Situation of Human Rights in Burma

November 24, 2008

Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance-follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action

Joint Statement by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations.

Thank you for giving me the floor.

I speak on behalf of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations.

Together with many other NGOs we have given high priority to the combat against racism in our work and in our cooperation with the United Nations. As we are now commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights we find it important to highlight that the combat against racism was at the forefront of the United Nations commitment to Human Rights since the inception of the organisation. The campaign against Apartheid became a catalyst for joint action between Governments, the United Nations, NGOs and world public opinion.

In the United Nations there has been agreement in principle on the equality of the outcomes of the major UN World Conferences of the last decades. Yet, the implementation of the outcome of the historic Durban World Conference Against Racism has been receiving limited attention and meagre resources.

We are concerned over the status of preparations for the 2009 Durban Review Conference, given that it will take place in barely seven months time.

We call for urgent measures at all levels to strengthen and upgrade the preparations. We consider the proposal made by the African Group for the High Commissioner to appoint an Executive Secretary to assist in the effective preparations for the Review Conference to be of importance. We believe there is need for the adoption of a clear roadmap towards the successful holding of the Review Conference that includes an additional third substantive session of the Preparatory Committee. This has to include effective measures to ensure the full participation of non- governmental organisations from all regions in the forthcoming meetings of the Preparatory Committee as well as full support for the holding of a well attended NGO Forum at the Review Conference.

We warmly welcome the challenging reports from the regional meetings in Brasilia and Abuja which need to be given full attention in the preparatory process. We strongly hope that all regions will follow these examples and hold regional preparatory meetings.

We consider it significant that both the Latin American and Caribbean and the African regional meetings request that the Human Rights Council and the Preparatory Committee for the Durban Review Conference organize a meeting on all aspects of the Trans-Atlantic-Slave-Trade provisions in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and in the General Assembly resolutions 61/19 and 62/122, and include its findings and recommendations in the Preparatory Process and the Durban Review Conference. We call on UN Member States to take early action for the realization of this recommendation.

Although the time is short, the combined efforts by Governments, the United Nations and Civil Society can ensure a successful outcome of the Durban Review Conference.

Human Rights Burma Human Rights Council UNHCR Statement

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