AFRICAN PREPARATORY MEETING FOR RACISM CONFERENCE CALLS
FOR INTENSIFIED GLOBAL ACTION AGAINST RACISM
(Received from a UN Information Officer.)
DAKAR, 24 January -- The three-day African regional preparatory meeting for the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance wound up its deliberations in Dakar, Senegal, on 24 January, adopting a draft declaration focussing, among other things, on the impact of slavery and colonialism.
In closing remarks, the Prime Minister of Senegal, Moustapha Niasse, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, both emphasized the importance of the outcome of the Dakar conference for the process leading to the World Conference in Durban, South Africa, from 31 August to 7 September this year.
The draft declaration of the Dakar African Regional Conference against Racism also looked into education, ethnic conflicts, human rights abuses, gender issues and the struggle for democracy. It called for recognition of past injustices and warned that recognition would be meaningless without explicit apology by ex-colonial Powers or their successors for those violations. The conference recommended the setting up of international mechanisms to deal with the follow-up and monitoring of racism-related issues.
On the margins of the regional conference, Ms. Robinson, High Commissioner for Human Rights and Secretary-General of the World Conference against Racism, met representatives of African non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and discussed ongoing cooperation on the preparations leading to the World Conference. The NGO forum that took place in Dakar prior to the regional conference had adopted its own declaration and program of action and decided to establish a network of African NGOs to carry forward the program of action of the World Conference.
Over 40 government delegations, 10 national institutions, 16 special rapporteurs and treaty bodies representatives as well as observers from the Asian Group, European Union, United States, and the group of the Latin American and Caribbean countries attended the regional conference.
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