Dr Barryl Biekman at No 10 Downing Street as part of the 6-members delegation that handed-in the 2018 Version of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Petition
Above image is the © copyright of Thabo Jaiyesimi
Statement by Dr. Barryl A. Biekman (the Netherlands)
Abbreviated version presented at the 5th annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March
August 1, 2018 London UK,
See Who_is_Barryl_Biekman_update_jan2018 (1) for bio of Dr Barryl Biekman
I greet you on behalf of the Afrikan (diaspora) Communities in the Netherlands throughout Europe and the Republic of Suriname alongside fellow comrades in resistance.
I congratulate the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee for the achievement of facilitating the organisation of the fifth annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March today, having organised the March for the past 4 years. In my opinion it is time for extending the March, besides the UK, to Geneva and Brussels because of the significance of Afrikan presenting this cause on the doorstep of the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU).
My special congratulation goes to Sister Esther Stanford-Xosei and words of appreciation for her everlasting struggle for the promotion and advancement of Afrikan reparatory justice. I hope that I don’t exaggerate if I say that without Sister Esther we in the Netherlands should not have reach the level of knowledge regarding the concept and applicability of Reparations today that we have today. I thank you Sister Esther for your unbridled support in the field of knowledge sharing and capacity building. Your dedication has ensured that more and more members of the Afrikan communities became aware that Reparations is not all about money but a fundamental struggle for justice, restoration, restitution, transformation and self-repair. Your support amongst that of the other members of the council in Spain, France, UK, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxemburg, stands together for the added value of ENGOCCAR in the struggle for Reparatory Justice. It shows the importance of ENGOCCAR.
Having said this, it gives me the opportunity to spend some words on the aims and objectives of ENGOCCAR.
1) To promote common purposefulness, ethical unity and fraternity among members, community stakeholders and all supporters in and beyond Europe through mutually beneficial joint work for Afrikan Reparations.
2) To pool the relevant human and all other necessary resources of various non-governmental organizations, networks and campaigns of civil society together for impactful Europe-wide contribution to the global endeavours of Reparations in the best interests of Afrikan people and our descendants all over the world.
3) To diligently ensure respectful advancement, from the grassroots of Afrikan and Afro-descendant communities at home and abroad, of all human, peoples’ and Mother Earth rights. In addition to the popular democratic harmonization of voices and coordination of progressive thoughts and actions for effective interconnected local, national and international campaigning to definitively win holistic Pan-Afrikan Reparations as a principled matter of Global Justice for all.
1) To promote the UN International ‘Decade for People of African Descent’ (Decade PAD) in order to make it serve the purpose of mainstreaming the grassroots agenda for reparatory justice for the Diaspora and also in support of reparatory justice for the Continent of Afrika.
For me one of the most important aspects here is to make more people understand the fundamental role of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) adopted at the 2001 World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) for our people’s struggle. The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA ) for the first time in the UN condemned what we refer to as the Transatlantic Traffic in Enslaved Afrikans (TTEA) as a crime against humanity and gave legitimacy to our struggle for justice and Reparations. That great programme of the United Nations is more than ever under attack and we must do our outmost best to expose and reject this assault against the fruits of our struggle. And that is exactly the role of ENGOCCAR to make sure that the DDPA will not be forgotten.
The Decade that we are now commemorating and implementing would not have been declared without Durban and this Decade for PAD must never be allowed to undermine for even a millimeter the gains of Durban or be hijacked by those who did nothing to bring it about. Be aware that the DDPA only came because of the worldwide struggle of we the Afrikan people amongst others. In this regard we continue to promote the DDPA. Bearing the fact that central of the UN Decade is the implementation of this Declaration. It must also be reiterated here, as I did during the UN General Assembly (UNGA) launch of the Decade on December 2014 that the decision to have the International Decade did not come as a gift from heaven. It came only because of a long struggle by Pan-Afrikanist supported by those civil society organizations who were committed to the implementation of the DDPA.
The Decade what I have called the Reparation Decade is a great victory for the cause of justice with the strong reaffirmation of and call for the full and effective implementation of the DDPA. We the Afrikan people are to do ALL what is in our power to put a final end to the opposition against, undermining of and false disinformation regarding the Durban follow-up process which we have regularly witnessed since the successful WCAR in 2001. In 2009 during the Durban Review the DDPA was reaffirmed in article 1 of the Outcome document and also at the 2011 10th Anniversary.
