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UN human rights experts welcome OAS adoption of key racism and discrimination conventions

Geneva, 12 June 2013. UN human rights experts have hailed the adoption by the Organization of American States of two key anti-discrimination conventions as an important tool in protecting and promoting the rights of victims of historic wrongs in the Americas and tackling discrimination in all its forms.

OAS member states, meeting in Guatemala, on 6 June adopted the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance and the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance.

UN experts congratulated the OAS for “resolutely pressing forward on issues of vital importance for the Americas, namely the effective promotion of equality and the elimination of all forms of discrimination and racism”.

The Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Related Forms of Intolerance reaffirms the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

This Convention, the experts said, would strengthen the recognition, enjoyment, exercise, and protection, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples, people of African descent, and other groups facing racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance.

UN experts also highlighted the progressiveness of the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance. It is the first legally binding instrument against discrimination on the basis of “nationality, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, language, religion, cultural identity, political or other opinion, social origin, socioeconomic position, level of education, migration status, status of refugee or repatriated, stateless, or internally displaced person, disability, genetic characteristic, mental or physical health status, including infectious or contagious disease status, or psychologically disabling condition, or for any other reason.”

The experts urged the speedy ratification of the Conventions that will consolidate the rule of law, justice, democracy and peace in the region.
The experts: Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent; James ANAYA, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples ; Rita IZSÁK, Independent Expert on minority issues and Mutuma RUTEERE, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

For more information on:
Working Group on People of African Descent (WGPAD): http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Racism/WGAfricanDescent/Pages/WGEPADIndex.aspx
Independent Expert on Minority Issues: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/minorities/expert/

Special Rapporteur Against Racism : http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/rapporteur/
Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples : http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/rapporteur/
For more information and media requests, please contact Sandra Aragon (+41 22 928 93 93 / sarangonhchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Liz Throssell (+41 22 917 9434/ ethrossell@ohchr.org) or Cecile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310/cpouilly@ohchr.org)
UN Human Rights – Media Unit

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