Concluding Statement from National Human Rights Institutions at the
Durban Review Conference
Geneva, 24 April 2009
Representatives of 39 National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from all
regions of the world attended the Durban Review Conference.
In a statement to the conference, they welcomed the adoption of the outcome
document and called on all countries to adhere to it. They said it had been the
subject of long and often difficult negotiations, and it was a sign of great hope
that consensus had been reached on so many issues.
It provided a good basis for making progress in combating racism and racial
discrimination (including multiple discrimination) and promoting cultural diversity
in a framework of indivisible and universal human rights.
Its adoption was an important milestone in the Durban process and they
welcomed the strong recognition it gave to the role of NHRIs.
In a side event on the role of NHRIs in implementing the Durban Declaration and
Programme of Action (DDPA), held on the 20 April 2009 and organised by the
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in collaboration
with the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of NHRIs, they recognised
there were different manifestations of racism in different regions and countries.
They identified 14 priorities they were committed to advancing together. These
promote the goals of the Durban process as a global effort to combat racism
promote the ratification of international treaties and the implementation of
their provisions at a national level
promote reporting to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
further increase engagement with the UN human rights system and the
OHCHR as a two-way process
monitor racism at national, regional and global levels
establish focal points on racism within NHRIs, and network to share good
promote and participate in the development of national plans of action to
exercise our mandates in relation to the rights of indigenous peoples,
including engaging with NGOs, indigenous peoples, ethnic and religious
minorities, vulnerable groups, business and the media
ensure data about racism is collected and research is conducted ethically,
and contribute this to the observatory to be developed by the High
Commissioner for Human Rights
engage with the wider public on racism and gain public confidence in our
procedures by being accessible to victims
despite the current environment of financial constraints, ensure that
governments adequately resource NHRIs to carry out our functions under the
Paris Principles, independently and effectively.
NHRIs attending the Durban Review Conference said they would be
commending these priorities to NHRIs who were unable to be present. They
would be inviting their support, as well as that of states, NGOs, United Nations
bodies, and in particular the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,
for their achievement.
In daily meetings at the Conference, NHRIs resolved to request the ICC place
the commitments by NHRIs on the agenda of the next ICC Bureau meeting, and
to consider the above commitments and further implementation of the Durban
process at the next ICC meeting. They encouraged regional coordinating bodies
of NHRIs to do the same. They asked the ICC to report to the forthcoming
annual meetings of the UN Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies in June on the
role of NHRIs in the Durban process and the UN international human rights
They expressed particular support for the attendance of NHRIs from Australia,
Germany and New Zealand, whose governments had not attended the
Conference. Their presence was an important affirmation of the role and
independence of National Human Rights Institutions.
They felt a strong sense of common purpose because of their commitment to
human rights and a structured process of daily discussions enabling them to
speak with one voice. They welcomed the support they had received from the
High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay, and the Deputy High
Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Kyung-wha Kang, who both recognised
NHRIs as critical partners for the UN human rights system.
They expressed their appreciation for the support received from the National
Institutions Unit of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the
contribution of the ICC Geneva representative.