It must also be mentioned here that the UNGA last December (2017) adopted a resolution which called on the Human Rights Council (HRC) to develop and adopting a multi-year programme of information and mobilization in support of the DDPA. The Council has not taken any action up to now despite that the General Assembly asked them to do it already by March this year. Without a strong campaign from civil society there is little hope that anything will happen. It is therefore very important that we as civil society stay focus on the activities of the HRC to make sure that they do what the UNGA after appeals of the civil society NGO’s has asked the HRC to do. To be complete: the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the first year of the Decade decided to divert the resources they had received from the General Assembly for DDPA implementation and combating racism to other causes they found more important which has had consequences for the implementation of the Decade. For all our campaigning against racism it is most important that governments are held accountable for their role in implementing the Durban principles which provide the bases for recognizing the root causes of the upsurge of racism in Europe and establish principles of international solidarity.
The other objectives of ENGOCCAR are:
2) To promote the interpretation of the situation of Afrikans in the Diaspora on basis of Pan-Africanism and the experiences of those on the Continent of Afrika, within the context of the ‘STOP THE MAANGAMIZI: WE CHARGE GENOCIDE/ECOCIDE’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) and mobilize signatories for the petition/s as well as forces to participate in the 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March in the UK and other relevant commemorative days and other national and Europe-wide levels.
As in the Netherlands in perspective of the abolition of trans-Atlantic slavery in the (former) Dutch Colonies on July the first what the African (Surinamese/Caribbean) Community have titled the ‘Painful Reflection March’ (Pijnlijke Bezinningsmars in Dutch language). Proposals from the ‘National Platform Dutch Slavery Past’ have been made to upgrade this March in the Netherlands with a mission in line with ENGOCCAR and the UK Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparation March.
3) To encourage the adoption of a supportive declaration by the Pan-African Parliament that will encourage parliaments in the various countries of Afrika to enact a Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice Law on Rematriation/ Repatriation.
4) To promote the May 25, 2012 African Union Diaspora Sixth Region Declaration and build the Sixth Region of the Continent of Afrika in Europe in such a way that it integrates Afrikans in Europe, not only into state bodies like the African Union and Pan-African Parliament, but also with grassroots indigenous communities of the people of Afrika in accordance with the Maat-Ubuntu principles of reciprocity.
In recent years, many has taken in the field of organizational development and mobilization. A ‘Leave no community behind’ from a bottom-up approach model has been developed for the purpose of organizing the diaspora on national and international level. This in close cooperation with the PADU (Pan African Diaspora Union) and the SRDC (Sixth Region Diaspora Council) to help organize the African diaspora in all sectors of the Sixth Regions; educate the Afrikan diaspora masses via the so called Town Hall meetings about the value of the Declaration and how to mobilize and organise. I myself was actively involved in the Europe Region but also in the other Regions whereby I deliver assistance to the SRDC, Curacao and Republic of Suriname.
In May 2016 I was officially nominated by the Presiding officer of ECOSOCC to function as a Regional Delegate Region to Europe per November 2015. Despite some little successes the experience is that without the support of the African diplomacy it will not work as long if the Afrikan embassies in the respective countries of residence focus is only the diaspora of their own country of birth. It will not work too as long continental Afrikans in diaspora do not realise the importance of 15th century Afrikan diaspora. As long we have Afrikans in diaspora who do not understand the importance of the 2012 Declaration for the global family.
Recently, we encountered a press release from an Afrikan diaspora person living in France who claim to have established a “State of the African Diaspora of the African Union” with himself as “Prime Minister”. After consulting some responsible AU authorities it has become clear that there is no such decision of the AU. This kind of false messages must not deceive us and undermine our responsibility to stay focused.
What we are currently experiencing is a situation of ambiguity. A situation of rumours even within the selecting processes of representatives for AU ECOSOCC in general. With the nomination of Paul Kagame as Chairperson of the African Union there was hope that under his leadership it would bring an end to the situation of lack of clarity in the area of ECOSOCC implementation of the twenty available Seats for the diaspora. Since Moussa Faki, Chair of the African Union Commission did not succeed in solving the problem. It is a fact that we still have a problem with the implementation of the AU Sixth Region May 2012 Declaration. In this I stand right behind organizations such as African View, PADU and the SRDC, both in the United States of America to keep the process alive for the sake of the Global Afrikan People.
There is so much to do. And we can be effective If we combine some of the Agendas including the AU ‘2063’ agenda to a more integrated process, as I have stated in 2014 during the side event related to the CSW 59 about how to combine the:
a) International Decade for people of African descent (2015-2024).
b) Beijing Post 20 Agenda
c) (MDG-SDG) Post 15 Development Agenda
d) AU Decade for African women (2010-2020), (see here for the evaluation)
e) The African Union African Diaspora Declaration May, 25, 2012.
