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Press Release – 05.10.2000

European conference against racism: "All different, all equal: from principle to practice", 11-13 October 2000

STRASBOURG, 05.10.2000 − A conference entitled "All different, all equal: from principle to practice − European contribution to the World Conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance" will be held on 11-13 October 2000 in Strasbourg. This conference forms Europe’s preparation, co-ordinated by the Council of Europe, for the World Conference against racism that the United Nations General Assembly has decided to hold in South Africa in 2001. It will be preceded on 10-11 October by a forum bringing together some 300 non-governmental organisations involved in this field.

Council of Europe, European Union and United Nations bodies will all be actively participating in the conference, as well as national institutions, non-governmental organisations and media professionals.

Four broad themes have been identified for in-depth discussion by working groups at the conference:

Under each theme, consideration will be given to the current situation of all groups and people subject to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance as well as issues of everyday racism (in the workplace, housing etc.), the role of young people, prevention, contemporary forms of racism and globalisation.

Italian Foreign Affairs Minister and Chairman-in-Office of the Committee of Ministers Lamberto Dini will open the conference, which will also hear keynote addresses from United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and Nobel prize-winning author GŁnter Grass. The 500 participants in the conference will also be addressed by Parliamentary Assembly President Lord Russell-Johnston, Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer, Austrian Secretary General for Foreign Affairs and representative of the Chair-in-Office of the OSCE Albert Rohan, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Anna Diamantopoulou, and Chair of the European Parliament’s Justice and Home Affairs Committee Graham Watson.

A political declaration will be adopted by the ministers of Council of Europe member states during the closing session, to be chaired by Italian Minister of Justice Piero Fassino, and attended by some thirty ministers of foreign affairs, justice and home affairs. General Conclusions adopted by the conference’s participants will be forwarded to the Preparatory Committee of the World Conference. The draft conclusions, and the full programme of the conference, are available on the website of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance.

A press briefing will take place before the opening of the conference in the office of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on Wednesday 11 October at 09h30 (see press release No. 672). A second press conference, given by Piero Fassino, Walter Schwimmer, and Human Rights Commissioner Alvaro Gil-Robles, the General Rapporteur for the conference, will take place on 13 October at 13h30 in Room 11, on the second floor of the Palais de l’Europe.

Individuals and organisations unable to be present in Strasbourg will be able to follow the conference, and comment on it, through an "interactive conference" organised by Internet Centre Anti-Racism Europe (I CARE) at http://www.icare.to.