Africa: Racism Conference, 10/08/00

Africa: Racism Conference, 10/08/00

Africa: Racism Conference Date distributed (ymd); 001008 Document reposted by APIC

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Region: Continent-Wide Issue Areas: +political/rights+ Summary Contents: This posting contains excerpts from a briefing note from the NGO Liaison for the World Conference Against Racism scheduled for South Africa in September 2001. The NGO Liaison is based at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

The full version of this briefing note contains additional details on procedures for participation. It will be available in the archived version of this posting at:

or by writing to

To be added to a list to receive future briefings from the NGO Liaison, send a message to with the subject line: Subscribe OHCHR-NGO

Other sites with background information on the conference and related issues include:

UNHCHR Official Conference Site

UN Press Kit on the Conference

Report from Bellagio Consultation convened by International Human Rights Law Group (in English and French) and

AntiRacism Net (Project Change, Institute for Global Communications)

Human Rights Internet (includes documents posted by NGOs)

Internet Centre / Anti-Racism Europe

Women's Caucus Website for World Conference against Racism

Human Rights Watch on Race and Human Rights

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NGO Liaison, World Conference Against Racism

26 September, 2000


These briefing notes are prepared to assist NGO representatives who wish to participate in the World Conference process. Feel free to circulate as widely as possible.

This note updates the previous three notes. Please pay particular attention to new meeting dates and deadlines. For further information or for clarifications, feel free to contact the NGO Liaison WCAR using the following coordinates:

Laurie S. Wiseberg, Room 4-025 OHCHR, Palais Wilson, Geneva Mailing address: OHCHR, Palais des Nations, CH 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland Tel. (41-22) 917-9393 Fax. (41-22) 917-9050

I. Dates and Venue for the World Conference and NGO Forum.

The WCAR will take place in South Africa from 31 August to 7 September 2001. The dates for the NGO Forum have now been set. The Forum will take place from 28 August-1 September 2001. There is still no decision on the venue (i.e., the city).

II. Organizing Committee for the NGO Forum

The Organizing Committee for the NGO Forum is being led by the South African National NGO Coalition, SANGOCO. The Committee is currently setting up offices and hiring core staff. For the present, contact Mr. Moshe More at the following e-mail for further information:

III. Secretariat for the World Conference

The High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson is Secretary-General of the World Conference. A team at the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) is doing the preparatory work for the Conference. It has recently been augmented by the appointment of an Executive Coordinator, Mr. Jyoti Shankar Singh.

IV. How to find documentation for the Conference and the Preparatory Process

Relevant reports and documents for the World Conference are available on the website of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. <> Click on World Conference Against Racism at the top of the Home Page. A great deal of additional information for NGOs has been posted on an NGO Website for the World Conference: <> This has links to many other sites dealing with racism. NGOs wishing to post their documentation on this site should send an electronic version to the NGO Liaison, WCAR.

V. Slogan and Themes of the Conference

The First Session of the PrepCom adopted the following World Conference Slogan: "United to combat racism: Equality, Justice, Dignity"

It also adopted the following 5 broad themes of the Provisional Agenda.

(1) Sources, causes, forms and contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

(2) Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

(3) Measures of prevention, education and protection aimed at the eradication of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, at the national, regional and international levels;

(4) Provision of effective remedies, recourse, redress, [compensatory] and other measures at the national, regional and international levels;

(5) Strategies to achieve full and effective equality, including international cooperation and enhancement of the United Nations and other international mechanisms in combatting racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and follow-up.

Note that the word "compensatory" in theme 4 is in square brackets because there was no general agreement for including this term.

VI. Decisions of the First Session of the PrepCom regarding the structure of the conference

The First Session of the PrepCom elected Ambassador (Mme) Absa Claude Diallo of Senegal as its Chairperson. Ambassador Diallo chaired the sessional working group of the 55th Session of the Commission on Human Rights (1999) on the preparation of the World Conference.

Other members of the Bureau are the following: Tunisia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Malaysia, FYR of Macedonia, Georgia, Brazil, Mexico (Rapporteur), France, USA and South Africa as ex-officio.

In the Rules of Procedures adopted at the First Session of the PrepCom, it was decided that the Conference would establish one Main Committee and one Drafting Committee, and these Committees may set up their own subcommittees or working groups. NGOs will be permitted to participate in the work of both of these Committees (and any subcommittees or working groups they establish) on questions within the scope of their activities.