Taken into consideration all the debates for instance on global violence against Afrikan women and girls during the CSW’s (yearly UN sessions on the status of women) it looks like a lack of organizing capacity to walk the talks to mobilize the expertise with the aim to realize global achievements.
5) To contribute to developing the political economy and its related infrastructure for financially and economically sustaining the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) within and beyond Europe.
At the Level of the Netherlands
There are three important developments I would like to mention here:
1) About a National Political Party named Ubuntu Connected Front that has been established;
2) The development of a Reparation Petition whereby it is expecting to reach 40.000 signatures to hand in to the members of Parliament with the aim to agree with the realization of a Parliamentary Debate, the establishment a Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice and simultaneously offering apologies on the basis of the basic principles and guidelines on the right to a remedy and Reparation for victims of those violations of International human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law. This Reparation ‘movement’ includes people of the (former) colonies of the Kingdom of the Netherlands;
3) After about seven meetings (from 2014 until 2017) with the involvement of civil society organizations, networks and experts – a National Council Civil Society People of African Descent (LBOCSAAN) has been established in October 2017. This with the Implementation of the UN Decade POAD and the DDPA as aims and as a National voice of the civil society POAD. It must be mention here that despite the creation of this civil society organization the Dutch Government refuse to recognize the organization as a national voice of the civil society Afrikan people and in diaspora. The Government has emphasized that their policy is to communicate with several groups and not with one central body of the civil society of Afrikan people, what we have qualified as the divide-and-rule strategy. I’m realizing that the Decade POAD has not been launched yet in all countries in Europe. It is vital that we as civil society people do not wait for the Government to realize the expected results. We are the ones who have to show actions. Have to show that we do care. As we did in the Netherlands. An NGO position paper was developed. We initiate a National Action Plan of which the Netherlands Government refused to implement it. We established the National Organization LBOSCAAN and even if the Government do not want to recognize LBOCSAAN we are the ones to make this organization successful.
There are many more developments that I would have like to share with you. But the time is too short to share all. I would, however share two:
1) The zwarte piet problem in Netherlands. I hope to share this issue with you while I am here;
2) The dysfunctional anti-discrimination policy of the Dutch Government. Despite this, the Government refuses to develop a policy that combat all the multiple forms of racism against Afrikan people what we have defined as Afrophobia/ Afriphobia. Here is the opportunity to put hands together and make policy. If we do not do that fast! Bear in mind there is now a strong lobby that is now focused on eliminating this term to describe the specific multiple forms of racism against Afrikan people. We have to prevent the success of this lobby in undermining our efforts. It is an insult to what the ‘UN Working Group of Experts of People of African Descent’ in cooperation with the civil society NGO’s and the UN Human Rights Council who in 2012 agreed to introduce this term at analogy of terms like anti-Semitism, homophobia, Islamophobia and transgenderphobia and as an alternative of the term ‘Negrophobia’. It is a fact that anti-Black racism does not reflect all the specific aspects of racism against Afrikan people and people of Afrikan descent. Let we keep our eyes and ears wide open. We have to defend our successes and do not give the hijackers space to put us backward.
I would like to thank all of you for affording me this special moment to share the aims and objectives of ENGOCCAR with you and the recently developments in the Netherlands.
I have as always work in solidarity with our Afrikan brothers and sisters both on the continent of Afrika and within the Afrikan Diaspora. If you would like to learn more about the work we are actively involved within ENGOCCAR please do reach out via https://engoccar.wordpress.com/contact/
I thank you.
Photo of the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March
Hand-in of the 2018 ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Petition
@ No 10 Downing Street, London
Image above is the © copyright of Thabo Jaiyesimi
The 6-member delegation for the 2018 hand-in of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition were: From right to left:
1. Hon. Prophet Kweme Abubaka (Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee, Ethiopia African Black International Congress)
2. Dr Barryl Biekman, (Europe-wide NGO Consultative Council for Afrikan Reparations, Netherlands)
3. Mama Lindiwe Tsele (Pan-African Congress of Azania)
4. Ms Kambanda Veii (Ovaherero Genocide Foundation, Namibia)
5. Cllr Joshua Brown-Smith, age 12 (Office of the Young Mayor, London Borough of Lewisham.)
6. Professor Gus John (Gus John Associates, Member of the African Union Technical Union Technical Committee of Experts on the 6th Region).
This is a link to further info about the 2018 hand-in of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition (UK version) to the office of the UK Prime Minister @ No 10 Downing Street.
Dr Barryl Biekman presenting an abbreviated form of this speech at Parliament Square, Westminster, London as part of the 2018 Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March