Press Release



(Reissued as received.)

GENEVA, 12 March (UN Information Service) -- The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination this morning discussed organizational matters, including an update on recent preparatory work for the upcoming World Conference against Racism.

Committee Expert Gay McDougall briefed the other experts on last week's open-ended Working Group for the Preparatory Committee of the World Conference against Racism that is crafting a draft proposal of the final declaration and programme of action for the World Conference, which will take place in Durban, South Africa, from 31 August to 7 September.

Ms. McDougall told the Committee that the Working Group had reached no firm conclusions, but would convene again in a special intermediate intersessional meeting before the final Preparatory Committee was held in late May.

It was also announced that United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, who was the Secretary-General of the World Conference, would address the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 14 March.

Expert Patricia Nozipho January-Bardill said there was criticism at last week's Working Group that the results of the regional meetings were not included in the draft proposal of the final declaration and programme of action.  Although the Committee and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had participated in the Working Group, their concerns might not be reflected in the final draft.

The Committee also discussed the length of interventions allowed when experts were reviewing State parties reports.  It also considered a proposal by Committee Rapporteur Marc Bossuyt about reforming aspects of the reporting process.

The Committee experts taking part in the discussion were Mahmoud Aboul-Nasr, Marc Bossuyt, Patricia Nozipho January-Bardill, Gay McDougall, Raghavan Vasudevan Pillai, Yuri Rechetov, Agha Shahi, Tang Chengyuan, Ion Diaconu, Patrick Thornberry, Francois Lonseny Fall, Luis Valencia Rodriguez and Committee Chairman Michael Sherifis.

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