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Chile: ICRC attends regional meeting in advance of World Conference against Racism

14-12-2000 News Release 00/48

From 5 to 7 December the ICRC took part in a regional meeting for the Americas held in Santiago, Chile, under the auspices of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in preparation for the UN World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. The Conference is to take place in South Africa in 2001.

The ICRC regional delegate for southern Latin America took the floor to address the issue of non-discrimination in armed conflicts, stressing that the problems discussed at the meeting should be tackled by the international community in the context of war as well as peace. Indeed, as seen in armed conflicts past and present – especially those involving ethnic or identity-related issues – inequality or exclusion, whether affecting an entire population, a group or individuals, is one of the root causes of violence and frequently also one of its most tragic consequences.

The ICRC delegate further underscored that the principle of non-discrimination is a key aspect of impartiality, one of the fundamental principles that guide the work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. In conformity with that principle, and as stipulated in its statutes, the Movement " makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions " and " endeavours to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress " .