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January 21, 2001 European Youth Online Magazine  

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Effective participation of NGOs must be ensured

The General Assembly has declared that there should encouragement for all "measures necessary, including facilitation of speedy accreditation, for the effective participation of non­governmental organizations from all parts of the world and diverse and representative sections of civil society in the preparatory process for the World Conference".
Inquiries from NGOs may be addressed to: Dr. Laurie Wiseberg
NGO Liaison Officer for the World Conference
OHCHR
E-mail:
lwiseberg.hchr@unog.ch

Ms. Sandra Aragon
NGO Liaison Officer for the World Conference
OHCHR
e-mail:
saragon.hchr@unog.ch


For information how European NGOs can get involved in the Conference against Racism and about Preparatory Conferences go to

I CARE

Internet Centre Anti-Racism Europe:www.icare.to/

Meeting the challenge at the millennium

WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST
RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCE
South Africa 31 August -7 September, 2001

In December 1997 the General Assembly of the United Nations decided to organise a world conference against racism, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance to be held in 2001, the Millenium Year against Racism.

The conference "will be a landmark in the struggle to eradicate all forms of racism, requiring a strong follow-up mechanism to examine whether Governments have delivered on their promises made," according to the High Commissioner Mary Robbins. She promised "to make it a conference of actions not just words." The World Conference is a unique opportunity to create a new world vision for the fight against racism in the twenty-first century.

The UN Commission on Human Rights is acting as the Preparatory Committee for the World Conference.

From the UN brochure:
As technology brings the peoples of the world closer together and political barriers tumble, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance continue to ravage our societies. Horrors such as "ethnic cleansing" have emerged in recent years, while ideas of racial superiority have spread to new media like the internet. Even globalization carries risks that can lead to exclusion and increased inequality, very often along racial and ethnic lines.

As racial discrimination and ethnic violence grow in complexity, they become more of a challenge for the international community. As a result, new tools to deal with racism are called for. "This World Conference has the potential to be among the most significant gatherings at the start of this century," the Secretary-General of the Conference and High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, stated. "It can be more: it can shape and embody the spirit of the new century, based on the shared conviction that we are all members of one human family."

More information on the preparations of the world conference on the United Nations's website: www.unhchr.ch/html/racism/index.htm

In its resolution 52/111, the General Assembly set as one of the main objectives of the Conference "the review of the political, historical, social, cultural and other factors leading to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. It expresses its concern at the phenomenon of globalization, accompanied by a concentration of wealth, on the one hand, and marginalization and exclusion, on the other, and its effects on the right to development and on living standards, and on the increase in the phenomena of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance."
The Commission on Human Rights, expressed in resolution 1998/26 of 17 April 1998, that despite the efforts undertaken by the international community at various levels, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, ethnic antagonism and racist acts of violence are on the increase. Therefor the World Conference should carefully consider the complicated interplay of discrimination based on race and discrimination based on gender and other grounds, as well as economic marginalization, social exclusion and contemporary forms of slavery.


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