Non – Aligned Movement Carrying Forward the Struggle against Racism

One of the fundamental principles underlying human rights is that of equality between human beings. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) proclaims that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. The corollary of the principle of equality is that of non-discrimination. Discrimination occurs when people in the same situation are treated differently for no objective reason. Unfortunately, many factors still give rise to discrimination in the modern world, including people’s ethnic, national or social origins, their religion, language, gender, political leanings, sexual orientation, age, state of health and so forth.
Forms of discriminations based on claims of ‘race’, i.e. racism, remain among the most widespread today. Now that globalization has made our societies more multicultural, the risks of discrimination have also increased. Non-Aligned Movement, which comprises of many ex-colonies, is aware of the fact that fighting racism is crucial to promote respect and tolerance if we are to guarantee everyone a harmonious life in diversity. As such, condemning racism has been a recurring theme in successive NAM summits.
The Non-Aligned movement has reaffirmed its condemnation of all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including the platforms and activities related thereto, which constitute serious violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as impede equal opportunity.
In its quest for establishing a discrimination free world order, NAM has been vocal in instances of religious and cultural prejudices, misunderstanding, intolerance and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief or different systems, which undermine the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and hinder the promotion of the culture of peace. NAM countries have recognized that pluralism, tolerance, and understanding of religious and cultural diversity are essential for peace and harmony.
As one of the founding members of NAM and also in accordance with the movement’s objectives, Indian foreign policy since the time of Nehru has had strong anti-racist overtones. India was one of the most vocal nations in the criticism of the South African apartheid regime and pressed for strong resolutions against racist discrimination. Even today, Indian foreign policy is premised on a strict anti-racist stance.
NAM has striven for efforts to eliminate any form of racist discrimination. In the Tehran declaration of 2012, NAM leaders took note of the ongoing progress made by States at the national, regional and international levels, focusing on the comprehensive follow-up to the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action. To this end, the Heads of State or Government urged the Human Rights Council, through the Intergovernmental Working Group established to that effect, to finalize the elaboration of complementary standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.
NAM leaders have also emphasized the importance of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) as it was adopted at the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in 2001. This was followed by outcome document of the Durban Review Conference in 2009 and 2011. The DDPA calls for comprehensive national action plans to eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. It calls for the reinforcement of national institutions and it formulates concrete recommendations in the areas of national legislation and the administration of justice. It includes specific recommendations to combat discrimination against many groups, including Africans and persons of African descent, indigenous peoples, migrants, and refugees, the Roma, Asians and persons of Asian descent, women, children, and minorities.
Most of the NAM nations have shaped their policies to combat racism in accordance with the principles in the DDPA as well as those outlined in the relevant UN resolutions. In South Africa, Non-racialism has been the official policy for many years. Equality is introduced into the South African constitutional framework by the preamble of the Constitution which lists its objectives. Insofar as equality is concerned, the preamble sets the Constitution as the foundation ‘for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law’. In this respect, the right to equality is a vital instrument in South African legislative framework to fight racism. It can thus be said that Non Aligned Movement represents a struggle against all forms of racist discrimination and since its inception, the Movement has emphasized the need to address with greater resolve and political will all forms and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

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