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Anti-racism Durban Review Conference concludes with successful outcome

             Anti-racism Durban Review Conference concludes with successful outcome The anti-racism Durban Review Conference concluded with a global agreement aiming to achieve real changes in the fight against racism. UN Photo/Pierre Virot

The anti-racism Durban Review Conference concluded on 24 April with a consensus on how to achieve real changes for the millions of victims of racism worldwide. Calling the successful result "a platform for a new beginning," High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged all to implement vigorously the outcome document.

"We will be leaving this hall tonight with a sure sense of accomplishment, with renewed and reenergized determination and purpose," said Pillay, who is Secretary-General of the Review Conference, in her closing statement Friday afternoon.

"Such determination and experience will sustain the work ahead of all of us: the hard work of delivering on our pledges; the urgent task of giving concrete effect to the conference’s outcome; the imperative of erasing the age-old shame of racism."

She said that the Conference proved to be "a celebration of tolerance and dignity for all", and it produced a "meaningful outcome enshrining a common aspiration: to defy racism in all its manifestations and work to stamp it out wherever it may occur."

The High Commissioner lauded the commitments, flexibility and concessions made by all governments and regional groups, which produced "a global agreement, the outcome document, to achieve real changes for the millions of victims of racism and racial discrimination."

For the few governments that had chosen to stay away from the Conference, they "should now evaluate the outcome document on its own merit and substance." Pillay said, and "rejoin international efforts to combat racism as mapped out by the outcome document."

The High Commissioner said the focus is now on implementation.

"We need to follow up on implementation and whether states are fulfilling the pledges they made. This will be done by my Office, the Human Rights Council and the special procedures. We will be following up on national action plans and through national human rights institutions," she told a press conference on 24 April.

In his closing remarks, President of the Review Conference Amos Wako said the Conference outcome represented "another concrete and bold step in advancing the global struggle against racism."

"We sent a clear message to sceptics that the world remains united as we wage this struggle, a struggle that requires the participation of all who care about promoting the rights of all individuals and communities," he said.

The Review Conference, which ran from 20 to 24 April, aimed to assess progress made since the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africa.