The Durban Review Conference (DRC)
By Hasan Yahya, Ph.D
Concerning the Durban Review Conference (DRC) an organization belong to the UN is dealing with Human rights too, to review and may be implement some practices to reduce religo-phobia, racism, and inequalities world wide. it can be viewed in two ways: 1. The establishment of such organizations means a general failure of the UN, and its sub-organizations, the OIC is included, where such organization can be formed in these nations long time ago to check policies and decisions made in earlier international meetings as a predatory committee. So it is expected that this failure will continue in the new named DRC organization, because the structure and the functions have no authority whatsoever, other than discussing previous failures of the UN and the OIC which gives more optimism on the new formed organization (DRC).
2. The other way to look at the DRC, is a step to revive the observed decline in the mother organization, the UN. And the DRC will help reshape the UN and other regional organizations to follow suit.
While the first view is pessimistic view, it has wide acceptability by many scholars on broad paradigms of world community cultural changes. And a failure will follow another in this case, and the world will continue structurally and functionally disabled. The second view, with no testing measures is expected to enhance Human rights practices among cultures inherently in conflict. This expectations may lack new paradigms different from the old paradigms in social science to change the negative perceptions of each culture toward the other into positive perception of brotherhood and common interest. The new paradigm should be neutral in it hypotheses, theory and methodology. In other words, a grand theory is needed, unlike Marx theory of capitalism, and Comte’s static theory.
Karl Marx brought attention to the material side of human life, while Comte was interested in the spiritual side of human life, namely, religion and morality. For Marx, a living humans, needs to be fed and to cover self with clothe and be secured in a shelter, and propagate their species. Therefore, human history must take these factors into consideration. This means the material side in life not the spiritual one. The call was clear for humankind to replace religion by material factors lead to social unity. Thus, people engage in of self-reproduction of material necessities from nature and reproduce through sexuality. These reproductive acts consist Marx’s material interpretation of history as laws of change according to material change. The laws for Marx, where the transformation of having material technologies decide the social relations to production. By population growth and economic development, families become subordinate to the economy, which determines total societies According to Marx. But the trouble of such theorizing is that both reproduction by births and division of labor lead to inequality. Which at the end the consequence such theory will end up with domination of the intellectuals over others in the division of labor. Such domination have the ability to dictate other to follow. Sophistication of production employs more man-made capital. The division of labor becomes more specialized and complex, and the material capital accumulates and becomes concentrated in the few and the separation between capital and labor become clear. In Marx’s theory, when complexity grows it increases inequalities in having work and owning property, and the accumulation power. Property becomes a determinant of domination that contribute in alienation. In his theory of capitalism, Marx explained that the volume of commodities devalues the value of labor and leads to unemployment. Therefore, he reached this conclusion: The greater the domination of commodity production, the greater is the alienation of labor. For Marx, under communism, production imposes an equal distribution of duties and obligations. These inequalities result from inequalities in the distribution of work and the control of property which leads to alienation and domination in the form of private individual ownership. Marx conclusion was that human beings are victims rather than beneficiaries of the division of labor which is abounds in exploitation. Inequality creates social classes which tend to divide the society in term of ownership and create conflict of interests in the capitalist society. According to Dahrendorf, conflict intensify between classes, his concept of superimposition leads to a polarizing society.
