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UN anti-racism conference - explainer

What the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action says

Article published on the 2009-04-20 Latest update 2009-04-21 10:17 TU

Logo of World Conference Against Racism, Durban 2001(Picture: UN)

Logo of World Conference Against Racism, Durban 2001
(Picture: UN)

The 2001 World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa adopted a consensus to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Here are the main points in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action:

  • Equality is a basic human right; victims of discrimination are therefore right-holders and states duty bearers;
  • Active involvement of international, non-governmental organisations, political parties, national human rights institutions, the private sector, the media and civil society at large;
  • A call for ratification of International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination – enforced by UN General Assembly in January 1969;
  • Adoption of a victim-oriented approach with specific recommendations with respect to Africans, Asias, indigenous people, migrants, refugees, miniorities and Romani people;
  • Recognition of multiple forms of discrimination based on sex, language, religion, political opinion, social origin, property and birth; specific attribution of role of women in combating racism;
  • Emphasis on importance of preventative action, particularly education;
  • A call for comprehensive national action against discrimination;
  • Measures to address discrimination in employment, health, policing, media coverage and education;
  • Measures to create equal opportunities for victims of discrimination;
  • Provision of effective remedies, recourse, redress and compensation for victims of discrimination, including legal assistance;
  • Acknowledgement of slavery as being a crime against humanity;
  • Expression of concern about the Palestinian people under foreign occupation and a recognition of the right to an independent state; recogition of the right to security for all countries, including Israel, and support for the peace process;
  • Assertion that the Holocaust must never be forgotten;
  • Strategies for international co-operation, including legal framework and involvement of UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.