Replying to a question while addressing the international media at the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) for the first time Annan said: ``I think in my statement to the plenary I did clearly mention that all forms of discrimination should be abolished.....by race, descent or whatever.... I have made that clear.''
Ever since the acrimonious plenary with the Secretary General at the NGO forum, the Dalit groups have been facing a hard time in trying to put things together for their campaign which so far had managed to gather international attention.
Their main agenda to push for inclusion of caste as a form of discrimination in WCAR declaration received another setback yesterday when the Swiss government withdrew its support to Dalit cause. It came as a rude shock to the Dalit groups for the Swiss government had so far stridently stood by the Dalit cause.
It is learnt that as a salvage exercise the Dalit caucus had to manage the support of a Latin American country to retain the agenda on the charter.
Meanwhile the Dalit lobby lead by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights has fielded former chairperson of National Council for Women Mohini Giri, senior member of People's Union for Civil Liberties Dr R M Pal, Dalit activist Ruth Manorama among others for lobbying with various delegation.
Minister of State for foreign affairs Omar Abdullah is heading the Indian delegation will be making his speech at the plenary session on September 3.
India had already made its stand clear on the caste issue stating that it was
the country's internal matter and that the matter of caste was no way related to
the racial discrimination.
The conflict between Israel and Palestine continues to dominate the proceedings. The last week at the NGO forum witnessed great tension between the two combating groups that almost hijacked the agenda.
Both the groups present in large numbers successfully invaded all committee meetings and used every possible platform to garner support of the world community for their cause.
In his press conference, Kofi Annan acknowledging that the issue of reparation and the Middle East had dominated the talks, maintained, "we should not allow any single issue to derail the conference. Those who derail it will be held responsible by the rest of the groups.''
Many countries have also objected to the militant activism of the groups belonging to the two nations saying they were not allowing other voices to be heard at the conference.More Durban Stories