Parliamentary Meeting

Organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and South African Parliament
Durban, 2 September 2001


We, the members of parliament attending the parliamentary meeting held on the occasion of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, declare that racism violates the fundamental human right to equality and denies millions of human beings all over the world the full enjoyment of both their civil and political rights and their social, economic and cultural rights. It is our belief that the prevalence of armed conflict in many parts of the world has resulted in worsening poverty and in forced population movements in search of new lives and opportunities. We are equally of the opinion that although modern technology brings people closer and has the potential of giving great benefits to humankind, it can also hasten the spread of racist ideas and intolerance towards others. No country can claim to be free from racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

As parliamentarians we are aware of the particular role and responsibility that Parliaments and their members have in the fight against racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance, for parliaments adopt laws, approve the national budget and oversee the executive branch of government. Members of parliament have a personal responsibility to use their influence on public opinion to promote the values of diversity and tolerance.

The Program of Action to be adopted at the World Conference invites the Inter-Parliamentary Union to contribute to the activities of the International Year of Mobilization against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance by encouraging national parliaments to review progress in relation to the objectives of the World Conference. It also invites the Inter-Parliamentary Union to encourage debate in, and action by, Parliaments on legal measures to be taken at the national level to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

We urge Parliaments to provide special mechanisms to monitor and ensure effective implementation by governments and to initiate activities to fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Such actions would be strengthened by co-operation with civil society.

We hereby pledge to make every effort, within our parliaments and constituencies, to combat racism, xenophobia and racial discrimination and to work towards the establishment of a society based on solidarity, tolerance and equality. To that end, we shall do our utmost to ensure that our States cooperate closely with the United Nations in its endeavours to establish a world free from direct and indirect discrimination based on race, colour, work and descent, national or ethnic origin, gender or on any other feature. In that regard, we are conscious of the importance of national adherence to and implementation of relevant international treaties, in particular the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW) and the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its Protocol.

We shall urge our Parliaments to adopt and monitor the implementation of laws that are consistent with their Constitutions and which are necessary for this purpose, including, where required, measures of affirmative action and systems of redress for the victims of racist acts. We shall also strive to make sure that leading figures in society, including members of parliament, along with educational institutions such as schools imbue current and future generations with a profound appreciation of the value of diversity in a world where we all share a common heritage and destiny.

We urge our Parliaments and members to follow up the implementation of the World Solidarity Fund adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations with its main objective to alleviate poverty, reduce inequalities and injustice and racial hatred and to enhance and strengthen solidarity and tolerance between people and Nations.

We accordingly call on the Inter-Parliamentary Union to take appropriate action to follow up on the Program of Action to be adopted by the World Conference.

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