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FOCUS June 2000 Volume 20

World Conference Against Racism

The World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR) is scheduled to be held from 31 August to 7 September 2001 in South Africa. The UN General Assembly Resolution 52/111 (December 12, 1997) lists the objectives of this conference as follows:

"(a) To review progress made in the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in particular since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to reappraise the obstacles to further progress in the field and ways to overcome them;

(b) To consider ways and means to better ensure the application of existing standards and the implementation of the existing instruments to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

(c) To increase the level of awareness about the scourges of racism and racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

(d) To formulate concrete recommendations on ways to increase the effectiveness of the activities and mechanisms of the United Nations through programmes aimed at combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

(e) To review the political, historical, economic, social, cultural and other factors leading to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

(f) To formulate concrete recommendations to further action-oriented national, regional and international measures to combat all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

(g) To draw up concrete recommendations for ensuring that the United Nations has the financial and other necessary resources for its actions to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance."

The UN created regional preparatory committees with participants from South Africa, Tunisia, Senegal, USA, France, Macedonia, Georgia, Brazil, Mexico, Iran and Malaysia. The committees met in Geneva last May 2000.

The inter-governmental Asia-Pacific Regional Preparatory Conference for the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance will be held in Teheran in January 2001.

WCAR was discussed in the Eighth Workshop on Regional Cooperation for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region held in Beijing (1- 4 March 2000). It will also be taken up in the 5th annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions which will be held on 7-9 August 2000 in Rotorua, New Zealand.

A parallel NGO conference is planned to be held during the world conference. In view of this, NGOs in the Asia-Pacific region will be holding preparatory activities soon.

Ms. Laurie Wiseberg of Human Rights Internet was appointed as the NGO Liaison for WCAR for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). She created a listserve for NGOs to facilitate dissemination of information. Interested NGOs may sign up their institutions to this list.

For more information contact: Laurie Wiseberg, e-mail: lwiseberg.hchr@unog.ch; listserve address: listserv@server.unog.ch


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