RESOLUTIONS PASSED AT GLOBAL CONVENTION OF PEOPLE OF INDIAN ORIGIN - 2000  

July 21st to July 23rd. 2000, Swissotel, Zurich, Switzerland - Dr. Rakhal Dave, Chairperson, Resolution Committee

RESOLUTION 1

RESOLUTION ON ADOPTION AND PROMULGATION OF GUIDELINES TO PRESERVE HUMAN DIGNITY IN VISA APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The Global Convention of people of Indian origin meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, July 21st - July 23rd, 2000

ACKNOWLEDGING that countries have every right to screen prospective visitors prior to visa approval and establish procedures for the same based on the unique concerns of each country,

ACKNOWLEDGING that in the present world visa approval to visit a foreign country is not a universal right for all and can strongly depend on the nationality and economic status of the prospective visitor and the nation to be visited, however

NOTING that a large population of the world requiring visas to travel to foreign countries are not represented or recognised by any international body, and

NOTING the absence of any international guideline for the conduct and behaviour of consular services of foreign diplomatic missions in any country to act in ways commensurate with norms of human dignity,

URGES the United Nations Organisation to establish broad guidelines which address the concerns enumerated below:

1. The diplomatic mission must respect the applicant and conduct itself in a manner that is consistent with a feeling of honour that the applicant is making an application to visit their country.

2. Respect for the applicant includes respect for the applicants time.

3. Respect for the applicant also means that the diplomatic mission must make every effort to ensure that the applicants are comfortable while waiting. This includes providing shelter from cold, rain, snow and wind while waiting for their turn.

4. Personal appearance should be necessary only for exceptional reasons. Every effort should be made therefore to allow the process to be completed by mail.

5. The visa should be granted or denied on the basis of objective criteria. Personal appearance cannot add to any objective consideration.

6. For business visas, the diplomatic mission should realise that personal appearance costs money to the company that is requesting the visa for its employee. This can lead to businesses avoiding hiring employees who need visas against those who do not. This is a mild form of discrimination that the diplomatic mission indirectly propagates and which can be alleviated by requesting personal appearance only under exceptional circumstances.

7. It should be possible to contact the diplomatic mission to submit a visa application. If for some exceptional reason an appointment is needed - the appointment should be within a reasonable time of initiating the request.

8. It should be obligatory on the part of every diplomatic mission or foreign mission to allocate sufficient resources in their foreign missions to properly serve the demand for consular services that arise in the host nation.

9. Every nation must ensure that all foreign diplomatic missions and missions in their territory satisfy these guidelines.

10. It should be possible to get a response on a visa application, after initiating procedures - and based on objective criteria - within a reasonable time of the application being submitted.

11. The diplomatic mission must make every effort to act in a manner that purges the impression of irrationality and adhocism in the visa application procedure.

RESOLUTION 2

RESOLUTION ON DESTRUCTION OF DEMOCRACY, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AGAINST FIJIAN INDIANS AND VIOLATION OF THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS

The Global Convention of people of Indian origin meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, July 21st - July 23rd, 2000

RECOGNISING that since the usurpation of democracy in Fiji by a group of extremist Melanesian Fijian terrorists on 19 May 2000, violation of human rights continue to take place against the ethnic Indian community and the people at large, and

RECOGNISING that a hostile atmosphere has been created against women of Indian origin in Fiji and there have been serious accusations of criminal actions including rape and harassment against women of Indian origin in Fiji,

FURTHER RECOGNISING that this has given rise to a significant potential refugee situation, denial of rightful access of people to their homes and property, widespread fear and inhuman treatment of Fijian people of Indian origin, and

NOTING that the setting up of the military appointed regime, based on overt racial discrimination, outlined in a recently publicised Blue Plan, successfully completes the coup by the the Fiji Military Forces - which commenced with the hostage taking of the democraticaly elected government followed by abbrogation of the 1997 constitution and which deliberately ignores the constitutional options open to it, and

ALSO NOTING that the illegitimate regime established under the current circumstances continue to violate international norms and practices and that the military has substantially given in to the demands of the terrorists who had planned and executed widespread looting, violence and burning of Fiji Indian businesses and homes in several parts of Fiji,

CALLS UPON the Commonwealth of Nations to immediately terminate Fiji from the its membership,

AND CALLS UPON the United Nations Organisation, the European Union and the Commonwealth of Nations to

1) take a firm and clear position and guide the international community of nations to deal with the Fiji crisis decisively and resolve to restore the 1997 constitution and thus the constitutionally elected government in Fiji,

2) urge the international community not to recognise the illegitimate government in Fiji,

3) urge all the civilised nations to place smart sanctions that include ban on official sporting contacts and trade and termination of all bilateral assistance to the military,

4) call upon all democratic and civilised nations to curtail and substantially downgrade all diplomatic engagement with Fiji,

5) call upon all democratic and civilised nations to adopt a unified front on suspension of all non-humanitarian aid and technical assistance,

