UN human rights office regrets Israeli pull-out from upcoming racism conference

19 November 2008

The United Nations human rights office today voiced regret over Israel’s confirmation that it does not plan to take part in the so-called Durban Review Conference next year, which will examine the progress made worldwide since the 2001 global anti-racism summit was held in the South African city.

“Given the critical importance of the issues under discussion at the Conference, broad participation is essential,” said Rupert Colville, a spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“These issues of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance are issues which affect all countries and millions of individuals around the world on a daily basis.”

The review conference will be held in Geneva in late April next year to monitor the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, which was agreed to by consensus at the summit in 2001.

The spokesperson said the Declaration and Programme of Action were extremely valuable and contained “important and innovative recommendations for tackling racism in all its manifestations.”

Israel and the United States also pulled out during the 2001 conference, citing concerns they had that the forum was being used by some Member States to push an anti-Israel agenda.


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