Independent Eminent Experts’ Group


Introduction

Adopted by consensus at the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa, the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) is a comprehensive, action-oriented document that proposes concrete measures to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. The DDPA embodies a victim-oriented approach to problems of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the firm commitment of the international community to tackle them at the national, regional and international level

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.

Recent appointments of new experts

In May 2018, the Secretary-General appointed the following independent eminent experts:

  • Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, CFR, OCORT, a scholar-diplomat, is the Founder/Chairman of the Board of Directors of Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development (Nigeria)
  • Dr. Saied A. Ashshowwaf, Associate Professor of Strategic Planning, Member of the Saudi Human Rights Council (Saudi Arabia)

Current members

  • African States: Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, CFR, OCORT, a scholar-diplomat, is the Founder/Chairman of the Board of Directors of Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development
  • Asia-Pacific States: Dr. Saied A. Ashshowwaf, Associate Professor of Strategic Planning, Member of the Saudi Human Rights Council
  • Eastern European States: Her Excellency Hanna Suchocka, former Prime Minister of Poland;
  • Latin American and Caribbean States: Dr. Edna Maria Santos Roland of Brazil, General Rapporteur of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance;
  • Western European and other States: Vacant

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]

Fourth meeting 
The fourth meeting took place in Geneva, on 28 April 2015.
Note by the Secretariat
[English | Russian]

Note by the Secretariat 2016
English

Note by the Secretariat 2017
English

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