September 10, 2001
IN THE HEADLINES (5:03)
ISRAELI S AND PALESTINIANS REACTS TO THE DURBAN RESOLUTION (3:18)
A UN conference on racism adopted its final declaration a day behind schedule after securing last-minute and hard-fought compromises on the Middle East and slavery. Delegates adopted a text after eight days of tough and acrimonious talks in Durban, South Africa, that recognized the Palestinians’ right to an independent state and described slavery as a crime against humanity. The two issues have dominated the UN World Conference Against Racism and prompted the withdrawal Monday by the United States and Israel, which rejected originally proposed anti-Israeli language that they described as “hateful”. “This is no small achievement,” commented Mary Robinson, Secretary General of the conference and UN high commissioner for human rights, at the final plenary session. She described as “exhausting” but “worth it” the efforts of to reach a consensus, something she said many people had questioned whether would be possible. But the Middle East issue once again almost torpedoed the conference at the eleventh hour, when Syrian Foreign Faruk Al-Shareh tried to indirectly condemn Israel as racist. He proposed the inclusion of a statement that “colonization by settlers and foreign occupation” be considered as racist. The motion failed after a heartfelt plea from conference president Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa’s foreign minister. The final text on the Middle East includes recognition of the “inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent state”. It also calls for recognition of the “right to security for all states in the region, including Israel”, but refrains from any explicit condemnation of the Jewish state. With more on how that language is playing in Israel. Raphael Krafft has more from Ramallah.
ASIANS IN KENYA CONFRONT RACISM (4:44)
The World Conference Against Racism also documents racism as it affects the lives of indigenous peoples, Roma, women, children, globalization and other minority groups. One such community is the group of Kenyan Asians who are an increasingly beleaguered community in their country. With the economy in crisis, rising levels of crime, and most of all a rhetoric of racial antagonism directed against them, many are voting with their feet and emigrating. Rupert Cook reports.
BRAZIL PLAYS HARDBALL WITH MULTINATIONAL DRUG COMPANIES (2:31)
In Brazil, the government has convinced the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche to slash the price of an important AIDS drug. To win the discount, Brazil threatened to begin domestic production of a generic alternative. Brazilian officials say they are having to increasingly play hardball with drug companies in order to maintain their country’s model anti-AIDS program. Joshua Chaffin reports from Rio de Janeiro.
FOX TALKS IMMIGRATION OVERHAUL — IS THE U.S. READY?
Mexico’s President Vicente Fox ‘s state visit to Washington DC last week was all about changing the political equation between Mexico and the US. While he talked about many issues, the centerpiece of his package was reforming the immigration policies of the U-S towards Mexico. He addressed a joint session of Congress and then was spirited to Toledo, Ohio by a U.S. president eager to accommodate his Mexican counterpart and court Latino votes in the process. But while President Fox was eager to talk about Mexican immigration reform now, it was unclear whether Congress or even the President felt the same urgency to listen. Ken Nash reports.
LAWMAKERS GO INSIDE THE WISCONSIN SUPERMAX PRISON
A group of state lawmakers has been allowed inside Wisconsin’s supermaximum Security Prison at Boscobel. Media officials and a delegation from the human rights group amnesty international had previously been turned away from the 350 bed prison. The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the state of Wisconsin over the prison. The suit says conditions inside the prison violate the 8th Amendment to the Constitution, which bars cruel and unusual punishment. John Hamilton reports from Madison.