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Statement by Ambassador Willem Udenhout Head of Delegation of the Republic of Suriname to the Durban Review Conference on the Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action
12 May 2009 / 03:24

 

Mr. President,
Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

It is an honor and privilege to deliver this statement on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Suriname at this review conference on the implementation of the historic Durban Declaration and Program of Action.

 

My delegation wishes to express appreciation to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs. Navanethem Pillay, and her dedicated staff for their valuable support and contribution to the organization of this review conference.

 

As new forms and old manifestations of racism and racial hatred continue to plague the world community, this conference is as relevant as the World Conference in Durban was almost eights years ago. Defamation of religions, repression of minority groups, such as migrants, refugees, indigenous and tribal communities, still have destructive effects on the dignity of the human being.

 

Intolerance and prejudice can be challenged through continuous awareness-raising. In this regard we remain convinced that education is indispensible at every level as a reliable basis and effective mechanism to expand and intensify inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue.

 
Mr. President,
 

Eight years after the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action we have to realize that, while increased attention has been given to activities that address racism and discrimination, actions remain inadequate, both in scope and intensity.

 

The Surinamese delegation hopes that this Review Conference will galvanize the political support for increased efforts that effectively address the evils of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

 

Failure to communicate on the impact of the transatlantic slave trade and related slavery and on current manifestations of slavery and discrimination, will perpetuate the inequalities that are a threat to a safe, stable, peaceful and prosperous world.

 

The effects of climate change, and the food, financial and energy crises have created consensus among the world leaders on the urgency of global action for an innovated conception of sustainable development.

 

But what seems to be less understood is that these global efforts will not be effective, because their success will be short-lived, if in the process we cannot sustainably repair the historical damage which still defines relations between and within nations. And these reparations must be guided by the resolutions of the Durban Conference. Failure to implement these resolutions will dash the hopes of many, and my retard the solutions of the global problems that are so prominent on the agenda of the world leaders.

 

As a member of the Caribbean Community, Suriname proudly recalls the region’s initiative, to preserve the memory of the courageous men and women whose struggle and resilience guides the spirit of freedom of large segments of the world community. 

 

Upon the initiative of our region, and supported by the members of the African group and many other friends, the United Nations recently designated March 25th as “the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade”. Interesting and thought provoking commemorative events have been organized thus far and we will ensure that annual activities appropriately reflect the trust of this initiative.

 

Mindful of the theme of this Conference, we call on the international community to join the Caribbean region, in the preparations to erect a permanent memorial at a place of prominence at United Nations Headquarters in New York, to serve as a material symbol for an era that should never be forgotten.

 

            Mr. President,

 

In closing, my delegation wants to reiterate an important point we made at the Durban Conference.

 

In Suriname we believe that diversity is the strength of our nation. We have forged ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity into a model and beacon of hope for the world community.

 
Thank you.