Friday, April 17, 2009

Joint Statement from Cdn civil Society to Prep Com

On the final day of the UN Prep Com meeting, our delegation joined with other civil society groups to make a joint statement to the Prep Com mtg.

Below is the statement that was delivered by Terry Downey OFL Vice President and member of the CLC delegation.


Durban Review Conference Preparatory Committee
Third Substantive Session
April 17, 2009, Geneva

The following Canadian civil society groups have come together to make the following statement to the preparatory committee of the Durban Review Conference.

Canadian Labour Congress
African Canadian Legal Clinic
Canadian Arab Federation
Metro Toronto Chinese and South East Asian Clinic
Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
National Anti-Racism Council of Canada
Colour of Poverty network
Karuna Community Services
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (Canada)

As civil society we are here to affirm our commitment to this Conference. Despite our multicultural makeup, we in Canada continue to face many and serious challenges with racism in all spheres of society. Racism is a harsh everyday reality for Aboriginal and racialized communities who suffer disproportionate levels of poverty, access to decent employment, and social services such as education, housing and healthcare.

Aboriginal peoples continue to struggle against extreme poverty, social exclusion and violation of their human, environmental and land rights. African-Canadians struggle against colour coded economic disparity, criminalization and racial profiling.Arabs and Muslims continue to face hate crimes, racial and religious targeting by overzealous security legislation. Arab Canadians such as Mahar Arar, Abousfian Abdelrazik, have been marooned in their birth countries by our government. They have been subjected to torture and horrific human rights violations because of flawed anti-terrorism measures and wilful political negligence.

Other struggles include the long standing need for full recognition of the rights of migrant workers and their families; and for equal recognition of those with international credentials seeking to live and work in Canada. These are just some of the fundamental issues facing us all and which the DRC must deal with.

Though it appears the Canadian government does not care enough about these fundamental and colour coded human rights issues we are here to demand these rights be truly respected and promoted.

Within the next decade, racialized people will be the dominant players in the workforce and in many of our cities. Racial inequalities in Canada are on the rise and as economic conditions continue to deteriorate, members of racialized and Aboriginal communities will experience disproportionate forms of racism. Within this context, it is critical that Canada must embrace and should be part of this process.

We are here to share with the international community our tremendous disappointment with our government’s withdrawal from this important and critical international conference. We consider the Canadian government’s shameful withdrawal as a failure to conform to its UN obligations.

Your work is invaluable and the outcome of this Conference is of great significance to racialized and Aboriginal peoples in Canada and around the world. We urge you to set the conditions to combat racism high – the circumstances and time that has already passed require a high standard.

Know this, with or without our government, Canadian civil society will continue to fight with you to eliminate racism.

Media Contacts:
Karl Flecker: Canadian Labour Congress 011.613.614.7065
Margaret Parsons: African Canadian Legal Clinic 011-41-76-286-6578
Mohamed Boudjenane, Canadian Arab Federation 011.613.614.7065

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