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Press Release

17 April 2009

UN human rights chief welcomes agreement on document for anti-racism conference

GENEVA -- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warmly congratulated delegates Friday on reaching agreement on the text of a draft outcome document to be forwarded for consideration and adoption at next week’s anti-racism conference in Geneva.

"I am certain that because it was so well deliberated it will have an easy passage through the conference," Pillay said of the 16-page draft outcome document. "It has not been an easy process, but it is excellent that delegates have agreed on the key issues. This process is very important for the sake of all the millions of people who suffer from racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance every day, of every week, in every part of the world."

The High Commissioner applauded the spirit of consensus that brought delegates to agreement on the draft text. “As in many intergovernmental negotiations, States began this process with divergent views, but they have remained committed to the goal of finding a way to move forward together to tackle the scourge of racism,” she said.

The text of the latest draft outcome document was agreed by the Durban Review Conference Preparatory Committee late Friday afternoon, and will be now be forwarded for consideration and adoption by delegates at the five-day Durban Review Conference, which will review progress on the implementation of commitments to combat racism made by governments at the 2001 World Conference against Racism. The Review Conference opens in Geneva on Monday.

“The commitments made by governments in 2001 were forceful and ground-breaking, but there is still much to be done in implementing them,” the High Commissioner said. “The aim of next week’s conference is to reinvigorate implementation of those wide-ranging commitments so that we can eliminate discriminatory practices and intolerance.”

Throughout the negotiating process on the current text, the High Commissioner has urged states to transcend their differences and work together to combat racism and other similar forms of intolerance. “Differences of opinion in our diverse world are normal but the message we hope to be able to send at the end of next week’s conference is that we are, indeed, united against racism,” she said.

The text of the draft outcome document, as well as other information on the Durban Review Conference, can be viewed at http://www.un.org/durbanreview2009/