RESOLUTIONS PASSED AT THE FIRST GLOBAL CONVENTION OF PEOPLE OF INDIAN ORIGIN
August 27th to September 3rd. 1989, Sheraton Centre, New York, U.S.A.
Sponsored by National Federation of Indian-American Associations (NFIA)
- Prakash Parekh, Chairperson, Resolution Committee
RESOLUTION ONVIOLATION OF POLITICAL AND CIVIL RIGHTS OF PEOPLE OF INDIAN ORIGIN
The First Global Convention of people of Indian origin meeting in new York, USA, 27th Aug – 3rd Sept. 1989
REAFFIRMS its absolute faith and belief in the basic human rights of all people enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
Notes with Concern that in many countries of the world – more particularly in Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia, Surinam, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Trinidad – where people of Indian origin comprise a significant proportion of the people, their civil and political, as well as, social and cultural rights are under constant assault.
Express Grave Concern at the deterioration in the political climate of these countries leading to ethnic violence, hostility and tension.
Condemns the oppressive measures and legislation through which racial discrimination in its most abhorrent form is practiced against the people of Indian origin, thereby denying or depriving them of their fundamental rights as citizens of their countries.
Calls upon the United Nations to set up a Special Committee to examine the situation in these countries and to make appropriate recommendation to the UN General Assembly.
And further Urges that the United Nations act with due urgency to implement appropriate measures aimed at eliminating racial discrimination and oppression of people of Indian Origin in these countries.
UNITED NATIONS ACTION ON PROPOSED CONSTITUTION FOR FIJI
Acknowledging that stability, existence and democracy can only be sustained if all citizens are equal partners in national enterprise, and that racial segregation and inequality in parliamentary representation are not only divisive but abhorrent,
Noting with extreme concern Fiji Government’s efforts to legislate unequal and reduced representation for Indo-Fijians and establish a constitutional basis for racial segregation,
The First Global Convention for People of Indian Origin
Urges the United Nations to recognize that these proposed measures will lead to the creation of an apartheid state which will severely restrict the rights of Indo-Fijians as full and equal citizens of the country and calls upon the United Nations to condemn the proposed constitution and take diplomatic and other measures to reverse Fiji’s rapid regression into an apartheid state.
APPEAL FOR A MANDATORY DECLARATION ON THE NEW INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ORDER
Conscious of the fact that Mankind is passing through one of History’s major transitions, manifested outwardly in the converging neighbourhood of mankind and inwardly in the planetization of Consciousness,
(2) Moved by a Deep Concern that the exploding world population, the growing gap between the rich and the poor, Man and the nature, the North and the South, might result in a Neo-Malthusian catastrophe and international class war,
(3) Feeling that these threats can in the long run be averted only within the framework of a reshaped World Order that concedes the fundamental Freedoms and minimum welfare quarantees or opportunities to every individual as an inalienable Right of her/his workd citizenship,
(4) Recognizing that a truly Multipolar Global System as the con-Federation of the evolving regional sub-systems guided by an image of Man that transcends the Eurocentric view of History granting the legitimate living-space to non-Western Peoples and civilizations is the basis of such a world citizenship.
(5) Convinced that in the evolving process of the postwar era since the birth of the united Nations and the colonial independence, the succeeding stages of the NEW INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ORDER (NIEO, and the NEW INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ORDER (NIPO) are historically inevitable,
(6) Acknowledging that India’s Democracy is a stabilizing factor of world peace, and SEEING clearly that, in view of the population explosion in the Indian subcontinent, India’s constitutional structure and legacy vis-à-vis her neighbours and the diaspora Overseas Indian communities can be maintained and enlarged only within a specific South Asian framework underpinning such as Multipolar World Order, and
(7) believing that such a Multipolar World can be brought about only by building up further from the NIEO through the recommendations of the noted UN Reports of Willy Brandt, Olof Palme, Gro H. Brundtland, and Delhi Declaration, India’s Proposal for the Total Denuclearization by 2010, and similar initiatives of like-minded governments and statesmen in the East and the West, the North and the South, including those of the GLASNOST and PERESTROIKA, as well as the appeal of the leaders of the South to the recent Paris Summit of the Group 7 for restructuring the International system as a condition of the North-South accommodation.
