Geneva – Members of a working group established to negotiate and finalize a draft outcome document for the Durban Review Conference, to be held in Geneva in April, began formal negotiations on Monday.
The Durban Review Conference will assess and accelerate progress on implementation of measures adopted at the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa. The 2001 Conference was a landmark event in the struggle to improve the lives of millions of victims of racial discrimination and intolerance around the world.
On the table for the first time is a draft outcome document, which has been distilled from six initial proposals submitted by regional and other groups. The streamlining and rationalizing has resulted in a text of 38 pages, compared to the 130 pages of the initial unedited compilation.
Members of the working group*, which is open to the participation of all UN Member States, have agreed that the new text will be the basis for their negotiations and the compilation has therefore now become the official Draft Outcome Document. Negotiations on the text will take place during the formal session of the working group, which ends on 23 January, and continue afterwards in informal meetings.
The next formal session of the working group will take place from 6–10 April, followed by a final session of the Preparatory Committee (15–17 April). The Review Conference itself takes place from 20 – 24 April.
Special website and newsletter
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has launched two new communications tools on the Durban Review Conference and its preparatory process: a special website dedicated to the process, and a newsletter (the ‘Durban Review Conference Update’). The aim of both is to inform and update all constituents and stakeholders on developments in the Review process, progress on implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and on substantive issues related to the goals of the Conference.
The website is currently on-line in English at: www.un.org/durbanreview2009/ and will soon also be available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish. All Conference-related documents are available and easy to find on the site. The newsletter can be downloaded in electronic form from a link on the home page of the website.
OHCHR is also creating a list of journalists who would like to receive frequent updates on the Durban Review Conference and its preparatory process. Please send an email to email@example.com if you would like your name to be on this list.
* Full name: Intersessional Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group
For information on the Durban Review Conference, contact Doune Porter at +41 (0)22 928-9595, or Pierre Hazan at +41 (0)22 928-9542,
or email firstname.lastname@example.org