UN rights official urges States to reach accord ahead of world forum against racism
"The conference will be nothing less than a [chance] to discuss the core principles that should underpin this new century," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson in an address to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which is currently meeting in Geneva.
The World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance will be an important opportunity for the world community to commit, for the first time in the post-apartheid era, to a truly global effort to address "the ancient and the modern manifestations of this evil," Ms. Robinson said.
Regional preparatory meetings have recognized that racism is a problem in every country and region, thereby raising its profile as a global issue to an unprecedented level, Ms. Robinson said. The time has come for countries to stop staking out positions and instead come together to reach agreement on a host of delicates issues, some of which touch on national identity.
"At a time when the international community is grappling with so many complex global problems we simply cannot afford to fail to find consensus on an issue as clear cut as racism," the High Commissioner said.
The world conference will be held 31 August to 7 September in Durban, South Africa.