HREOC and the World Conference on Racism


The United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance took place in South Africa from 31 August - 8 September 2001. The conference was organised by the United Nations to mark the International Year - and the Third Decade - for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The World Conference focused on practical steps that countries can take to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. It also examined emerging challenges such as those posed by the proliferation of race hate speech on the Internet.

Australia's Participation

To prepare for the World Conference, the Commission conducted a variety of activities to examine the state of racism in Australia throughout 2001. These activities included the release of discussion papers, the launch of a moderated bulletin board and extensive consultations with civil society.

Summaries on specific topics prepared by the Commission


The Commission was represented at the World Conference by the Social Justice and Acting Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Bill Jonas and the Sex Discrimination Commissioner Ms Pru Goward. Commissioner Jonas addressed a session panel on the role of national human rights institutions, especially in the UN human rights treaty system and treaty reform. Dr Jonas also addressed the WCAR Plenary Session on 4 September.


The Final WCAR Declaration and Programme of Action Programme of Action are available at