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1. In its resolution 58/160, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on the implementation of the resolution to the Assembly at its fifty-ninth session. In the interest of consolidating information relating to global efforts towards the total elimination of racism that is available to the Assembly from other sources, the present report focuses on activities relating to the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. In this regard, reference is made to reports previously submitted on the comprehensive implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-eighth, fifty-ninth and sixtieth session (E/CN.4/2002/21, E/CN.4/2003/18 and E/CN.4/2004/17) and to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh and fifty-eighth session (A/57/443 and A/58/324).
2. On 3 May 2004, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) sent notes verbales and letters to States, United Nations bodies and specialized agencies, international and regional organizations, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) requesting information on follow-up and implementation activities undertaken in the context of the World Conference. The responses received are summarized in the present report.
II. Implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action
E. Non-governmental organizations
49. The European Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress noted that violence against Jewish communities continued to rise, including anti-Semitism in the media and among the public at large. Anti-Semitism seems more focused on the State of Israel, while previously it was mainly directed at Judaism as a religion. To this effect, the European Jewish Congress referred to important initiatives by OSCE, the European Commission and the Council of Europe. During the Regional Expert Seminar to Study Modalities for the Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, organized by OHCHR in Brussels in December 2003, Jewish NGO representatives stated that anti-Semitism stems not only from far-right racist groups but also, increasingly, from new directions.
50. The mission of the Anti-Defamation League is, notably, to combat anti-Semitism and bigotry and to monitor and respond to anti-Semitic attitudes. It publishes monthly reports highlighting acts of anti-Semitism. In April 2004, the League released an opinion survey entitled “Attitudes towards Jews, Israel and the Palestinian-Israel Conflict in ten European Countries”. The countries surveyed were Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The poll found a decrease in anti-Semitic attitudes in almost all the countries surveyed. The League considers that when leaders and institutions speak out and take action to combat anti-Semitism, not only does the number of acts of anti-Semitism decrease, but so do negative attitudes towards Jews.
52. The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Hadassah, supports and administers a number of humanitarian activities, primarily in Israel, and focuses on promoting human rights, women’s rights and peace among nations. The organization cited cases of peaceful coexistence between Arabs and Jews. Hadassah matches youth volunteers with organizations working to strengthen democracy and supports social justice in areas such as human rights, especially the right to health and women’s rights, Jewish and Arab coexistence, as well as projects to bring together Arab and Jewish children. It tries to build a constructive future based on brotherhood, assisting children to improve educationally and helping them to address psychological problems.
53. In its report, B’nai Brith praised the Secretary-General’s opening remarks at the Seminar on Anti-Semitism organized by the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat in New York on 21 June 2004. In his statement, the Secretary-General said that the United Nations human rights machinery was mobilizing in the battle against anti-Semitism. He urged the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of religion or belief and on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance to actively explore ways of combating anti-Semitism more effectively in the future. He also said that Member States could follow the excellent lead of the Berlin Declaration, which firmly condemned all manifestations of anti-Semitism, and other acts of intolerance, incitement, harassment, or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, wherever they occurred.
54. The Afro-Asian Peoples Solidarity Organization (AAPSO) organized in 2003 a conference in Cairo on the effects of regional and international incidents on human rights and a meeting on democracy and human rights was held. Its representatives participated in several panels, and organized workshops during the Commission on Human Rights and the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights to follow up on the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. AAPSO also organized a panel discussion on racial discrimination during the World Social Forum held in Mumbai, India, in 2004. Additionally, AAPSO has issued several statements on issues relating to racism and racial discrimination, including during the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in November 2003.
66. The present report illustrates that States, United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, international and regional organizations as well as non-governmental organizations and youth groups and organizations are engaged in implementing the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. It is to be noted that a larger number of stakeholders than previously responded to the request for information by OHCHR. Generally, one can note an increasing involvement by different actors in the implementation of the recommendations of the World Conference. The frequent manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance worldwide indicate, however, that further determined efforts to combat these phenomena, including close cooperation of all actors, are necessary.