Switzerland to attend UN racism summit

Switzerland announced on Saturday it would participate in the United Nations anti-racism conference beginning on Monday in Geneva.

This content was published on April 18, 2009 - 15:20

Officials said the composition of the delegation would be announced later on, leaving open the question of whether or not Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey would attend the opening of the Durban Review Conference.

The meeting is a follow-up to the controversial World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001.

Switzerland, like the European Union and its member states, had made participation for the Geneva meeting conditional on a draft version of the final document.

The United States, Canada, Italy and Israel will not attend.

The Russian-backed compromised final document has eliminated references to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and does not equate criticism of religion to racism.

Host city Geneva is the UN's European seat and home to the organisation's Human Rights Council. So far, 103 countries have said they will attend the four-day conference.

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