This means that NGOs will be able to make oral statements as well as to submit written statements to the Conference.

If written statements of NGOs are to be circulated at the Inter-sessional Working Group meeting or during the Second Session of the PrepCom, they must be submitted 10 weeks prior to the respective meeting. It helps if the statements are submitted electronically, and especially if text can be provided in English, French and Spanish. Length is restricted to 1,500 words, except that NGOs which have "general" consultative status may submitted up to 2,000 words.

VII. Preparatory Process

The report of the first session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom), which took place in Geneva from 1-5 May 2000, is available as A/CONF.189/PC.1/21 (in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Chinese) on the website of the High Commissioner. The second session of the PrepCom will take place in Geneva from 21 May - 1 June 2001.

In addition, there will be an Open-Ended Inter-Sessional Working Group Meeting in Geneva, 15-19 January 2001. The Inter-Sessional Working Group will have before it a document prepared by the Secretariat of the World Conference (i.e., a draft Declaration and Programme of Action).

There will also be an Informal Meeting, to plan for the Inter-Sessional Working Group and to begin discussion on the sub-themes of the five major conference themes. (Originally scheduled for October 19-20, it is now likely that the meeting will be moved to the week of November 13.)

NGOs with Consultative Status with ECOSOC or which are accredited to the World Conference, can attend these meetings as observers.

VIII. Regional Preparatory Meetings

There have been changes in the dates for some of the Regional Preparatory meetings since the last Briefing Note was prepared. The Regional Preparatory meetings and the associated NGO meetings will now take place as follows.

Regional Preparatory Meeting for Europe (in Strasbourg, France), organized by the Council of Europe, 11-13 October 2000. On 10-11 October, there will be a European NGO Forum. For further information about these meetings, see the website of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI): <>. ...

Regional Preparatory Meeting for Africa (in Dakar, Senegal). This meeting was initially scheduled for 2-4 November 2000. It is likely that the meeting now take place 22-24 January 2001. However, no decision has as yet been taken and these dates are still tentative. An African NGO Forum will be held one or two day prior to the meeting. For details about that NGO Forum, contact Mr. Alioune Tine at Rencontre africaine pour la defense des droits de l'homme (RADDHO) <>.

Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Americas (in Santiago, Chile), 5-7 December 2000. An NGO Forum will be held 3-4 December, just prior to this meeting. For details, contact Ms. Ines Reichel, at the Instituto Inter-Americano de Derechos Humanos (IIDH) at <> .

Regional Preparatory Meeting for Asia (in Teheran, Iran). This meeting will now take place 19-21 February 2001. An NGO Forum will be held 17-18 February. For details, contact Ms. Nimalka Fernando at the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) <>.

IX. NGO Participation in the Preparatory Process

NGOs wishing to participate in the preparatory meetings (whether in Geneva or in the regions) must either have Consultative Status with ECOSOC or be accredited to the World Conference. The procedure for getting accreditation to the WCAR is noted below. ...

[see full version on-line at]

There are some funds available to assist NGO participation at these Regional Preparatory meetings and there will be some funds available to assist NGOs to go to South Africa. See XIII below for information on how to apply for financial assistance.

X. Regional Expert Seminars

A number of expert regional seminars have been organized in the context of the World Conference to spur consideration of important issues, culminate in effective suggestions to the second Preparatory Committee and the World Conference itself, commence a distillation of the issues and suggest practical strategies and create a groundswell of governmental, institutional and public support for the World Conference and its objectives. The following seminars have already taken place:

Expert Seminar for Western Europe, Geneva, 6-8 December 1999 on: "Racism, Refugees & Multiethnic States." Expert Seminar for Western Europe, Geneva, 16-18 February 2000 on: "Remedies Available to Victims of Acts of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and Good National Practices in this Field." Expert Seminar for Eastern Europe, 5-7 July 2000, Warsaw on: "Protection of Minorities and Other Vulnerable Groups and Strengthening Human Rights Capacity at the National Level". Expert Seminar for Asia, 5-7 September 2000, Bangkok on: "Migrant Workers and Trafficking of Persons, with Particular Reference to Women and Children."

Two other regional expert seminars are scheduled as follows:

Expert Seminar for Africa, 4-6 October 2000, Addis Ababa on: "Preventing Ethnic and Racial Conflict" (Point Person: Aziz Ndiaye. Email: Tel. 41-22 917-9826.)

