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Press Release

Human rights experts hold Africa meeting ahead of 2009 Durban review conference

ABUJA, 24 August 2008— Racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance will top the agenda of an African regional conference as over 100 government delegates, civil society activists, and UN experts opened a three-day meeting in the Nigerian capital Abuja. The meeting is a run-up to next year's review of the World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001.

The African regional preparatory meeting, which is being held from 24 to 26 August, will provide a forum to discuss how racism, xenophobia and related intolerance and their root causes impact African lives. More specifically, it will seek to take stock of how Africa- from governments to individuals- has fared in implementing the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action (DDPA), the main outcomes of the 2001 global gathering.

The DDPA are widely viewed as blueprints to combat racism and other forms of intolerance. Enacting laws and policies, establishing national action plans, providing remedies to victims and conducting public awareness and education campaigns were among the recommendations adopted seven years ago.

"Despite our best efforts at promoting equality and non-discrimination, racism and its attendant problems continue to affect countless human beings in all regions of the world", Bacre N'Diaye, the representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in Abuja.

The meeting's outcome document, which will be drawn up by African states, will provide a key contribution to the full Durban Review Conference, to be held on 20-24 April 2009 in Geneva. The 2009 conference will evaluate progress and assess implementation of the DDPA at the national, regional and international levels.
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