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15.05.2009

COBASE STATEMENT

Durban Review Conference. 20-24 April 2009

Mr. President,

Fist of all we join the concern of other organizations for the fact that the final declaration was approved before listening to the proposals of the civil society.

The World Conference Aganst Racism in 2001 has been defined in several occasions as "the festival of hate", but we could also define the Durban Review Conference as "the festival of hypocrisy".

We hope that the example of this conference won't constitute a dangerous precedent case in other UN arenas.

Mr. President,

The promotion of Cultural Diversity and Indigenous Issues contributes to solve or at least to relieve some of the greatest problems of mankind such as racism and discrimination.

In fact, the reduction of cultural diversity and the diffusion of uniformity, caused by racism and discrimination, should be reason for greater alarm and attention, since it means loss of knowledge, techniques and technologies, which are all fundamental elements to eradicate poverty and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.

No people or community, if deprived of its own knowledge can obtain, independently, food, welfare and wealth. Racism means deprivation of knowlege.

Knowledge is warranted by cultural diversity. Cultural diversity can be considered to be holistic, unrepeatable, local, sustainable but also vulnerable, and exposed to homogenization, assimilation and racism.

Given these premises we maintain that in order to face racism we have to respect the following principles:

- the principle of solidarity - help other to help themselves;

- the principle of reparation - every damage to peoples caused by racism must be compensated;

- the principle of negotiation - any decision must be taken in agreement among each people;

- the principle of extraterritoriality - every culture must have the right to keep its identity as a people and as a nation;

- the principle of safeguard of cultural diversity.

On these basis, we propose:

- "Diversity as Resource": a project to fight racism with the valorization of cultural diversity.

- "Diversity and Peace": a project to find cultural solutions to conflicts.

- A database of the best practices to fight racism and valorize cultural diversity.

- The open document "Guidelines of the Protection of Cultural Diversity"

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

COBASE
Cooperativa Tecnico Scientifica di Base (ECOSOC)

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