General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Combating Racism, Intolerance to be held at the UN on 22 September

By | 16 August 2011

New York – The General Assembly is set to convene, on 22 September, a one-day High-Level Meeting at United Nations Headquarters to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

“The High-Level Meeting in September is an important opportunity for Member States to renew their common political will towards eradicating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,” said Joseph Deiss, President of the Assembly’s sixty-fifth session, as he emphasized: “This is a critical challenge the family of nations should address with intensified effort and renewed commitment.”

Adopted by consensus at the 2001 World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa, the Declaration and Programme of Action proposes concrete measures to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. It also recognizes that no country can claim to be free of racism, that racism is a global concern and that tackling it requires a universal effort. Representing the firm commitment of the international community to tackle these issues, the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action has strong moral value and serves as a basis for advocacy efforts worldwide.

The tenth anniversary is an opportunity to renew and strengthen political commitment in the fight against racism and racial discrimination. The theme for the anniversary event is “Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance: recognition, justice and development”.

The anniversary Meeting, convened at the level of Heads of State and Government, will feature a plenary session and a series of round table discussions. The meeting will open at 9 a.m. on Thursday, 22 September, in the General Assembly Hall. A short ceremonial opening session will be followed by two consecutive round tables from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 to 6 p.m. A closing plenary session will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. where summaries of the round table discussions will be presented. The plenary is then expected to adopt a short and concise political declaration.

Non-governmental organizations and other civil society actors are essential in combating all forms of racism. A non-governmental organization representative will speak at the opening plenary of the Meeting, and selected representatives will be invited to participate in the round table proceedings, while others will be able to follow the proceedings of the round table sessions in the designated overflow room.

All participating civil society and non-governmental organization representatives must be active in the field of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance. The President of the General Assembly will draw up a list of representatives of such organizations for Member States’ consideration.

The High-Level Meeting will be webcast at More information is available on the High-Level Meeting website at

Journalists without United Nations accreditation who wish to attend the event should follow the instructions for obtaining accreditation at

For media enquiries, please contact Renata Sivacolundhu, Department of Public Information, tel: +1 212 963 2932, e-mail:; or Fred Kirungi, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, tel: +1 917 367 3431.

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