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Provision of Effective Remedies and Other Measures

UNITED NATIONS A, General Assembly Distr., GENERAL, A/ CONF. 189/…… 24 September 2001, Original: ENGLISH, WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCE Durban, 31 August-8 September 2001, Adopted on 8 September 2001 in Durban, South Africa (Final Version Released on December 31, 2002)
EDITOR's Note: This document on this website has been reorganized around the themes of the conference. To obtain the original unedited version see:



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            98.            We emphasize the importance and necessity of teaching about the facts and truth of the history of humankind from antiquity to the recent past, as well as of teaching about the facts and truth of the history, causes, nature and consequences of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, with a view to achieving a comprehensive and objective cognizance of the tragedies of the past;

            99.            We acknowledge and profoundly regret the massive human suffering and the tragic plight of millions of men, women and children caused by slavery, the slave trade, the transatlantic slave trade, apartheid, colonialism and genocide, and call upon States concerned to honour the memory of the victims of past tragedies and affirm that, wherever and whenever these occurred, they must be condemned and their recurrence prevented. We regret that these practices and structures, political, socio-economic and cultural, have led to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

            100.            We acknowledge and profoundly regret the untold suffering and evils inflicted on millions of men, women and children as a result of slavery, the slave trade, the transatlantic slave trade, apartheid, genocide and past tragedies.  We further note that some States have taken the initiative to apologize and have paid reparation, where appropriate, for grave and massive violations committed;

            101.            With a view to closing those dark chapters in history and as a means of reconciliation and healing, we invite the international community and its members to honour the memory of the victims of these tragedies. We further note that some have taken the initiative of regretting or expressing remorse or presenting apologies, and call on all those who have not yet contributed to restoring the dignity of the victims to find appropriate ways to do so and, to this end, appreciate those countries that have done so;

            102.            We are aware of the moral obligation on the part of all concerned States and call upon these States to take appropriate and effective measures to halt and reverse the lasting consequences of those practices;

            103.            We recognize the consequences of past and contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance as serious challenges to global peace and security, human dignity and the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms of many people in the world, in particular Africans, people of African descent, people of Asian descent and indigenous peoples;

            104.            We also strongly reaffirm as a pressing requirement of justice that victims of human rights violations resulting from racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, especially in the light of their vulnerable situation socially, culturally and economically, should be assured of having access to justice, including legal assistance where appropriate, and effective and appropriate protection and remedies, including the right to seek just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for any damage suffered as a result of such discrimination, as enshrined in numerous international and regional human rights instruments, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination;

            105.            Guided by the principles set out in the Millennium Declaration and the recognition that we have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity and to ensure that globalization becomes a positive force for all the world’s people, the international community commits itself to working for the beneficial integration of the developing countries into the global economy, resisting their marginalization, determined to achieve accelerated economic growth and sustainable development and to eradicate poverty, inequality and deprivation;

            106.            We emphasize that remembering the crimes or wrongs of the past, wherever and whenever they occurred, unequivocally condemning its racist tragedies and telling the truth about history are essential elements for international reconciliation and the creation of societies based on justice, equality and solidarity;

Programme of Action


157.            Recognizes the efforts of developing countries, in particular the commitment and the determination of the African leaders, to seriously address the challenges of poverty, underdevelopment, marginalization, social exclusion, economic disparities, instability and insecurity, through initiatives such as the New African Initiative and other innovative mechanisms such as the World Solidarity Fund for the Eradication of Poverty, and calls upon developed countries, the United Nations and its specialized agencies, as well as international financial institutions, to provide, through their operational programmes, new and additional financial resources, as appropriate, to support these initiatives;

            158.            Recognizes that these historical injustices have undeniably contributed to the poverty, underdevelopment, marginalization, social exclusion, economic disparities, instability and insecurity that affect many people in different parts of the world, in particular in developing countries. The Conference recognizes the need to develop programmes for the social and economic development of these societies and the Diaspora, within the framework of a new partnership based on the spirit of solidarity and mutual respect, in the following areas:

            Debt relief;

            Poverty eradication;

            Building or strengthening democratic institutions;

            Promotion of foreign direct investment;

            Market access;

Intensifying efforts to meet the internationally agreed targets for official development assistance transfers to developing countries;

            New information and communication technologies bridging the digital divide;

            Agriculture and food security;

            Transfer of technology;

            Transparent and accountable governance;

