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WCAR Report of African and African Descendants Caucus Transmittal Letter

To:   Members of the African and African Descendants Caucus

The Interim Steering Committee (ISC) of the African and African Descendants Caucus is pleased to present for your use the official Report of the African and African Descendants Caucus Work at the NGO Forum and World Conference Against Racism. As there has been considerable misinformation and distortion of our work at the WCAR , we are requesting that everyone use all available mediums to publicize this Report to our community. This Report encapsulates the historic bonding and outstanding advocacy of African and African Descendants throughout the WCAR planning process, preparatory meetings and at the Durban NGO Forum and WCAR. The ISC will work to place the Report in newspapers and on various internet listserves. We need your assistance in circulating this Report to reach the broadest numbers of African and African Descendants possible to inspire our brothers and sisters to be active in building a new movement for our people.

After the Durban WCAR adjourned, our efforts to meet were greatly hindered by the aftermath of September 11th and the backlog of work so many confronted upon returning home from Durban. Nevertheless, we persevered and held small teleconferences beginning in late September, 2001, to facilitate the transition from the Coordinating Committee that presided over the preparatory and Durban meetings to the ISC. The first conference call of the ISC was held in November, 2001 and it has met monthly since then. So far there are 22 participants on the ISC including advisors. We are most anxious to have the full complement of representation of those from the Carribean, Central America and South America on the ISC in accordance with the structure adopted in Durban. Another challenge is to increase the actual participation of representatives from Africa as many of those who signed up have been inactive.

Predictably, a lot of our initial work focused on combating the opposition by some of the Western governments to the placement of the paragraphs pertaining to slavery and the transatlantic Slave Trade and crimes against humanity, colonialism and reparations in the Programme of Action and other efforts to negate the WCAR documents. We wrote letters to Kofi Annan, UN Secretary, Ms. Dlamini Zuma, President of the WCAR, and Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and engaged in other direct advocacy to influence this process. In addition, a number of members of the ISC attended and represented the African and African Descendants Caucus at the December 2001 NGO meetings in Geneva. During this same timeframe, the ISC prepared and reviewed the Report. Another activity involved compiling all of the names collected in Durban and from other preparatory meetings into a comprehensive listserve. At this time the ISC is working to develop a proposal for a permanent governance structure. Regional meetings are also being planned to be held by July 2002. The ISC is planning to send representation to the UNs March meeting of the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva.

It is important to note that all of the work of the ISC has been done on the basis of volunteer and personal funding as there is no bank account for this embryonic organization. Much appreciation is expressed for all of those who have dedicated their time and efforts to the work of the Africans and African Descendants Caucus.

At our last conference call we decided to designate the month of August 2002, as an "International Month of Mobilization for Reparations" to encompass many planned events of African and African Descendants including August 9-13th Barbados Conference and the August 17th Millions for Reparations March in Washington, D.C.

Looking forward, we need everyone receiving this Report to become active in building the permanent organization for African and African Descendants. Be sure to contact your representatives on the ISC to inform them of information, provide additional addresses for the listserve, and to assist in this organizing period.

[Editor's Note: the Official Report is attached]

ISC contact information is as follows:

Abdelbagi, Advisor
Adjoa Aiyetoro, Advisor
Alioune Tine, Africa Representative
Amani Olubanjo Buntu, Youth Representative/ [Southern] Africa Representative

Bahiya Cabral, Advisor
Barbara R. Arnwine, United States Representative
Bona Godwin Okigbo
Brima Conteh, Europe Representative

Cikiah Thomas, Canadian Representative

Dexter Culbert, Central America Representative

Humberto Brown, United States Representative

Joan Grant-Cummings, Carribean Representative
Joseph Champagne, Youth Representative and french translator
Joss Rovelas, Europe Representative

Linda Roots, Advisor

Margaret Parsons, Canadian Representative
Martha Vega, US Representative, Alternate
Muntu Matsimela, Advisor,

Rollin Tobie, Central America Advisor
Roger Wareham, US Representative

Sandra Carnegie-Douglas, Canadian Representative

Victor Misamu Nzabi, Europe Representative

Thank you for your support as we build a permanent and lasting voice for African and African Descendants in the international arena.