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New Version of Draft Outcome Document for anti-racism Durban Review Conference Released

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, on Wednesday welcomed the release of a revised version of the draft outcome document for the upcoming Durban Review Conference, which starts on Monday 20 April.

Palais des Nations in Geneva © UN photoThe new text, prepared by the chair of a working group charged with developing the draft outcome document, was presented to States at the start of a Preparatory Committee meeting which is being held the week before the Review Conference itself. 

In her opening statement to the meeting, Pillay urged delegates “to transcend their differences and find consensus.”

The17-page text is a revision of a “rolling text” published by the chair of the working group, Russian diplomat Yuri Boychenko, on 17 March. He expressed hope that the new version, based on extensive consultations with States, would meet the concerns of all delegations and could be adopted by consensus.

The Durban Review Conference is intended to take stock of progress and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), a landmark anti-racism document that was agreed by consensus at the end of the 2001 World Summit against Racism in Durban, South Africa.

“Eight years on, anti-racism pledges and measures have not yet succeeded in relegating discriminatory practices and intolerance to the heap of history’s repugnant debris,” said Pillay. “The goals set out in the DDPA have not been achieved. This reality should prompt us to seek common grounds where to move the struggle against racism forward. The tools and capacity for achieving the goals outlined in the DDPA are within reach if we remain committed to those objectives.”

The High Commissioner has urged all states to take part in the conference, stressing the importance of combating racism, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance. “Lives are at stake,” Pillay told the assembled delegates at the meeting. “The future and hope of countless victims of racism lie in your hands.”

April 2009