Preparations for anti-racism conference move forward

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay lauded remarkable progress made in the preparations for the upcoming anti-racism Durban Review Conference. At a meeting in Geneva of the working group established to negotiate a draft outcome document for the conference, the High Commissioner told delegates that “the fight against racism and intolerance demands prompt and sustained action.”

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay  - © OHCHR Nepal Photo “I am firmly convinced that the current text contains all the elements that would foster and underpin a consensual outcome of the Durban Review Conference,” the High Commissioner said in her opening address to the working group, which is meeting from 6 to 9 April.

The Durban Review Conference, which will be held in Geneva from 20 to 24 April, will assess implementation of commitments made by governments at the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africa.

At its session on 6 April, the working group formally adopted the most recent version of the draft outcome text, proposed by its Chairman last month, as the basis for further negotiations.

Pillay expressed her “sincere gratitude to all those who have shown flexibility in the drafting process and have accommodated different points of view, while maintaining a principled position.”

“Such good will has enabled the Chairman to craft a text that is both comprehensive and widely welcomed,” she said.

The current session of the working group will be followed by a Preparatory Committee meeting, from 15 to 17, before the conference begins on 20 April.

“We can reasonably expect that success in two weeks will shore up not only the fight against discrimination and intolerance, but also the human rights programme and mechanisms that we all have endeavoured to create and pursue.

“With unity in purpose we can hope to alleviate the plight of countless victims of racism at home and abroad,” said the High Commissioner.

April 2009