UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON RACISM TO VISIT CANADA AND COLOMBIA


5 September 2003


The Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Doudou Diène, will visit Canada from 15 to 26 September and then Colombia from 29 September to 10 October 2003. Canada and Colombia are among the countries that have issued standing invitations to the Special Procedures of the Commission.
In Canada, the Special Rapporteur will undertake an extensive range of meetings and site visits to gain first-hand knowledge of the country’s policies to address racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance, including its official policy of multiculturalism. His schedule will include meetings with Federal, provincial and local government officials, members of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Aboriginal communities and leaders, as well as representatives of diverse ethnic, racial and religious groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other civil society groups. Mr. Diène will visit Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Regina and Toronto in order to obtain a broad perspective of Canada’s multicultural society.
During his visit to Colombia the Special Rapporteur will assess the progress achieved by the Government in implementing its various policies and measures aimed at improving the situation of Afro-Colombians and Indigenous people. He will meet with Government officials, Parliamentarians and the Public Defender. He will also hold consultations with representatives of Afro-Colombians and Indigenous communities, as well as representatives of other NGOs promoting and protecting human rights. His tentative itinerary includes visits to Bogotá and other cities.
Mr. Diène will promote in both countries a twin-track strategy to support efforts to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance: an intellectual strategy to understand racial and ethnic relations and a legal and political strategy aimed at implementing all pertinent international instruments. He will report his findings to the Commission on Human Rights at its next meeting beginning in March 2004.
Mr. Diène is a former UNESCO Director of the Department of International Dialogue and Pluralism for a Culture of Peace and was appointed in April 2002 by the United Nations Commission of Human Rights as its Special Rapporteur on Racism. Since his appointment he has also visited Guyana and Trinidad.