Thursday, July 1, 2010

Astana High-level Conference calls for implementation of commitments on tolerance and non-discrimination, increased co-operation with civil society

The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, State Secretary and Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Kanat Saudabayev, at the conclusion of the High-level OSCE Conference on Tolerance and Non-Discrimination, expressed support for initiatives to strengthen dialogue and understanding, reaffirm respect for human rights and encouraged co-operation with civil society to prevent hate crimes and fight intolerance.

"Our conference clearly confirmed the commitment of Kazakhstan's OSCE Chairmanship and the OSCE community as a whole to strengthening tolerance, inter-ethnic and inter-religious accord," Saudabayev said.

Reading from the provisions of the Astana Declaration resulting from the conference, Saudabayev added:

"The OSCE Chairmanship reaffirms that respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law is important in creating a context for intercultural, inter-religious and inter-ethnic understanding, and is at the core of the OSCE comprehensive concept of security."

"Together with the OSCE participating States, we call for implementation of the OSCE commitments with a view to devising and implementing effective policy measures aimed at preventing and responding to manifestations of racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, discrimination and intolerance, including against Christians, Muslims, members of other religions, Roma and Sinti, other ethnic and racial groups."

The Chairperson-in-Office emphasized that this could be done through legislation, law enforcement training, data collection and monitoring of hate crimes, education, media and constructive public discourse, as well as through the establishment of national institutions or specialized bodies.

He said OSCE participating States encouraged each other "to work with civil society in the prevention of hate crimes", and "to engage in co-operation with civil society and communities in inter-cultural, inter-religious and inter-ethnic partnerships".

He said also of importance is the proposal put forward by the Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev on 29 June to establish an OSCE Centre for Tolerance and Non-discrimination.

The two-day High-Level Conference on Tolerance and Co-operation gathered around 600 participants from OSCE participating States, OSCE institutions and international and non-governmental organizations.

Source: OSCE. Published on 30 June 2010

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