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7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 PARIS 07 SP, France


Nurturing the democratic debate.  
17-02-2004 4:00 pm The first World Forum on Human Rights, organized by the French city of Nantes at the initiative and with the support of UNESCO, will be held from May 16 to 19 at the Cité des Congrès in Nantes. It will cover three themes: Human rights and terrorism; Human rights and the fight against all forms of discrimination and exclusion; Poverty as a violation of human rights.

These themes were proposed by a scientific committee of international experts on human rights currently meeting in Nantes under the chair of city’s Mayor, Jean-Marc Ayrault, who is also a member of the French Parliament, and of UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences Pierre Sané.

The World Forum on Human Rights is organized in cooperation with the French National Commission for UNESCO, under the patronage of the President of France, Jacques Chirac, and of UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura. Dedicated to the memory of Sergio Vieira de Mello, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who was killed in a bombing in Baghdad on August 19, 2003, the Forum takes places as part of the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition.

The Forum’s main goal is to bring together people involved at all levels in the promotion and defense of human rights to exchange ideas and experiences. Government representatives at the local, national, regional and international level will meet on an equal footing with representatives of civil society, including non-governmental organizations, lawyers and experts from human rights institutions, as well as members of the private sector. The Forum will offer an opportunity for dialogue to people who, in all too many cases, are working in isolation.

A speaker will address each of the three themes on which an expert will also present an analytical study. Several panelists from different parts of the world will then discuss the document before opening the public debate.

Speakers and experts who have confirmed their participation include: Hassan Bubacar Jallow (Gambia) Prosecutor of the Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; Doudou Diène (Senegal), Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Kalliopi Koufa (Greece) Special Rapporteur on terrorism and human rights.

Several round tables will tackle various aspects of each theme. The French National Commission for UNESCO and the Organization’s Education Sector will hold one of these round tables, on human rights education. Cultural events, including concerts and films, will also be held during the Forum.

The Forum’s complete programme and list of participants will be presented in early April at a press conference in Paris.

Source Media advisory No 2004 - 09


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