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"Racial Profiling An Issue At Aviation Security Conference"

Thursday, February 21, 2002

Racial Profiling An Issue At Aviation Security Conference

MONTREAL (AP)--A bloc of nations including Saudi Arabia, China and India
called Wednesday for a halt to racial profiling at airports as part of
enhanced security measures after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"Such unacceptable practices...only succeed in causing insult and injury
to individuals discriminated upon, creating rancor, and being totally
inconsistent with the fundamental principles of civil aviation," said a
paper from 17 countries presented to an international conference on
aviation security.

The conference of the International Civil Aviation Organization - a
187-nation U.N. body - was expected to endorse an action plan later
Wednesday that would include mandatory audits of aviation security in
member countries and other measures to combat terrorism in civil

A draft of the final declaration includes a paragraph in which members
declare a commitment to implement security measures "in a manner which
is objective and non-prejudicial."

That is softer language than the letter, which recommended that ICAO
member countries "declare their rejection of discrimination and racial
profiling at international and domestic airports."

The letter also urges wealthier nations to help poorer ones to pay for
necessary security measures.

"There is a compelling need to establish a practical and effective
financing program in order to strengthen aviation security facilities in
states which need assistance," said the letter from Algeria, Cameroon,
China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Saudi
Arabia, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Paraguay, Senegal and Zambia.

ICAO President Assad Kotaite said the audits would cost $17 million to
conduct, and the ICAO had $2 million to contribute.

On Tuesday, the U.S. pledged $1 million this year and more money in the
next two years for the audit program.

U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Michael Jackson said evaluating
security at airports and airlines was a necessary part of new strategies
required in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Along with the pledge of U.S. funding, Jackson said his country will
continue to provide assistance to others "trying to come into compliance
with ICAO standards."

Jackson also called for stricter security measures aboard planes,
including stronger cockpit doors and better training for flight staff to
prevent attacks.

"The terrorists will look for the weakest link in the chain to access
flights internationally," Jackson said. "It would be foolhardy to think
only the United States is the target of terrorist ill will."

The "Aviation Security Plan of Action" calls for "universal, regular,
mandatory, systematic and harmonized" audits of security standards and
practices recommended by the organization.

While the ICAO lacks enforcement power, Kotaite noted that countries
failing to meet its recommendations risked a loss of international air

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