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Rights chief pushes Geneva anti-racism summit

The United Nations high commissioner for human rights has urged western countries not to boycott the upcoming World Conference Against Racism in Geneva.

Navi Pillay made the remarks after a meeting in Bern with Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey on Thursday.

Several countries are reportedly boycotting the conference amid concerns that Israel will be targeted over its occupation of Palestinian territories. These fears are unjustified, Pillay noted.

She said the conference in Geneva in April would focus on the implementation of anti-racism policies agreed in Durban, South Africa, eight years ago.

Calmy-Rey said Switzerland supported a fair final outcome at next month's World Conference Against Racism and was involved in preparations for the conference at the European headquarters of the UN in Geneva.

The Swiss government however is still to decide on its participation in the five-day conference, due to open on April 20.

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