Français
Advancement of knowledge through Scientific Research
Education
Communication
Normative instruments
Our Partners
 


Fight Against Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia
In the struggle against discrimination, UNESCO tries to identify the obstacles hampering the full exercise of human rights: the impact of nationalism, religious intolerance, discrimination against minorities, and forms of discrimination arising from scientific progress or from illness such as HIV/Aids.
 
The fight against Racism and Discrimination is at the heart of UNESCO's mandate. UNESCO directed its efforts towards drafting international instruments that outlined standard principles, concepts and universal criteria to support the fight against Racism and Discrimination. To further advance the fight against Racism and Discrimination, UNESCO also developed various operational programs and projects. A new set of dynamic objectives has been set, in parallel with the commitments made by the international community at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (Durban, South Africa, August 31st to September 7th, 2001).

  • Background

    The first article of UNESCO's Constitution, adopted on November 1945, stipulates that the Organization shall “contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration amongst Nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion”.

    Since its inception, UNESCO has upheld its commitment to this mandate by mobilizing the scientific community to refute the concept of the “race”. As a result, a series of Declarations, that included the Declaration on race and racial prejudice, 1978, produced which helped to revoke unfounded racial prejudices.

    Soon afterwards, UNESCO directed its efforts towards drafting international instruments that outlined standard principles, concepts and universal criteria to support the fight against Racism and Discrimination. The various instruments served as key standard setting documents to thwart threats on peace and social stability.

    UNESCO also developed various operational programs and projects. The special program against Apartheid was launched on behalf of the victims of institutional racism, recognized as early as 1966 by UNESCO as a “crime against humanity”. As another example, the Slave Route project, which was an intercultural initiative launched in 1993, helped to increase the understanding of the Slave Trade tragedy and of the fundamental ideologies upon which racism is based.


  • Outlook

    Ensuing the dismantling of the Apartheid System in South Africa, a historic event in which UNESCO played a key role and to which it contributed significantly, the actions of the Organization against Racism and Discrimination had become less apparent. Consequently, it became necessary to establish a new set of dynamic objectives for UNESCO which paralleled the commitments made by the international community at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (Durban, South Africa, August 31st to September 7th, 2001).

    At the Conference, UNESCO made a number of considerable contributions, which included the intervention of the UNESCO representatives during the plenary session, the coordination and organization of the round tables, an exposition, and publications. UNESCO also expressly prepared for the Conference one of the key publications entitled United to Combat Racism in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

    In the adopted Program of Action, the Conference of Durban issued a number of specific recommendations to UNESCO, inviting the Organization to strengthen its efforts in the fight against Racism and Discrimination.

    This resolution is motivated by the new global response to the events of September 11th, 2001, characterized by the reinforcement of the combat against international terrorism. This combat should also be lead with a view to respecting established Human Rights and should conform with international instruments against discrimination based on race, color, descent or ethnic origin.

    UNESCO developed a new integrated strategy to respond to the specific recommendations addressed by the Durban Conference. To this end, it organized a series of regional consultations to study the specificities of each region and the priorities to be retained in the new strategy. This Integrated Strategy to Combat Racism, Discrimination, Xenophobia and related Intolerance took into account the results of the regional consultations, organized by UNESCO, and identified regional specificities and their priorities. It is also based upon the studies carried out to better understand various causes and forms of discrimination. In sum, the strategy will fulfill three requirements:

  • the need for a thematic choice

  • the need to take account of specific regional characteristics

  • the need for operational and innovative action

  •     News


      20mars_racism.gif   20 March: Celebration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Paris, France.
    For this year 2004, proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Year for the Commemoration of the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition, workshops and events will be dedicated to the memory of the victims of this crime against humanity in order to honour their combat for freedom, equality and dignity.  More...

     

      tolerance_logo50.jpg   Message of the Director-General on the occasion of the International Day for Tolerance (16 November 2003)
      More...

     

        Contacts


      Mr Serguei Lazarev
    Chief of Section

      Ms Jun Morohashi
    Assistant Programme Specialist

      Mr Ali Moussa-Iye
    Programme Specialist

      Ms Aylin Taftali
    Consultant

      Ms Simone Warde
    Secretary





     
      Search
      Resources
      Features

    20 March: Celebration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Paris, France.20 March: Celebration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Paris, France.
    More...