THIS FIRST GLOBAL CONVENTION OF PEOPLE OF INDIAN ORIGIN appeals the United Nations to resolve in favor of a NEW INTERNATIONAL POLIGICAL ORDER in realizing a more equitable, conflict-free, co-existing and non-discriminatory human community offering the fundamental Freedoms and minimum welfare guarantees to every inhabitant of this Planet as a natural right of the world citizenship.
FURTHERMORE, this Convention appeals to the Government of India, in consonance with all other interested and concerned members of the United Nations and the Secretary General of the UN, to declare the goal of the NEW INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ORDER as mandatory and fundamental goal of the coming decade and pursue the same to the maximum possible extent in intellectual, institutional, and political terms.
CHOGAM INITIATIVE OF FIJI
NOTING with alarm that political developments in Fiji in the aftermath of the military coups have pushed Fiji towards an apartheid state similar to South Africa and
RECOGNIZING the Commonwealth’s offer to mediate the search for a just political solution that caters to the interests of all of Fiji’s peoples, The First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin
CALLS UPON the member states of the Commonwealth to exert additional pressure until such time as a democratically elected government under a constitution that guarantees racial equality and harmony is restored;
FURTHER REQUESTS it to institute new initiatives at the October Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kuala Lampur that could aid the quick resolution of the Fiji crisis.
(to be forwarded to the Secretary General of Commonwealth and copies to all Commonwealth Heads of Government)
RESOLUTION ON FIJI
RECOGNIZING that racial equality is a fundamental tenet of democracy in any society;
NOTING with great concern the violent breach of this fundamental tenet of democracy by the Fijian military and the subsequent authoritarian regimes in Fiji;
REALISING that the people of Indian origin in Fiji are systematically discriminated in political, social, economic, and educational fields;
ACKNOWLEDGING that under these circumstances the struggle of the Fiji Indians for racial equality and democracy is just and consistent with internationally accepted norms,
The First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin
COMMENDS the Fiji-Indian people for the courage and sacrifice in the struggle, and
- International support and assistance be mobilized in support of the Fiji Indian struggle, and
- Any institution(s) emerging from this Convention support and provide practical assistance to the cause of the Fiji Indian struggle.
ETHNIC CONFLICT IN SRI LANKA
Recognizing that the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has resulted in over twenty thousand civilian deaths, hundred thousand homes destroyed rendering five hundred thousand people homeless, millions of dollars worth of property destroyed, resulting in hundreds of thousands either fleeing the country or becoming refugees in their own land:
Recognizing the past, present, and continuing discrimination against the Tamil speaking people of Sri Lanka by successive Sinhala majority governments:
Recognizing that such discrimination can only be removed by granting equal rights as those enjoyed by the Sinhalese and a devolution of power to the Tamil speaking people who are the majority population in the presently constituted Northeast Province of the Island of Sri Lanka.
The First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin
Calls upon all governments and world bodies to help in stopping the continuing violence and destruction that prevails on the island and urge the Sri Lankan government to take steps to grant the Tamil speaking people full autonomy in the Northeast Province to enable them to fulfill their political aspirations.
Calls on the Sri Lankan government to hold internationally supervised free and fair elections in the Northeast Province to ensure that the will of the people be reflected in the results.
SOUTH AFRICAN RESOLUTION
The First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin.
Recognizing the unjust Apartheid system prevalent in South Africa.
Denouncing the Existence of the state of emergency since June 12, 1986, which has led to further repression by the South African Government of basic human rights.
Noting the reluctance of the South African Government to negotiate with representative organizations and leaders of the South African people.
Hereby resolves to:
- Condemn in the strongest possible terms the unjust and inhuman Apartheid system.
- Calls upon the international community to exert pressure and impose comprehensive and universal sanctions against the South African Government.