6) urge all civilized and democratic nations to set in place travel bans on the terrorists, their active supporters, the military council of advisors and all members of the illegitimate government who actively support the terrorists,

7) work towards resettling evicted farmers, refugees and affected squatter communities,

8) urge all appropriate authorities to take immediate action and bring justice to all women victims,

AND ADDITIONALLY CALLS UPON the United Nations Organization to

9) immedaitely terminate Fiji Military Forces participation in United Nation peacekeeping duties on the grounds that its activities contravene the United Nations Charter on peace and human rights,

10) to estabilish facts on human rights violation and racial discrimination against Fijian Indians under the auspices of the UN High Commission on Human Rights,

11) to institute legal procedings against those who committed serious terrorist crimes and have now been pardoned by the amenesty decree under the auspices of the International Tribunal,

12) to call on all concerned around the world to extend their support to the Fiji womens crisis center which is dealing with the ramifications of the current situation of women, and

13) generally ensure the safety and security of Fiji's Indian population.

RESOLUTION 3

RESOLUTIONS ON PROBLEMS OF RETURNING NON-RESIDENT INDIANS FROM THE MIDDLE EAST

WHEREAS in the last three decades, the Non Resident Indians in the Middle East have been contributing substantial foreign exchange remittances,

NOTING that this foreign exchange played an important role in helping India tide over a foreign exchange crisis a few years ago,

WHEREAS a recent study released by the University of Kerala reveals that a large number of non-resident Indians that have returned from Middle Eastern Countries are facing serious financial problems, and

NOTING that these financial problems lead to various social problems in the adjustment of the returning communities, and

NOTING that this alarming situation arising out of the apalling plight of non-resident Indians is a huge problem in the state of Kerala, and

FURTHER NOTING that this situation also applies in many other Indian States,

The Global Convention of people of Indian origin meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, July 21st - July 23rd, 2000

URGES the Government of India, the Government of Kerala and the other states to immediately take appropriate action to mitigate social and economic problems facing Non-resident Indian returnees from the Middle East.

RESOLUTION 4

RESOLUTION ON HUMAN TRIGHTS VIOLATIONS ON THE DOWNTRODDEN PEOPLE OF INDIA

RECOGNISING the prevailing situation in certain Indian states where blatant violation of human rights and atrocities on Dalits are a day to day affair,

AND TAKING SERIOUS NOTE OF innocent Dalit women and children being persistently kept under bonded labor by upper cast landlords,

The Global Convention of people of Indian origin meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, July 21st - July 23rd, 2000

URGES the Central and State Governments in India to immediately arrest the culprits and bring them to justice for having committed heinous crimes to the helpless downtrodden, and

FURTHER URGES the Central Government for the reinstallation of the portrait of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in the Ministry of Social Justice and Welfare which was removed earlier, and

DEMANDS that Government of India take strong and immediate action to disband all private armies such as the Ranbir Sena in Bihar.

RESOLUTION 5

RESOLUTION ON KILLINGS OF PRIESTS OF MINORITY COMMUNITIES

The Global Convention of people of Indian origin meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, July 21st - July 23rd, 2000

STRONGLY CONDEMNS the killings of the Buddhist Monks in Ladakh (Kashmir) and the clergy of other minority religions, and

DEMANDS the Central and State Governments to provide safety and security to all priests and monks of minority religious communities and bring the perpetrators of such violence to justice.

RESOLUTION 6

RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF A GUYANA CONSULATE IN NEW DELHI

WHEREAS, The fore-parents of a majority of Guyana's population came from India as indentured immigrants to serve on sugar plantations following the abolition of slavery in 1833 (8 in every 10 Indo-Caribbeans came from Uttar Pradesh); and

WHEREAS, A vast number of third and fourth generation of descendants of this population has been emigrating to England and North America (United States and Canada) since the 1950's and are still uncertain over their rightful place in society, as well as, lacking a true historical perspective; and

WHEREAS, all three sets of Indo-Caribbean populations (living in Guyana, England, and North America) have been driven by historical, and philosophical forces to re-connect with the country (India) that has given birth to their fore-parents, their religion, their culture, their music, and their philosophy, and

WHEREAS, Indo-Caribbeans living in Guyana, and more so, those living in England and North America, have been making regular tours to that country (India) in ever increasing numbers, in the quest also of strengthening their ethnic pride, which had been battered for decades; and

WHEREAS, many countries, including the United States, are smart enough to seek a foothold in that country (India) because of its potentially huge consumer market size, as well as, its status as a powerhouse in formation technology and science;

BE IT NOW RESOLVED that the Guyana Government take cognizance of these developments, and take appropriate measures to re-establish the Guyana Consulate in New Delhi to address not only our economic needs and opportunities, but also, the ever expanding consular requirements of Indo-Caribbeans who now make regular trips to India.

Among the co-sponsors of this resolution are Guyana Youth Corp and other prominent Indo-Caribbean cultural organizations.