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Australia welcomes conclusion of World Conference Against Racism.
Joint Statement with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, and Attorney-General, Daryl Williams.
Australia Welcomes Conclusion of World Conference Against Racism MPS 153/2001
We welcome the adoption by the World Conference Against Racism of a Declaration and Program of Action against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
Australia is unequivocal in its opposition to racism in all its forms. We join with the World Conference in condemning the scourge of racism and supporting strong action at all levels to combat it, both domestically and internationally.
We welcome a number of positive outcomes from the Conference, including language on indigenous issues and on the benefits of cultural diversity, national human rights institutions and human rights education as key elements in the global fight against racism.
It was regrettable that a great deal of time at the Conference had been consumed by divisive exchanges on issues that had done nothing to advance the cause of combating racism. Despite the efforts of many delegations, including Australia's, to achieve a more balanced outcome, the final documents include language on the Middle East which neither helps bring peace to that region nor advances the objectives of this Conference. The Australian delegation made clear at the closing session of the Conference that, while there was much in the final documents which Australia welcomed, there was also some language with which we could not be associated.
The positive outcomes of the Conference should be protected and nurtured. It is the responsibility of all of us, governments and citizens alike, in Australia and globally, to take
forward the best of the exchanges in Durban in a forward looking and constructive spirit. We acknowledge the strong efforts of the President of the Conference, South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, to produce a positive outcome.
The World Conference concluded in Durban, South Africa on 8 September after more than a week of tough negotiations. Australia was represented at the Conference by a broad-based delegation led by Senator Kay Patterson and including indigenous, NGO, Parliamentary and youth representatives. We acknowledge the strong contributions of many Australian community and NGO representatives to the Conference.
10 September 2001
Media inquiries: Matt Francis, Mr Downer's office (02) 6277 7500 Catherine Fitzpatrick, Mr Williams' office (02) 6277 7300 Steve Ingram Mr Ruddock's office (02) 6277 7860
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