For Plato in old times, laws set forth a conception of the city state, where every aspect of life is regulated by laws. For example, property, material interest, birth, marriage, and death are defined by law, the goal was a perfect moral harmony. For Plato, the laws of good state leads to order. In this state we find conception of social order which was expressed gradually throughout history of social theory. Comte for example, envisioned sociology as devoted to the discovery of the laws of social order and progress, which are conceptual foci of the study of social statics and dynamics. Where social dynamics is to explain progress through the three stages as correlated with human thinking progress of humankind to reach finally to a moral stage. This theorizing is one aspect of human evolution in general. The world today, is not in agreement over evolutionary theories. Many cultures do not believe in such theory. Therefore, it should be replaced. Two anti-ethical theories dominate the world, theUSAand its allies, and the Eastern block (RussiaandChina). Religion so far was vehicle of such progress or regress. Because religion and morality are inextricably bound together. These two functions are correlative; for unifying individuals and the society alike. In the process of molding the person, religion molds society. There is no need to discuss how religion achieve these unifying functions through intervening in the internal conflicts between the person egoistic and altruistic feelings, where religion takes the second side. Religion becomes the unifying role for any society. In the Muslim world, a person cannot conceive an object unless s/he experience submission, gratitude, or respect toward it. Therefore, the superior power for Muslims is the source of moral command which unify Muslims or other religions. The superior power plays in the form of attachment, and love, of humanity. Humanity is only object makes life possible, as a source of thought which controls emotions and feelings. Comte forgot how to make humanity possible by replacing God by this term: humanity as a new religion. Islam believes in humanity as a basic belief among all humans, regardless of color, nobility, national origin, or gender. The development of humanity in the western world have failed, the matrix of theoretical development provided by Comte’s ideas, that order depends on anarchy of power abuse led to destructive impact on self-interest. A more specific theories replaced Comte’s theory of humanity known as functional theories of understanding societies. For example, Parson’s theory, where normative regulation fulfils an integrative social function. Durkheim’s work using the concept of attachment to society through religion, but by rules of moral discipline. In conclusion to these theories, opposition of self-interest and social order is becoming the theme of normative order theories.
The new theory of Crescentology propose a new type of logic, It does not take the spiritual or the material sides theories. Instead, it depends on certain universal concepts to reduce conflict not in the society itself, but among cultures and other societies as well. Reciprocal True knowledge among is the first step in conflict resolution wither the society is capitalist or communist. Such knowledge leads to reciprocal true understanding, to true appreciation, which leads to the final stage of rational solution for conflicts which compromising on the ground of mutual respect. Conflicts usually have “ins” and “outs”. Any organization carries within it the seeds of recurring instability. Furthermore, class conflict incite shift in leadership to shift in policies. Those in authority remain in their positions, but they adapt new policies. The leader will be forced by the radical change of class struggle. Crescentology is a theory for cultural normalization on the long run, a new idea to solve individual and collective problems using sociology, psychology, and politics to create a weather ready begins with information, understanding, appreciation and compromising in a win/win approach.
Parsons drew an obvious conclusion that the direction of scientific interest is theoretically determined. A theory does not only formulate what we know, but also tells us what we want to know, that is, the question to which an answer is needed. Reciprocity obtains between fact and theory; being in a relationship of interdependence, neither is cause of the other. Crescentology in the frame of theories comes to invent a new approach to deal with conflict, while religion is an important factor as well as the material position, both will not be dealt with according the theory. What is important however, is manipulation new system of thinking to change inherited perceptions created by faith or material possessions. Here is a process of thinking have to be made possible for people to have reciprocal true knowledge as the first step no matter the two parties religion or class or color or sex on both micro and macro level. That’s why Crescentology is different from Marxist and Comtean theories. It is an intellectual process dealing with conflict rather than domination of one group over the other. Now I turn to the UN and its organizations. If the DRC will follow the spiritual or the material models to reduce human rights, the conference will fail as the OIC failing in solving the problems of Muslim world. Now we turn to the UNCHR and the DRC.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), is a part of the United Nations Secretariat, has been given a unique mandate to promote and protect all human rights. Headquartered in Geneva, the Office is also present in some 50 countries. Headed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, a position established by the General Assembly in 1993 to spearhead the United Nations’ human rights efforts, OHCHR takes action based on the unique mandate given it by the international community to guard and advocate for international human rights law.
