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Independent Eminent Experts’ Group


Introduction

The World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban in 2001, adopted the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. This document records a commitment by Governments, intergovernmental organizations, national human rights institutions and civil society organizations, including non-governmental organizations, to work together to eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. It is a comprehensive and action-oriented road map, offering a functional common approach to realize the principles of equality and non-discrimination.

The Durban Programme of Action requests "the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in follow-up to the Conference, to cooperate with five independent eminent experts, one from each region, appointed by the Secretary-General from among candidates proposed by the Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, after consultation with the regional groups, to follow the implementation of the provisions of the Declaration and Programme of Action." (para. 191(b))

Pursuant to this recommendation, General Assembly resolution 56/266 of 27 March 2002:

[ r ] equests the Secretary-General, in accordance with the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, to appoint five independent eminent experts, one from each region, from among candidates proposed by the Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, after consultation with the regional groups, to follow the implementation of the provisions of the Declaration and Programme of Action.

The independent eminent experts

On 16 June 2003, the Secretary-General appointed the following five independent eminent experts:

  • His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan; 
  • Mr. Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari, former President of Finland; 
  • Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, former Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, former Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity and former President of the United Nations General Assembly; 
  • Her Excellency Hanna Suchocka, former Prime Minister of Poland; and 
  • Dr. Edna Maria Santos Roland of Brazil, General Rapporteur of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

The mandate of the independent eminent experts' group

Referring to the need to keep the mandate under constant review, the Commission on Human Rights, in resolution 2003/30 decided on the following readjustment of the terms of reference of the independent eminent experts' group (para. 21):

"(a) To follow the implementation of the provisions of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and assist the High Commissioner in preparing his annual progress report to the Commission and to the General Assembly based on information and views provided by States, relevant human rights treaty bodies, special procedures and other mechanisms of the Commission, international, regional and non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions;

"(b) Bearing in mind the recommendations of the [Intergovernmental] Working Group, to assist the High Commissioner in the assessment and evaluation of the existing international standards and instruments to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance with a view to preparing complementary standards."

In resolution 59/177 the Assembly

"[e]mphasize[d] the central role to be played by the group of independent eminent experts in mobilizing the necessary political will required for the successful implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action" (para. 36)

and

"[r]equest[ed] in that context the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to convene the second meeting of the group of independent eminent experts before the sixty-first session of the Commission on Human Rights to produce a concrete programme of action related to their mandate, based on the core values for racial equality and dignity as elaborated in the outcome document of their first meeting, held from 16 to 18 September 2003" (para. 41).


See also

Meetings:

First meeting
The first meeting took place in Geneva from 16 to 18 September 2003.
Report: E/CN.4/2004/112 [Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish]

Second meeting
The second meeting took place in Geneva from 21 to 23 February 2005.
Provisional agenda: E/CN.4/2005/WG.24/1 [English | French | Spanish]
Report: E/CN.4/2005/125 [Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish]
and Corr. 1 [Chinese | English | Russian]

Third meeting
The third meeting took place in Geneva, on 4 February 2014.
Report: A/HRC/26/56 [English | Spanish]

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