- Support the Mass Democratic Movement in South Africa, in particularly the National Indian Congress and to assist towards the goal of a non-racial democratic South Africa.
The convention calls upon the South African Indian community to unite and work in solidarity with all democratic organizations and freedom loving people of South Africa towards dismantling of Apartheid and the creation of just and democratic society.
WHEREAS many independent and neutral observers including the Avebury Commission have documented the flagrant rigging of elections in Guyana and
WHEREAS this practice has repeatedly denied the majority of Guyanese including People of Indian Origin from exercising their democratic rights to choose their government,
This First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin "denounces the government of Guyana for the rigging of election and calls upon the Government to conduct free and fair elections through an independent Elections Commission and the counting of ballots at the place of polling immediately after the poll".
RESOLUTION ON CRIME AND VIOLENCE IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
WHEREAS, the increasing upsurge in acts of systematic and directed criminal violence against Indo-Trinidadian persons, businesses and property have become prevalent without any serious and effective redress by the overwhelmingly Afro-dominated State apparatus.
BE IT RESOLVED that the State redress this gross violation of fundamental human rights to life and property as enshrined in the national constitution and the UN Charter by affording equality and justice to all its citizens regardless of creed and race.
RESOLUTION ON INDIAN CULTURAL CENTRE IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
WHEREAS, the Government of the day in Trinidad and Tobago had advocated a multi-cultural policy in its pre-election manifesto, given the plural nature of our society,
AND WHEREAS, the said Government came to be elected to power on the said manifesto,
AND WHEREAS, the self-same government has reflected the renewal of an offer of a cultural center by the government of India while accepting identical French, American and Venezuelan offers.
BE IT RESOLVED that we request the Government to desist from its practice of cultural aggression and hegemony.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the government revise its presentation o our culture in the international for a and it accept the gift of the Indian Cultural Centre in the Spirit for and serving all citizens of this nation without fear or favour.
RESOLUTION N MULTICULTURALISM
WHERREAS, ethnicity is an essential part of cultural identity
WHEREAS, there is a growing recognition of the right of the individual and groups to retain and promote ethnic identity in an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation.
BE IT RESOLVED: This convention exhorts all governments to actively promote policies of multiculturralism and that all groups, including people of origins in India be given the right to realize their full cultural expression and thus recognize their contribution towards the development of respective national cultures.
RESOLUTION ON STUDY OF COMMUNIITY ISSUES
BE IT RESOLVED that a forum of Social Scientists of Indian Origin and of those Social Scientists interested in people of Indian Origin be formed to undertake on a continuous basis a study of issues that concern this group and make policy recommendations.
RESOLUTION TO PROVIDE EDUCATIONAL NEEDS OF POOREST SECTION OF OVERSEAS INDIAN COMMUNITY
WHEREAS the descendants of Indian indentured workers overseas have historically been denied equal educational opportunities, resulting in a deterioration in their cultural heritage and a severe hindrance to their socio-economic and political advancement,
BE THEREFORE RESOLVED by the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin that a foundation be established to promote and support the efforts of the local constituent organizations in providing for the educational needs of the poorest sections of the Indian Community overseas.
RESOLUTION TO IMPROVE STATUS OF CHILDREN IN INDIA
WHEREAS the children of poor Indian families are economically, physiologically, physically, sexually and socially exploited and are denied their basic human needs and rights,
BE IT RESOLVED that energies and resources of Indian people globally be directed to help improve the status of children, the unprotected and silent constituency of humanity.
RESOLUTION ON MASS MEDIA
WHEREAS, the mass Media gives low exposure to the contributions and achievements of people of Indian Origin and
WHEREAS, the negative stereotype and isolated problems in the Indian communities are highlighted
BE IT RESOLVED that efforts be undertaken to ensure a mass media policy that is fair and just to all Ethnic Groups,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the products in advertisements that accompany or are associated with the negative stereotyping of people of Indian Origin in any country or in any media by boycotted and such a boycott be high publicized.
IMAGES OF INDIA AND INDIANS ABROAD
WHEREAS, the Images of India and the people of Indian Origin are inaccurate,
WHEREAS, the Images of India and the people of Indian Origin are stereotyped,
WHEREAS, information on India and the people of Indian Origin are inadequate,
WE RESOLVE to move, that to correct the situation the majority of the burden lies with the Indian immigrants, Indian journalists and Indian Government to work hand in hand;
-to create a body that will serve as a proactive center to provide correct information and to correct misinformation;
-attempt to improve attitudes and perceptions about India and Indians; and
-to create a data-base to accomplish these aims.
CONFERENCE ON PEOPLE OF INDIAN ORIGIN AND WORLD DEVELOPMENT
REALIZING that Nature and Environment are being destroyed by societies world-wide.
AND that where individuals of society don’t follow a practice, the practice may not survive in society as a whole.
RESOLVED that, from the smallest human living unit, usually family, to all larger agglomerations, including businesses, hi-rises, industrial units, military areas, a significant area be set-aside for Nature to survive and flourish untouched,
AND society learn to live with such new systems.
ON DUAL CITIZENSHIP, REGAINING CITIZENSHIP, VISAS AND TRAVEL TO INDIA
WHEREAS, this is an era of a trend toward global oneness through regional and other cooperative endeavors; and
WHEREAS, the Global communities of the People of Indian Origin highly esteem and seriously attempt to preserve their ethnic, cultural, social and religious values; and
WHEREAS, they represent a tremendous resource in intellectual, technical, scientific professional, trade, and entrepreneurial skills with high potential and keenness to contribute to the well-being and prosperity of the countries of their domicile and India; and
WHEREAS, the foreign academic communities are most supportive of India’s role in the world; and
WHEREAS, the Government of India has recently liberalized its visa policies; and
WHEREAS, the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin is strongly of the view that further fundamental changes and improvements are essential to maximize cooperation.
It is hereby resolved to adopt the following Resolution:
DUAL CITIZENSHIP – The government of India should consider further liberalizing dual nationality privileges for Indians permanently settled abroad on a country-by-country basis after careful consideration of all aspects of the question.
In light of the statement made by Minister of State for External Affairs on July 13, 1989 on this question, this Global Convention further resolves that the Paper entitled "Some Aspects of Nationality of Indian Resident Abroad" presented by the Foundation for Critical Choices for India at this Global Convention should be sent to the Prime Minister of India for examination.
Pending a decision on dual citizenship, foreign passport holders of Indian origin should be granted long-term visas for India and/or:
b) Visas for visits to India for business should be multilateral with a validity of two years.
c) Visas for visits to India to see relatives, for tourism, or emergency should be multiple entry which a validity of five years with duration of each stay of up to six months.
The U.S.A. grants multilateral visas valid for 5 years with each visit of up to 6 months.
d) Liberalize study and research visas for members of foreign academic communities in order to encourage academic exchange.
The government of India might consider encouraging the provision of housing, medical, exercise and entertainment facilities, at reasonable cost.
Emotional fulfillment of Non-Resident Indians (NRI’S) and their relatives and friends in India and countries of residence of NRIs will be the significant benefits of this development.
The excursion fares should be valid for six months, if not one year. The Government of India and/or Air India should take all steps necessary to bring this about by the year 1991.
- Create a status of PERMANENT RESIDENT ALIEN in India, giving the people of Indian Origin who have U.S. or other citizenship, an Alien Registration Certificate on the lines of the so-called "Green Card" Alien Certificate of Registration given by the U.S.A.
- VISAS – a) In regard to payment for and applying for visas, government of India should examine facilitating things further.
- Income tax clearance should be waived for a six month visit to India in order to reduce procedural, time-consuming demands upon the visitor.
- Regaining Indian citizenship has recently been made far more arduous. Senior Citizens whose life expectancy is naturally shorter, are prevented from making definitive plans because of the length of the stay required in India before becoming eligible to apply for resuming Indian citizenship. This required stay should be reduced to one year.
- Privileged to return to India after retirement – A number of countries welcome such retirement in the country of origin. Foreign exchange resources; technical, scientific, and other skills; pools of highly talented volunteers are some of the benefits.