Expert Seminar for Latin America, 25-27 October 2000, Santiago, on: "Economic, Social and Legal Measures to Combat Racial Discrimination, with Particular Reference to Vulnerable Groups". (Point Person: Sandra Aragon. Tel. 41-22 917-9129.) ...


Note that there are no funds available to assist NGOs which wish to participate in these regional seminars.

XI. Other Regional NGO Meetings

The Secretariat of the OHCHR is also planning to support four regional NGO meetings intended to feed into the NGO Forum. (Details on how to apply for funding are noted in XIII below.) While the dates and venues have not yet been confirmed, the plans at present are for meetings:

For Eastern and Central Europe, in Warsaw: contact, Mr. Marek Nowicki, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, at <>. Dates: 14-18 November 2000.

For Africa, in Botswana: contact Ms. Chantal Kisoon at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria ( Tentatively set for 21-26 January 2001. These may change, depending on the dates selected for the African regional meeting.

For Asia, in Amman, Jordan: contact Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR), Mr. Nizam Assaf, <> or <>, probably in March 2001.

For the Americas, in Quito, Ecuador: contact Ms. Irene Leon at Agencia Latinoamerican de Informacion (ALAI) at <> or contact Mr. Mark Hecht at Human Rights Internet (HRI) at <>. Probably in January 2001.

XII. Accreditation of NGOs

[see full version at]

The African Group has agreed to consider any NGO which has Observer Status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights as accredited to the Dakar regional meeting.

Since accreditation is a complicated/lengthy process please apply for accreditation as early as possible. A minimum of a 6 weeks is generally required by the Secretariat to process an application. You should send your applications to: Ms. Sandra Aragon, OHCHR, Palais des Nations, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland. Tel. (41-22) 917-9129. Fax. (41-22) 917-9050. Email:

XIII. Funding NGO Participation in the World Conference Process

The Office of the High Commissioner has secured funding to subsidize the participation of NGOs in the Regional Preparatory meetings for Africa, Asia and the Americas (see VIII above) and in four NGO networking meetings (see XI above). The OHCHR also hopes to raise funds to assist NGOs in getting to the NGO Forum in South Africa and to the World Conference. This is unprecedented in the history of the UN's World Conferences, as NGOs have always had to raise their own funds for this purpose.

[for procedures for application see on-line version at]

XIV. How Individuals, Academics and Others Can Participate in the WCAR Process

There are a number of ways that individuals can participate in the preparatory process for the World Conference.

First, an individual can observe the proceedings of the second Preparatory Committee or the regional experts seminars simply by writing to us requesting permission to do so. For these meetings there is a public gallery where individuals can observe without accreditation. However, they cannot make written or oral statements.

For a deeper involvement in the World Conference process, there are other ways in which individuals can participate. First, they can work with, or become affiliated to, an NGO -- a non-governmental organization (this could be an educational centre or association, a community based organization, a human rights group, etc.). That NGO could apply to become accredited to the World Conference. If the NGO is successfully accredited, then its representatives can take part in any of the meetings leading up to the World Conference, including the World Conference itself. In such a case, NGO representatives can present both written and oral statements to the Preparatory Committee and the World Conference, and participate fully in the proceedings.

Secondly, individuals can become active with a non-governmental organisation which has consultative status with ECOSOC, and which is thereby fully accredited to the World Conference, and participate in the conference proceeding as a representative of that NGO.

Third, there are some governments which permit individuals (often academics) to join the government delegation to world conferences. You would have to talk to your government were you interested in this route.

Fourth, there will be an NGO Forum in South Africa parallel to the World Conference. While there will be a registration process for the NGO Forum, it will not require the same formal accreditation that is needed for the World Conference process. There will be many activities offering opportunities for individuals to give papers, lead discussions, hold workshops, etc.

Finally, there are many activities that can be done at the national and regional level, including organizing satellite meetings, that can have an impact on the World Conference, including the Declaration and Plan of Action which will emerge, which do not require any formal accreditation to the World Conference process.

XV. Youth Participation

There is likely to be a youth component to the NGO Forum and World Conference. However, at this point, there are no definite plans in place. We will keep you posted as developments unfold.


Message-Id: <> From: "APIC" <> Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2000 12:37:35 -0500 Subject: Africa: Racism Conference

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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