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Press Release – 28.08.2001

Council of Europe Secretary General to take part in Durban World Conference

Strasbourg, 28.08.01 – Walter Schwimmer, Council of Europe Secretary General, is to take part in the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, in Durban between 31 August and 5 September. He will address the Conference on Sunday 2 September.

The fight against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia has been one of the Council of Europe’s main concerns for years. In October 2000, it organised a regional conference as the European contribution to the Durban event. At the closing ceremony of the European Regional Conference, the Ministers of member States adopted a Political Declaration, in which member States committed themselves to a range of measures to combat racism.

Signed or ratified by 27 states, Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights is an important addition to the Convention, guaranteeing redress for victims of discrimination.

Finally, the Council of Europe has set up a European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). Composed of independent experts with recognised moral authority, the Commission publishes regular country-by-country reports that provoke considerable public debate. A second round of reports is currently under way, with about twenty already published.