- The government of India might consider exempting NRIs settling down in India from income tax on pension social security and other retirement benefits.
- EXCURSION FARES – When initiated some year ago, the excursion fares were valid for one year from the date of travel. They are now available only for 120 days. Travellers had started getting them extended on medical grounds, which sometimes were contrived. The price of excursion fares are already quite high now.
- BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that an autonomous high-powered body, such as an Indian Council for Overseas Indians, be established in India to remain constantly in tough with the apex bodies of people of Indian Origin settled abroad with a view to formulating policies and handling issues.
- BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that copies of this Resolution shall be forwarded to the Prime Minister of India, other appropriate authorities, and interested parties.
INDIA AND PEOPLE OF INDIAN ORIGIN ROLE, RESPONSIBILITY, RELATIONSHIP
The following RESOLUTION is offered to meet one of the key objectives of the First global Convention of People of Indian Origin. The objective being to identify a role for Overseas Indians in India’s development by developing a match between India’s Concerns and Needs and the resources of Overseas Indians.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT THIS BODY, establish a top-notch "brain trust" of Overseas Indians on specific 10 core areas of concern and needs that can help the masses in India. These brain trusts are to be coordinated by an office Overseas (probably New York), its counterpart in Delhi.
The ten core areas are:
- Bio Tech
The list is to be expanded later.
The input from the brain trust would then be provided to appropriate agencies in India.
RESOLUTION ON PROVERTY IN INDIA
BE IT RESOLVED by the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin that this body should
Work towards the elimination of poverty in India by encouraging the Government of India and all kinds of NGO’s to strengthen current poverty alleviation measures and for the NGO’s to continue to act as catalysts for change; strongly recommend a people’s movement to eradicate illiteracy and specifically call for enhancing the literacy rate in 1990, the International Literacy Year; and further calls upon the People of Indian Origin to create an India Literacy Fund with voluntary contributions for NRI’s; strongly recommends other systemic changes to alleviate and eradicate poverty and reallocation of resources towards the development of intrastructure in the rural areas.
ROLE OF COMMUNITY GROUPS FOR INDIA’S DEVELOPMENT
BE IT RESOLVED that steps be taken to highlight the importance of people like Dr. Ambedkar and bring to light their contributions towards the upliftment of the down-trodden.
BE IT RESOLVED that Medical and Social Projects which are undertaken by Overseas Indians need administrative, political and financial support. A proper mechanism by the government of India should be devised to utilize this great economic and human potential of people of Indian Origin.
BE IT RESOLVED that projects of human and economic value such as interlinking of Indian National Rivers should receive a priority consideration at the highest level of thinking and action by Academicians, Administrators, Political elites and decision making bodies.
NEW YORK DECLARATION
ACKNOWLEDGING the growing interdependence of the World Community;
MARVELING at the reach of human ingenuity at exploring the vast expanses of the Universe;
EXCITED at the prospects of enhanced human freedom and human dignity in many parts of the world;
RECOGNIZING a strong cultural bond between India and the people of Indian Origin living abroad;
DEEPLY AWARE of the significant contributions of the people of Indian Origin in their adopted countries, and the equally important role they are capable of playing in India’s life;
The First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin
RECORDS its deep appreciation to the convenors, officers and volunteers involved in organizing this outstanding the most successful conference; and salutes our hosts for their hard work and warm hospitality.
RESOLUTION OF INDIAN WOMEN
WHEREAS, it has been found that first Global Convention of People of Indian Origin failed to address and incorporate women’s issues and concerns – economic, social, political, etc.;
WHEREAS, a fair and effective representation of women at such forums in a convention of this nature is essential;
BE IT RESOLVED that in future forums, conferences and conventions of people of Indian Origin, a significant component of the agenda be devoted to the issues and concerns of women. Every effort must be made to liberate the Indian Women’s Talents, energies and economic potential in order for women to participate equally and along with men not only in all spheres of human activities but also in hopes, dreams and rewards.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in the future forums, conferences and conventions women will be accorded equal opportunity and dignity in voicing their views as is traditionally accorded to men and that in the future forums and conventions, women will be accorded equal opportunity and dignity in voicing their opinions and views and that in future substantial representation by women panelists be ensured and that a significant number of women be involved in decision making process at all levels of Global effort directed towards realization of hopes and dreams of people of Indian Origin.
