Human Rights

At the initiative of the Geneva Centre, a coalition of NGOs will organize on 9 May an Emergency Assembly on the rise of global racism and the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA)

GENEVA, Apr 24 2019 - A panel debate will be organized by the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue – a think tank holding special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council –, in partnership with the World Against Racism Network and the Global Coalition for the International Decade for People of African Descent, on the surge of global racism, hate speech and religious intolerance around the world.

The debate entitled “Emergency Assembly on the Crisis of Global Racism“ will be held in room XI on 9 May, from 15:00 to 18:00, at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

The conference will be organized in a situation of renewed attention and alarm over the resurgence of racism at global level. It is taking openly aggressive forms expressed through Islamophobia, Arabophobia, Afrophobia and Christianophobia. The terrorist attacks of 15 March 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand and of 21 April 2019 in Colombo, Sri Lanka have demonstrated clearly that world society lives in dangerous times when the rise of hate ideologies erupts into violence unexpectedly.

The conference will be held strategically in between two important events in Geneva that will bring international participants to the UN on the issue of racism. In its 6-9 May session the Group of Independent Eminent Experts will discuss the continued relevance of the DDPA and commemorate its 20th anniversary. On 10 May, OHCHR will organize a consultation on people of African Descent and a Permanent Forum on People of African descent to consider it as an integral part of the full and effective implementation of the DDPA.

In this connection, the Emergency Assembly will be a public platform to energize international action against racism and to influence the Human Rights Council and General Assembly to give increased priority to the work against racism in its resolutions to be adopted during 2019. The conference will likewise aim to rebuild a programme for implementing the DDPA as a whole.

The 9 May panel debate will be opened and moderated by the Executive Director of the Geneva Centre Ambassador Idriss Jazairy.

The conference will benefit from the participation of the following high-level panellists:

    (1) HE Refiloe Litjobo, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Lesotho to UN in Geneva and Chair of the Intergovernmental Working Group for DDPA implementation;
    (2) Mr Ahmed Reid, Chair of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent;
    (3) Ms Edna Roland, Chair of the Group of Independent Eminent Experts on the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action;
    (4) Ms. Dowoti Desir, Chair of the NGO Committee Against Racism and Afrophobia;
    (5) Ms E. Tendayi Achiume, UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;
    (6) Mr Jan Lönn, Secretary, World Against Racism Network.

All attendees who do not hold a UN badge are kindly requested to register by sending an email to

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