WCAR chief organiser acknowledges Africa's contribution

Durban- South Africa (PANA) -- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson has paid tribute to African countries for what she said was the extra effort they have made to contribute to the World Conference against Racism due to start in Durban on Friday.
Speaking Thursday afternoon to journalists, Robinson said the UN has taken note of the high level of representation from African countries attending the world event.
Questioned on the significance of the US boycotting the event for the third time, she said the "middle level" delegation that will represent Washington will have an impact on the conference.
She said she has had close dealings with Michael Sedgwick, who is heading the US delegation, affirming "he is a skilled negotiator leading a team of experts".
Robinson, who is also Secretary-General of the Conference, expressed grave concern at growing tensions between Israeli and Palestinian delegations attending the event, saying "this is a conference about human dignity - we are here to listen to the victims".
Earlier in the day, Robinson conveyed her condolences to President Thabo Mbeki, following the death of his father Govan Mbeki.
"Govan Mbeki's death on the eve of the World Conference reminds us of his enormous contribution to the struggle against racism and oppression in South Africa," she said.
In honour of Govan Mbeki, flags at the International Conference Centre in Durban are being flown at half-mast.

30 august 2001 16:31:00

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