DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA ,September 03, 2001

Your Excellencies, Madam Chairperson, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:

I thank you most sincerely, Madam Chairperson, for the opportunity to address this timely and important conference on one of the most challenging and pressing; issues of our time - the problems and pains of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice of Ghana salutes the evils and United Nations, the Governments of the world and civil society groups, especially National Human Rights Institutions and human rights NGOs, for their vigorous and sincere efforts to combat the tragic consequences of exclusion, isolation, marginalization, exploitation and victimization based on race, colour, ancestry, ethnic or place of origin, language and religion. In this regard, Madam Chairperson, we recognize that the collective activities of the United Nations, National Human Rights Institutions and human rights NGOs contribute, among other things, to the promotion of a sense of belonging, racial and ethic harmony, and peace and security in the world - values which lie at the heart of our human rights struggles.

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice of Ghana fully endorses the Johannesburg Declaration of National Human Rights Institutions read by Dr. Barney Pityana, Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, on behalf of the National Human Rights Institutions. The Declaration and its accompanying Plan of Action are pragmatic and well-considered, and provide a realistic blueprint for follow-up activities. The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice of Ghana would like to recommend for the serious consideration of National Human Rights Commissions the importance of undertaking the following set of activities in order to better ~romote inter-group harmony, prevent racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance:

1. To incorporate themes of positive inter-group relations, multiculturalism, minority rights and peace building in their public education programs;
2. To work with Governments, educational authorities and other relevant institutions to integrate human rights, anti-racism, tolerance, diversity, peace and respect for others into the school curricula;
3. To work with the media to disseminate information on the value of multiculturalism, appreciation of racial and ethnic diversity, and to avoid ethnic profiling or stereotyping of any
4. To collaborate with national Governments and human rights NGOs in the development of comprehensive National Plans of Action to actively foster inter-group harmony;
5. To place significant emphasis on the teaching of conflict resolution skills, especially mediation and conciliation, as effective tools for the prevention, management and resolution of inter-group conflicts;
6. The development and institutionalisation of early warning systems to detect potential inter-group conflicts and to take appropriate action to avert them;
7. To courageously impress upon governments to act timeously on early warning signs of impending inter-group conflict, especially recommendations and findings contained in reports of National Human Rights Institutions, Committees of Inquiry and credible civil society groups; and
8. To encourage national Governments to respect their obligations under domestic and international law to protect all racial, ethnic and migrant communities in their countries

Finally, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice of Ghana urges National Human Rights Institutions to take seriously their obligation to pursue effective follow-up activities to further the objectives of this Conference. We also call on Governments the world over to provide the necessary financial and human resources to enable National Human Rights Institutions fulfil their constitutional or statutory obligations.

Francis Emile Short Durban, South Africa September 03, 2001