The Human Rights Council in its resolution 3/2 also decided that at its organizational sessions the Preparatory Committee shall elect, on the basis of equitable geographic representation, a bureau for the Preparatory Committee and that, at the same session, the Preparatory Committee shall decided on all the relevant modalities for the Conference in accordance with established practice of the General Assembly, including deciding on the objectives of the Review Conference, the level at which the Review Conference shall be convened, regional preparatory initiatives, date and venue. In 2006, the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 61/149, decided to convene in 2009 a review conference on the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action. To this end, it requested the Human Rights Council to prepare this event, making use of the three existing and ongoing follow-up mechanisms, to formulate a concrete plan and to provide yearly updates and reports on this issue starting in 2007., during its organizational session, in August 2007the Preparatory Committee for the Conference set forth the objectives of the DRC as follows: 1. To review progress and assess implementation of the DRC and Program of Action by all members, national, regional and international levels, including assessing contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, through an inclusive, transparent and collaborative process and identify concrete measures and initiatives for combating and eliminating all manifestations of the above mentioned diseases in order to foster the implementation of the DRC program of Action; 2. To assess the effectiveness of the existing Durban follow-up mechanisms and other relevant United Nations mechanisms dealing with the issues under discussion policies to reduce the above issues in order to enhance them; 3. To promote the universal ratification and implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and proper consideration of the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; and finally, 4. To identify and share good practices achieved in the fight against the above mentioned diseases.
It is expected that coming conference for anti-racism review at Geneva, Switzerland20-24 April 2009 will evaluate progress towards the goals set by the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africain 2001. this means a review of the eight years passed since the first DRC conference which produced the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, which provided an important new framework for combating the above mentioned diseases with a wide range of action-oriented measures.
At the request of the Preparatory Committee, the UN Secretary-General designated the High Commissioner for Human Rights as Secretary-General of the Review Conference, whose role is to ensure it is held successfully and in accordance with the wishes of the Member States. The High Commissioner’s Office is facilitating and supporting the entire review process, including the inter-governmental working group which prepares the outcome document of the Review Conference.
A final comment on the DRC, I may add here: If UN failed to be independent of power domination, then we say the UN will do a good job. But in recent years we observed the UN was manipulated by super powers domination for their interests over the weak nations through military assistance and economic ties to guarantee domination and practicing a new slavery forms. There should be no control of spiritual or material ambitions any organization. Therefore, the Durban Review Conference (DRC) is similar to any other organization belong to the UN. And if the UN was dominated by super powers, then the (DRC) will follow the guidelines of the UN, and decisions taken by the conference will have the same impact as the vast majority of decisions made by the UN resolutions stamped by domination of the super powers. What can the DRC do in this situation?
The NGO however, would be more effective in this case than the DRC. In membership, they belong to their self-scholarship and philosophy which reflect human concerns rather than governmental concerns of people domination by force. The OIC, taking the DRC as a final resort to solve human rights decline in the member states as well as other locations around the world will be governmental representations which can be easily described by bias selection or nomination of their governments. The most effective Conference should be distinguished by its members affiliation to human rights, not affiliation for political parties or ideologies. In this case, the NGO would serve this purpose to disseminate knowledge for understanding, to increase cultural appreciation of others, and reach a state wwhere people come to a compromise final step to reduce hate, racism, hostility, and injustices committed against human rights. This vision, will enhance the role of the NGO’s and make its activities more effective than the UN and its DRC. So the DRC, Conference in 2009 to review the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. To do that the DRC will use of the three existing and ongoing follow-up mechanisms. The UNHRC as acting the role of the Preparatory Committee for the DRC conference to plan three follow-up sessions.
In the first session, Governments will take a number of organizational decisions, including the provisional rules of procedure of the DRC, sources of funding for the Conference, accreditation of NGOs, objectives of the Conference, the organization of regional preparatory meetings, and others. The second session convened in Geneva took several important decisions by the Preparatory Committee concerning 1) the accreditation of several NGOs, the dates, duration and venue of the Review Conference, 2) the structure of the Draft Outcome Document of the Review Conference and; 3) the creation of an Open-ended Inter-governmental Working Group to review recommendations submitted by different members of the DRC.
In conclusion, I believe that these sessions will not reduce conflict of civilizations in terms of human rights. The serious need for a new approach still persists. May be a Supreme Review Council as a new organization in its way, but also destined to fail if constructed and functioned according the UN, the DRC or the OIC models. In many places the theme of human rights have failed in the Middle East, Africa and centralAsia, and that’s a proof of international failure on conflict management. The birth of the new model will not be long. I hope.
From: Crescentologism:The Moon Theory, for the author.