Whereas President TM Mbeki in his State of the Nation Address on the occasion of the official opening of parliament on 4 February 2000, called for a National Conference on Racism and requested the South African Human Rights Commission to convene such an event; Whereas the South African Human Rights Commission convened a National Steering Committee which included the Commission on Gender Equality, South African Non-Governmental Organisational Coalition (SANGOCO) and government representatives to guide it in the organisation of the National Conference; Whereas the National Steering Committee adopted certain principles which would guide the conduct of the National Conference on Racism: that it would be truly national and representative of all sectors of South African society; it would be fully participatory and interactive in order to ensure that the views, experiences and visions of ordinary South Africans were heard. To this end comprehensive provincial public consultations and public meetings were undertaken and nation-wide public submissions and contributions solicited to inform the National Conference. Further, the National Conference would be outcomes-oriented in order to commit all South Africans to a common programme of action to combat racism; Whereas it was resolved that the objectives of the National Conference on Racism were to promote understanding of the nature, meaning and manifestations of racism in South African society, devise a common programme for the elimination of all forms of racism and make preparations for the United Nations 3rd World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance due to be held in South Africa in August / September 2001; Whereas the United Nations General Assembly has declared the year 2000 to be the International Year for the Culture of Peace and 2001 the International Year of Mobilisation against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and also proclaimed 1993-2003 the 3rd Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. Whereas South Africa is guided by the Constitution which asserts the values of "human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms" as among the highest aspirations of national life; Whereas those values are more fully elaborated upon and protected in a justifiable Bill of Rights and enacted in legislation, principally among which are the Employment Equity Act, 1998 and the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000. Sections of the latter law came into effect on 1 September 2000 during the course of the National Conference on Racism; Whereas South Africa developed a National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights which was duly deposited with the United Nations on 10 December 1998 to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that a National Consultative Forum on Human Rights has now been established; that the National Action Plan recognises that racism is a major problem that prevents the full enjoyment of human rights, especially economic and social rights and affects the development of a culture of human rights in South Africa; Whereas South Africa is a proud member of the community of nations and shares the universal abhorrence of racism as stated in international instruments such as the International Bill of Human Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which it is party, and endorses the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (1993), the Grand Bay (Mauritius) Declaration and Plan of Action adopted by the 1st OAU Ministerial Conference on Human Rights (April 1999) and other statements and resolutions of the United Nations, the Organisation of African Unity and the Southern...
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