click here

H.E. Mohamed Kamel Amr
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Arab Republic of Egypt
General Assembly
High-Level Meeting
Commemorating the Tenth Anniversary
of adopting
the Durban Declaration and programme
of Action
New York, 22 September, 2011
Please check against delivery
Mr. Chairman,
At the outset I would like to express our appreciation to the President
of the General Assembly for holding this important meeting under his
auspices. Our commemoration of the 10th anniversary of adopting the
Durban Declaration and Programme of Actions, reaffirm that the underlying
reasons which motivated the international community to gather in Durban
during 2001 for the World Conference against Racism, Racial
Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, still persist today.
Today we reaffirm our commitment to the principles and priorities of
Durban, and our resolve to combat the negative impacts of racism, racial
discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances regarding of the
attempts of some to criticize and derogate from them.
Humanity had undergone various symptoms of social maladies that
were regrettably, more often than not, related to colour, race, religion or
belief, and which had caused many historical atrocities. Despite the serious
steps taken by the international community to implement the International
Convention on the Abolition of Slavery and the International Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), and the
ongoing efforts in following up on the implementation of the Durban
Declaration and Plan of Action, and despite the progress made so far in
realising the universality of the International Covenants of Human Rights,
we still witness the emergence of new forms of racism in contemporary
world. This is particularly so notwithstanding the burgeoning need on the
part of the international community to benefit from the civilisational,
cultural and religious diversity within societies in promoting understanding
and integration.
While some States are exerting keen efforts to confront these alarming
trends, the response of others is still lagging behind in confronting the
inclusion of agendas that give stamina to these phenomena in the platforms
of their political parties, based on an illusion of superiority, be it on the
grounds of race, culture, religion or thought. This comes in total disregard to
the fact that the enjoyment of the freedom of expression of opinion comes
with great responsibilities towards the society, on top of which is the
commitment to enhance democratic dialogue and promote tolerance and
understanding, not to spread hate and discrimination against migrants in the
recipient societies, or against those who belong to certain cultures and
religions in order to realise narrow interests and racist ideologies that lead
to creating conflict and destabilising the ordre public.
Equally alarming is the existing conflation that some have between
combating terrorism on the one hand, and the unjustified prejudice against
individuals and communities on religious grounds on the other, which could
coincide in numerous occasions with prejudice on racial grounds. The
nuisances that members of these communities face under the guise of
security pretexts, and within the context of politicising and tightening
migration regulations and asylum in the name of protecting national identity,
have become recurrent symptoms that require serious review in order to
avoid undermining our efforts to promote mutual understanding and
Ensuring equality to victims of racism, racial discrimination,
xenophobia and related intolerances can only be successful when the root
causes resulting in their victimization are properly addressed. The spread of
extremist right-wing ideologies that incite to hatred should be of grave
concern to the international community as they jeopardize our efforts to
ensure that democratic principles and practices are respected in our
communities, this necessitates that we reaffirm our commitment to the full
and honest implementation of relevant international Human Rights
instruments and the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in
order to spread the values of tolerance, peaceful coexistence and enable our
communities to respect the diversity resulting from globalization.
Eliminating these negative phenomena requires consolidating the
international community's resolve and action within the framework of a
multifaceted approach, in tandem with our efforts to reinforce the principles
of democracy and respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms. We
should act in parallel at the national levels to deal with the weakness or
absence of necessary legal instruments in some States to prohibit incitement
to racism and discrimination in all their forms and prevent impunity.
In this regard, we welcome the efforts of the High Commissioner on
Human rights to present a study taking stock of the lessons learnt and best
practices, and welcome also the legislative and administrative measures
recently implemented by some States to combat defamation of religions and
the growth of racist trends, and we hope that others will follow suit.
The ongoing deliberations within the Human Rights Council on
elaborating complementary standards to the International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination are thus of paramount
importance, as they would contribute to rebuilding confidence between the
North and the South in dealing with these important issues, and combating
all forms of discrimination across the globe on the basis of race, sex,
language or religion. It is indeed important to complement our efforts in
implementing our common commitments according to the Durban
Declaration and Programme of Action and the Outcome Document of the
Review Conference, particularly when it comes to discrimination against
women, national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, migrants and
others who face varying degrees of social marginalisation and discrimination
or who are being exposed to systematic attempts to suppress their cultures
and are forced to hide their religious affiliations.
Enhancing cooperation at the international level to promote dialogue,
mutual understanding and enlightened education is equally of great
significance, and should be within a framework of partnership and
cooperation with nongovernmental organisations, the private sector and
national associations. We should also continue our efforts to promote the
freedom of expression according to our commitments under existing
international human rights instruments, in a manner that prevents the
exacerbation of the sentiments of racism and hatred and encourages the
media to perform its lofty message in spreading awareness, educating
communities and confronting the trends that promote intolerance and
conflict. Our endeavour in this regard should avoid any attached
conditionalities that aim at imposing controversial notions that do not take
into account the divergent social, cultural and value systems of different
societies, or linking these notions to development assistance and
While the International year of people of African descent draws up to
an end, we have to continue to reinforce the international commitment to the
lofty principles that we established sixty years ago in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, the first of which is that “recognition of the
inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the
human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
It is time for vigorous international action to confront the proliferation of
malaise of racism and discrimination in all their forms in every State without
exception, within a comprehensive and mature framework that takes into
consideration the necessary balance between the rights and responsibilities
of all.
Thank you Mr. Chairman