UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



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UN human rights chief "greatly encouraged" by
positive reactions to new anti-racism text

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27 March 2009
GENEVA -- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Friday she is greatly encouraged by the positive reactions of a large number of ambassadors, from all regional groups, with whom she has discussed a shortened text of the draft outcome document for the up-coming anti-racism Durban Review Conference, which will take place in Geneva from 20-24 April.

Pillay said that, as Secretary General of the Review Conference, she wanted to ensure that the succession of welcoming statements issued by a number of regional and other groups of states would be followed by the actions necessary to advance the negotiating process.

"All the ambassadors I have met with so far have indicated that they consider the text a very good basis for negotiations," she said. "They said any fine-tuning or improvements should be minimal, and that the fundamental balances contained in the current text should not be reopened. They agreed that this text meets the basic requirements of all concerned, while still being substantive and adding value to the fight against racism, xenophobia and similar forms of intolerance."

The High Commissioner said she is "greatly encouraged" by these reactions and appealed to all Ambassadors "to maintain the current momentum and spirit of cooperation." She said she would remain actively engaged in and supportive of the process and is ready to make any effort required "with a view to reach a consensual outcome as soon as possible."

The revised and significantly shortened text was released on 17 March, following consultations with all regional groups and interested delegations by the Russian Chairperson of an intergovernmental working group charged with negotiations on the draft outcome text for the Review Conference.

The Durban Review Conference will be preceded by an intergovernmental working group meeting from 6-9 April and a Preparatory Committee meeting that will take place from 15-17 April, both of which will be held in Geneva.

For more information on the Durban Review Conference, please go to the special conference website at http://www.un.org/durbanreview2009/ or call Doune Porter + 41 79 477 2576, Pierre Hazan + 41 79 201 0129, or Rupert Colville +41 22 917 9767. Email inquiries should be sent to pressdurbanrevconf@ohchr.org