Resolutions at Global Indian Convention '99 September 24-26, 1999 New York, NY, USA
Resolution on Guyana
WHEREAS all citizens of Guyana are duly entitled to equal justice and freedom as provided under United Nations charters, AND recognizing that on January 12, 1998, Indians were brutally attacked and harmed for bring Indians, AND cognizant of the accusations of independent organizations such as the Women's Progressive Organizations (WPO), the woman's arm of the ruling People's Progressive Party (PPP), denouncing the public stripping of an Indian Guyanese woman on January 12th, 1998, AND the Guyanese Indian Foundation Trust (GIFT) investigation and documentation of 228 cases of Indians being cursed, beaten, molested, robbed and terrorized, WE, the delegates of the 10th Conference of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) call upon the Government of Guyana to set up an Independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate such incidents in the future and to ensure ethnic balance in all Government bodies, including the security forces.
Maintenance of First Language
It is generally recognized that our first language is intimately related to our culture, our value systems, our folklore, our traditions, our community - in fact, as much that we hold dear in our hearts. No matter how many foreign or second languages we might subsequently acquire, there is nothing to beat the first language in the profundity and subtlety it affords us as a means of self-expression, social communications and, most of all, as a powerful instrument to define our national, religious and spiritual identities. We also note in this context that for people of Indian origin, English has long occupied a nodal role in their lives. This role has, to be sure, benefited us in a variety of ways. It has opened to us innumerable vistas in science, technology, modern thought and world literature. Furthermore, it has played a critical role in knitting out country together where linguistic diversity has prevented inter-regional communication and national cohesion. This 10th Anniversary Conference of GOPIO strongly recommends that we Indians, wherever we live, make special efforts to maintain out respective languages of birth. We must deliberately choose those languages to communicate within the four walls of our homes, in our social circles and - most important - we must ensure that our future generations never, ever loose touch with them.
PIO ID Card
This 10th Anniversary Conference of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin held in New York on September 24-26, 1999 commends the Government of India for its promulgation of the much-needed PIO identification card. While this card falls seriously short of the goal of dual citizenship that has successfully been adopted by various other states, it certainly is step in the right direction and one that must, sooner rather than later, lead to dual citizenship. Furthermore, the PIO card, which is currently limited to the third generation of Indian expatriates, should be extended to cover up the sixth generation. For people of Indian Origin who migrated in large numbers over 150 years ago should not be discriminated against. At the same time, we strongly feel that the fee required for the acquisition of the card is too enormous and is beyond the reach of tens of thousands of Indians living abroad. We urge the Government of India to reduce the fee to no more than $250, so as to make it accessible and useful for a majority of our expatriates. We hope the Government of India will accord due consideration to this proposal.
People of Indian Origin living in the United States are experiencing a serious problem in an important area of their lives. Because of a paucity of available matches in this country, those of marriageable age often need to travel back to India to find life partners and generally they succeed in doing so. However, after marriage their spouses need US visas to be able to immigrate here and join their husbands or wives. Unfortunately, this turns out to be a long-drawn-out process extending, in some cases, to 6 or 7 years. Such a long period is wholly unacceptable to the newly married and is prone to lead to many misunderstandings, misgivings and suspicions. In a number of cases, it leads to even divorce. In order to alleviate the situation and reduce unnecessary separation and suffering for this group, the US government needs to accord special priority to the visa applications of the newly married. "Family reunion," a recognized international human right, is accepted by the US government also, but it needs to be applied more assertively and effectively to sanctioning visas speedily to the newly married. This 10th Anniversary Conference of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin urges the US Immigration and Naturalization Service to make sure that the visa applications of the newly married in India are processed as a special case within one year from the date of application.