Posted by: africanpressorganization | 21 April 2009

Position of the European Commission on the Durban Review Conference in Geneva




Position of the European Commission on the Durban Review Conference in Geneva



BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, April 21, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The European Commission has closely followed the preparation for the Durban Review Conference and contributed to the forging of an EU common position on the substance of the review.

Several Member States have decided unilaterally to withdraw from the Review Conference. However, a strong majority of EU Member States have decided to remain engaged.

The Commission attends the Conference as an observer. In doing so, the Commission takes the view that the EU “red lines” for the negotiations of the outcome document have been preserved. This text is not ideal and clearly represents a compromise, being the result of complex negotiations.

It is essential to emphasize that no language on defamation of religion, of anti-semitic nature or targeting specific countries or regions of the world is included in the draft outcome document that is now before the Review Conference.

The European Commission is are aware that during the Conference there is a risk of attempts to hijack the attention of the international community to other questions that are absolutely disconnected with human rights law and with the theme of the fight against racism. In this context, we will firmly react to any unacceptable statements during the conference and condemn any attempt to instrumentalize the Review Conference.

Nonetheless, the European Commission believes that this event could provide an important opportunity to illustrate and review many of the concrete and important steps taken at the national level, at the international level, but also at the regional level, to fight against racism and discrimination.

Even before the 2001 Durban Conference, the Union had adopted in 2000 legislation (the anti-discrimination directives) banning discrimination on the base of racial or ethnic origin at work, education and in access to goods and services. It had also banned discrimination on other grounds of discrimination (religion, age, sexual orientation and disabilities) at work (the anti-discrimination directives). The Union and is currently discussing a legislative proposal to extend this prohibition to education and access to goods and services. Both direct and indirect discriminations are banned in the EU.

The EU remains committed to do all it can to fight all manifestations of racism and xenophobia, and expects its international partners to do the same.



European Commission


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