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Conference Two: Combating Intolerance
29 January-30 January, 2001

The second conference focused on racism, antisemitism and right-wing extremism in the contemporary world. Its theme was based on the question How can we combat intolerance in our societies today? This theme was developed around real examples of how expressions of intolerance are dealt with in different places, in different countries, and how intolerance is one of the threats to democracy in modern societies. Participants from all over the world met to discuss and exchange information and knowledge about how to prevent and counteract prejudice, hatred, political extremism and violence. The Forum had a concrete, work-oriented agenda.

Representatives from 51 countries attended the conference. Among many others, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and OSCE Secretary General Ján Kubis were present. The participants also included representatives from the European Union, the Council of Europe and a number of NGOs, scholars, journalists and professionals from around the world.

A number of seminars focused on the usefulness of legislation in fighting such manifestations of intolerance as ‘white power’ music and Holocaust denial. Particular attention was given to the role of the Internet as an outlet for various forms of racism and xenophobia. The role of the media was also analysed, including its facilitation of the appearance and acceptance of racist and xenophobic ideas, and whether it can be an effective tool in working to promote tolerance and democratic values.

A Declaration was also adopted at this second conference. It emphasised the determination of all participating states to combat genocide, ethnic cleansing, racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia, and to combat all racial discrimination and the intolerance associated with it.

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