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SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 1493rd MEETING
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Friday, 17 August 2001, at 10 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. SHERIFIS
THIRD DECADE TO COMBAT RACISM AND RACIAL DISCRIMINATION; THIRD WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCE ( continued)
THIRD DECADE TO COMBAT RACISM AND RACIAL DISCRIMINATION; THIRD WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCE ( continued ) (A/CONF.189/PC.3/L.1, A/CONF.189/PC.3/L.1/Add.2, and A/CONF.189/PC.3/8)
21. Ms. JANUARY-BARDILL, reporting in her capacity as Convenor of the Contact Group, said the Preparatory Conference had made good progress towards ensuring a successful World Conference. Just over half of both the draft programme of action and the draft declaration had been adopted; issues remaining to be resolved at the World Conference itself included discussion of the situation in the Middle East and Palestine, language with reference to the Holocaust and zionism and the matter of reparations for colonialism. With regard to the latter, she said the African Group had suggested a development approach for compensating contemporary incidents of racial discrimination but the issue of an apology and that of a list of victims was still unresolved. The Committee’s contributions were fairly well reflected in the documents and would be further strengthened at the Conference.
22. The CHAIRMAN thanked the Convenor and the other members of the contact group for their excellent work.
23. Mr. RESHETOV said that all the members of the Committee should be kept well informed about developments at the World Conference itself once they returned to their home countries, since the Conference would be arousing much public interest and they would undoubtedly be called upon to comment. The members from countries with large Jewish populations, for instance, would surely be questioned about the Middle East issues. In that connection, he asked whether the issue of equating zionism and racism had actually been resolved in the Preparatory Committee.
24. Ms. JANUARY-BARDILL said that the issue had been assigned specifically to a smaller working group within the Group of 21, chaired by the South African Ambassador, which had decided that the 1991 General Assembly resolution repealing an earlier resolution equating the two should not be challenged. What remained to be settled from the point of view of language at the World Conference were the questions that concerned current developments in Palestine.
25. Mr. ABOUL-NASR said that in his view the members of the Committee who would be attending the World Conference should at all times reflect the Committee’s positions, decisions and recommendations rather than their own personal views, since they were not going as independent experts. Any personal views expressed should be identified as such. It would be useful for members to have with them in Durban copies of all Committee decisions regarding clear instances of racial discrimination. When the Conference dealt with the Middle East issues, it should set them in a broader context and refer to other similar past or present situations elsewhere.
26. The CHAIRMAN said that the delegation would of course be guided by Committee positions and, while promoting first and foremost the goals of the World Conference, it would seek to enhance the Committee’s image and its positions. It had ample material to take with it: the series of amendments it had proposed to the language of the draft Declaration and draft Programme of Action, which it would continue to put forward; and also its own past decisions on various issues over the years. The Committee would subsequently have a major role to play in the follow-up to the Conference.
The meeting rose at 1 p.m.