Ban Ki-moon 'heartened' after anti-racism conference

At the end of the controversial Durban II anti-racism conference in Switzerland that has been mired in controversy, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was "heartened" by the approval of a declaration against xenophobia and intolerance.


AFP - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was "heartened" by the approval Tuesday of a declaration against xenophobia and intolerance by diplomats at a UN-sponsored anti-racism conference in Switzerland, a spokeswoman said.

"The secretary-general is heartened that today all member states present in the Durban Review Conference adopted its outcome document by consensus," Ban said here through a spokeswoman.

He added that in approving the declaration, the international community gives "hope to the millions of victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance around the world."

Ban expressed regret however that various countries including the United States boycotted the meeting, and that an anti-Israel tirade by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prompted 23 European Union delegations to walk out in protest.

"The fight against racism is a continuous process," the UN leader's statement continued.

"He therefore hopes that those member states who did not participate will rejoin the international community soon in the fight against the scourges of racism and racial discrimination."

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