The recent U.N. World Conference Against Racism was a limited success. Racism is a global phenomenon and a basic human rights violation, yet the participating U.N. member states were reluctant to adopt a program of action equal to the gravity of the problem.
Disagreements abounded on a variety of levels. Controversial issues -- equating Zionism with racism as well as demanding reparations for slavery and colonialism -- helped to diminish this important session's significance. Indeed, the Bush administration boycotted this conference due to the Arabs' anti-Zionist resolution. This boycott only exacerbates the Bush administration's isolationist foreign policy.
Racism is a grave social cancer gnawing at the vitals of human civilization. The international community should take unequivocal steps to eradicate its insidious influence.
Our world is not in a good state. Little progress has been made toward universal disarmament; 3 billion people live in abject poverty; 100 million people are homeless; numerous explosive hot-spots are marring the international landscape; and large numbers of people die from senseless wars, preventable diseases and starvation. This demonstrates the need to reintensify the U.N.'s work to eradicate the evils afflicting humanity.