of the main organizers of today's rally, and the third largest union in South Africa 9:40-9:41 ONE MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:41-9:58 YOUTH FROM AROUND THE WORLD GATHER TO BUILD A NETWORK OF INTERNATIONAL YOUTH RESISTANCE TO RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA At the first International Youth Summit, over 500 young people from Nairobi to New York, representing over 40 countries, are gathering to build a network of international youth resistance and create a manifesto of demands for action from the official delegates at the UN World Conference Against Racism and Xenophobia. GUEST: ANNIE VALEMGRUN, in Durban representing Global Kids, a NYC-based educational organization supporting urban youth as community leaders and global citizens. She is16 years old and a first generation American of Haitian descent, entering her junior year in H.S. GUEST: DEZROY BOBB, in Durban representing Global Kids, a NYC-based educational organization supporting urban youth as community leaders and global citizens. Dezroy is a resident of the US and a citizen of St. Vincent and will be entering his senior year. GUEST: AISHA HASSAN is a 17 year old entering college, representing Nigeria and from Jazz38 International Center of Hearts for Humanity. GUEST: DANIELLA MCCONNELL is a 13 year old going into 8th grade from Chicago, representing Women's International Leadership Development for Human Rights. GUEST: TEANAN TUIONO, from the indigenous Maori collective pushing for indigenous rights in New Zealand GUEST: DEEPA FERNANDEZ, freelance journalist who has been in Durban for a week covering the preparatory meetings for the UN conference and the activities of grassroots NGOs 9:58-9:59 OUTRO AND CREDITS

Date Recorded on: 
August 31, 2001
Date Broadcast on: 
August 31, 2001
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Kris Abrams, and Brad Simpson. Anthony Sloan, Technical Director. August 31, 2001
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