Monday, October 22, 2007

Racial Justice, Ethical Democracy & the Louisiana Governor Race

Racial Justice, Ethical Democracy & the Louisiana Governor race

In the interest of Ethical Democracy & Racial Justice, an African-American woman should have run and won the Louisiana governor race. None ran, none won.

Let us see what Jindal does in his first hundred days for Blacks and the poor in the year of the Jena 6 and the post-Katrina recovery period. Jindal, an Indian-American, says he has an "ethics platform."

Q. What is his "intelligent design" for the poor and for historically oppressed minorities? More important, what will he do to remove inequities and impediments to Black progress and accomplishment in the State of Louisiana?

Q. What structures, systems and ideologies prevented Black women, the true sheroes of Reconstruction, from entering and winning this race?

Racial Justice would have been partly served if the first non white governor since Reconstruction was Black and also female.

I'll let this thought rest for a moment. Ethical democracy is the search I am involved in.
Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear colleagues,

Further to this conversation on democracy and human rights, here are resources for consideration:

Reaffirming Human Rights for All: The Universal Declaration at 60
3-5 September 2008 • UNESCO Headquarters, Paris

Lesley Vann, Good News Agency’s Publisher Representative to the UNDPI

This year the 61st Annual United Nations DPI/NGO Conference took place on 3-5 September 2008, at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The Conference, "Reaffirming Human Rights: The Universal Declaration at 60", was held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year marked the first time in the history of the DPI/NGO Conference that it was held outside of New York.

The DPI/NGO Conference was organized by the UN’s Department of Public Information in cooperation with the NGO community -- this year with the assistance of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Government of France. This Annual Conference is open to representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI), those in consultative status with the United Nations through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and those working with UNESCO and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Paris was an apt location for this year’s Conference, as Paris is also the place where the Declaration was signed some 60 years ago. It is therefore fitting, that Paris was the host city for the premier NGO event of the year, at UNESCO's Headquarters, attracting more than 2,000 NGO representatives from some 90 countries. The 3-5 September Conference was opened by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon via video-conference.

The Conference aimed to highlight effective ways in which civil society, in partnership with public and private international actors and the UN System, can contribute to the advancement of human rights at international, regional, national and local levels, generate greater awareness of human rights issues, and strengthen commitments to address human rights among diverse stake-holders worldwide. A major feature of this conference was its emphasis on active participation whether through involvement in the five roundtables, the 42 midday workshops or several breakout sessions. All activities including those offered via the Internet were intended to generate greater awareness of human rights issues and strengthen commitments to address human rights among diverse stakeholders worldwide.

The Conference reflected the mounting commitment within the United Nations, to the work of civil society. This unprecedented commitment to civil society has been chiefly the result of the vibrant vision articulated by former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. He recognised and assured the UN supported the advances made by civil society on the ground and in the daily lives of those who suffer.

There is vast evidence of the contribution made to human rights by civil society, in partnership with other actors -- from very broad evidence demonstrated by major NGOs such as Amnesty International -- to national and local levels, involving citizens and education more directly. A stellar example is the global reach of Human Rights Watch with its focus upon civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Additional examples include the Green Cross International and its partners, who appeal for the adoption of a Framework Convention on the Right to Water; and Kerala-based “Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (CHRO), [which] stand to protect, uphold and strengthen the rights of traditionally exploited and oppressed marginalized social segments of Tribals, Dalits, Minorities, certain Castes, Women, Children and victims of State Violations.”

Civil society has for years embraced the Earth Charter, a widely recognised and authoritative reference document on the vision, values, and ethics of sustainable development, available in over 30 languages. A Conference break out session on Human Rights, Sustainable Development, and the Earth Charter was held. The primary aim of the session was to provide participants with an overview of the Earth Charter and how its vision of global interdependence and universal responsibility complements and supports the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the global human rights movement. The breakout session also focused on the sharing of best-practices regarding the way in which the Earth Charter is used to support grass-roots efforts to address human rights violations and to promote an integrated approach to sustainable development. The above are key examples of civil society contributions yielding strength and significant advances for human rights globally.

The Conference demonstrated effective partnerships between civil society and international actors during the diverse “Roundtable” meetings, midday workshops and breakout sessions, permitting cross-pollination of ideas and recommendations addressing human rights. These merged the worlds of civil society with the UN System and its outreach. Meeting topics included, “Upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Overcoming Discrimination to Realize Human Rights and Dignity for All; Human Rights and Human Security; Human Rights Education and Learning as a Way of Life; Addressing Gross Human Rights Violations: Prevention and Accountability; Reaffirming Human Rights for All.

Midday Workshops have been an integral part of the DPI NGO conference since its early days. These continued to be among the most sought-after events during the busy three days. Midday workshops are organized for NGOs by NGOs. They are vehicles for peer-to-peer discussions, to exchange ideas and experiences and share approaches to common problems. The ultimate goal is to have participants take home information and knowledge that they can use in their activities.
The subjects of the Midday Workshops were chosen to enhance the conference themes and to represent thematic as well as regional balance. They were designed to be interactive, and to foster lively audience participation under the leadership of facilitators and expert speakers.

A Committee representing different areas of the NGO world, including NGO partners in Geneva and Paris, assisted in the selection of this year’s offerings. The large number of Midday Workshop Proposals received from many regions of the world demonstrated the keen interest by NGO participants in exchanging experiences, finding common ground and sharing their stories with others working in the field of human rights. The Committee worked hard to accommodate as many as possible of the stimulating proposals that were submitted, especially from NGOs and partners new to this process. Some workshops also offered the opportunity to hear speakers from the plenary session in a more intimate setting and with more chances to ask questions.

The Paris Conference also featured a variety of Special Events marking the 60th anniversary. These included a story-telling project, which was sponsored by the Institute for the Development of Education, Arts and Leisure, featuring stories of personal experiences on different aspects of human rights. There were art displays that were shown at UNESCO and outside the Conference Hall. Among the art exhibits was a History of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that consisted of nine panels displayed in French and English, and sketches on Human Rights themes by International cartoonists both sponsored by the UN Department of Public Information. NGO displays included 20 posters promoting Human Rights submitted by Art Center School of Design in Pasadena, and eight Ribbons of peace, art cloth panels depicting different aspects of Human Rights. Article 27 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights best summarises this endeavour: “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” (Article 19 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.) Media participation at the 61st Annual DPI/NGO Conference was subject to accreditation by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Accreditation remains strictly reserved for members of the press - print media, photo, radio, TV, film and news agencies - who fully meet United Nations media accreditation requirements.

In summary the 61st Annual DPI/NGO Conference, commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights engaged civil society and other United Nations System partners. At this Annual DPI/NGO Conference these partners demonstrated their relevance to global human rights progress. The goals of the Conference thus were met, with new inroads established. These goals included providing a forum for civil society, governments, media, academia, and the private sector to discuss human rights issues and what roles they need to play in addressing them.

This 61st Annual DPI/NGO Conference demonstrated once again that human rights outcomes, the United Nations and the world community, are all strengthened by the vibrant, incisive vision and contribution of civil society partners globally. Civil society daily is advancing action on behalf of the global common good.

Information for this article was located on:
Please click on the link below for useful background information on the Conference including Media Inquiries, Gallery of photos, and webcasts of the Opening and Closing sessions and the five Roundtable discussions:

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