Investment in health infrastructure tackling HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, including through the Global AIDS and Health Fund;

            Infrastructure development;

            Human resource development, including capacity-building;

            Education, training and cultural development;

Mutual legal assistance in the repatriation of illegally obtained and illegally transferred (stashed) funds, in accordance with national and international instruments;

            Illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons;

Restitution of art objects, historical artefacts and documents to their countries of origin, in accordance with bilateral agreements or international instruments;

            Trafficking in persons, particularly women and children;

            Facilitation of welcomed return and resettlement of the descendants of enslaved Africans;

            159.            Urges international financial and development institutions and the operational programmes and specialized agencies of the United Nations to give greater priority to, and allocate appropriate funding for, programmes addressing the development challenges of the affected States and societies, in particular those on the African continent and in the Diaspora;

Legal assistance

            160.            Urges States to take all necessary measures to address, as a matter of urgency, the pressing requirement for justice for the victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and to ensure that victims have full access to information, support, effective protection and national, administrative and judicial remedies, including the right to seek just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for damage, as well as legal assistance, where required;

            161.            Urges States to facilitate for victims of racial discrimination, including victims of torture and ill-treatment, access to all appropriate legal procedures and free legal assistance in a manner adapted to their specific needs and vulnerability, including through legal representation;

            162.            Urges States to ensure the protection against victimization of complainants and witnesses of acts of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and to consider measures such as, where appropriate, making legal assistance, including legal aid, available to complainants seeking a legal remedy and, if possible, affording the possibility for nongovernmental organizations to support complainants of racism, with their consent, in legal procedures;

National legislation and programmes

            163.            For the purposes of effectively combating racism and racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in the civil, political, economic, social and cultural fields, the Conference recommends to all States that their national legislative framework should expressly and specifically prohibit racial discrimination and provide effective judicial and other remedies or redress, including through the designation of national, independent, specialized bodies;

            164.            Urges States, with regard to the procedural remedies provided for in their domestic law, to bear in mind the following considerations:

            (a)            Access to such remedies should be widely available, on a non-discriminatory and equal basis;

            (b)            Existing procedural remedies should be made known in the context of the relevant action, and victims of racial discrimination should be helped to avail themselves of them in accordance with the particular case;

            (c)            Inquiries into complaints of racial discrimination and the adjudication of such complaints must be carried out as rapidly as possible;

            (d)            Persons who are victims of racial discrimination should be accorded legal assistance and aid in complaint proceedings, where applicable free of charge, and, where necessary, should be provided with the help of competent interpreters in such complaint proceedings or in any civil or criminal cases arising therefrom or connected thereto;

            (e)            The creation of competent national bodies to investigate effectively allegations of racial discrimination and to give protection to complainants against intimidation or harassment is a desirable development and should be undertaken; steps should be taken towards the enactment of legislation to prohibit discriminatory practices on grounds of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin, and to provide for the application of appropriate penalties against offenders and remedies, including adequate compensation, for the victims;

            (f)            Access to legal remedies should be facilitated for victims of discrimination and, in this regard, the innovation of conferring a capacity on national and other institutions, as well as relevant non-governmental organizations, to assist such victims should be seriously considered, and programmes should be developed to enable the most vulnerable groups to have access to the legal system;

            (g)            New and innovative methods and procedures of conflict resolution, mediation and conciliation between parties involved in conflicts or disputes based on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance should be explored and, where possible, established;

            (h)            The development of restorative justice policies and programmes for the benefit of victims of relevant forms of discrimination is desirable and should be seriously considered;

            (i)            States which have made the declaration under article 14 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination should make increased efforts to inform their public of the existence of the complaints mechanism under article 14;

Remedies, reparations, compensation

            165.            Urges States to reinforce protection against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance by ensuring that all persons have access to effective and adequate remedies and enjoy the right to seek from competent national tribunals and other national institutions just and adequate reparation and satisfaction for any damage as a result of such discrimination.  It further underlines the importance of access to the law and to the courts for complainants of racism and racial discrimination and draws attention to the need for judicial and other remedies to be made widely known, easily accessible, expeditious and not unduly complicated;

            166.            Urges States to adopt the necessary measures, as provided by national law, to ensure the right of victims to seek just and adequate reparation and satisfaction to redress acts of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and to design effective measures to prevent the repetition of such acts;


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Measures of Prevention Education and Protection
Provision of Effective Remedies and Other Measures
Strategies to Achieve Full and Effective Equality


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