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Press Release

Governments postpone decisions on venue and duration of 2009 anti-racism review conference

2 May 2008

GENEVA -- A two-week meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the review conference on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance ended in Geneva on Friday after agreeing to to postpone decisions on where to hold the review conference (although it is likely to be in one of the four UN centres of Geneva, Nairobi, New York or Vienna).

The precise duration of the conference was also not decided, with some states wanting it to last for three days and others wanting five. While the precise date will depend on the availability of the venue, there was general consensus that the conference would probably take place in June 2009.

The PrepCom agreed to hold a special extension of the current session on 26 May, in order to decide the outstanding issues.

The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom), which was holding its first substantive meeting in the run-up to the review conference, reached agreement on a number of other fundamental issues, including the process involved in drafting the review conference's outcome document.

Another issue that was decided was the accreditation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for the review conference. Hundreds of NGOs which already have consultative status with the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) are automatically entitled to take part in the process; as are over a thousand others which participated in the original 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, providing no government objects and the objection is not upheld by the PrepCom. Any new NGO, outside these two groups, had to pass through an individual examination by the PrepCom.

In all, the credentials of 47 NGOs, based in 8 different countries, were discussed. Seven of them were fully accredited, one was excluded, one withdrew its application, 37 were provisionally accepted or else not finally rejected, and in one case a decision is pending.