'Can the UN combat racism?'

A preview of the Durban Review Conference

On 20 February 2009, the Castan Centre hosted a public forum on the UN's Durban Review Conference to be held in Geneva in April 2009.

The Review Conference will assess the progress made since the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in South Africa, and determine new strategies for the future.  At the conclusion of the 2001 conference, a range of measures were proposed, including stopping the slave trade, preventing genocide and combating the continuing effects of colonialism and colonialist ideas perpetuating racial discrimination. The review process has proved controversial, however, with some states boycotting the conference, and certain commentators advocating a boycott. 

Presentations from the Castan Centre public forum:

  • Richard Clarke , Human Rights Officer in the Anti Discrimination Unit of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, outlined the conference and its process.
    Powerpoint presentation

  • Andrea Durbach , the Director of the Australian Human Rights Centre, discussed the most important racism issues likely to be raised at the conference.
    Footnoted paper

  • Tom Calma , the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and Race Discrimination Commissioner from the Australian Human Rights Commission was unable to attend the forum, however his paper was delivered by Ihab Shalbak, Director, Racial Discrimination Unit, Australian Human Rights Commission The paper covered specific indigenous issues likely to be raised at the conference.
    Tom Calma's paper