Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The UNESCO Coalition of African Cities Against Racism and Discrimination is officially launched

On the occasion of the fourth Africities Summit held September 18th-24th, 2006 in Nairobi, Kenya, UNESCO launched the Coalition of African Cities Against Racism and Discrimination. The initiative is a follow-up on the Durban meeting of experts that drew up a Plan of Action reflecting the specificities and priorities of Africa last May.

As a response to the persisting practice of apartheid, xenophobia, ethnical and religious intolerance, and the legacy of historical slavery, UNESCO urged African leaders to formulate strategies and policies to fight racism and discrimination in their respective cities. Four cities have been called upon to take on the role of “lead city” – Bamako for West Africa, Durban for Southern Africa, Kigali for Central Africa and Nairobi for East Africa.

UNESCO also urged rights groups to continue in their fight against the discrimination of the victims of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, saying their acceptance in the society was critical.

Below are excerpts from remarks made during the Summit:

"It's sad to say in Africa ethnical backgrounds lead to racism and discrimination. This has hindered the continent's development in the fight against discrimination, a vice that needs total devotion to eliminate", said Pierre Sane, UNESCO Assistance Director General for Social and Human Sciences.

"The issue of racism and discrimination and the attitude in the mind threatens equality and security of our people and the responsibilities is on our shoulders as authorities to create room for all in tolerance of racism and promote mutual understanding among our people", added Nairobi City Mayor Dick Wathika.
Photo© Africities 2006

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