Fight against racism and discrimination in the Arab States: Municipalities create a coalition under the auspices of UNESCO

After the coalitions of cities against racism created in Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region, several municipalities in the Arab world (Casablanca, Doha, Essaouira, Cairo, Nouakchott, Rabat, Tangiers) also decided to set up a network to combat racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.

On 25 June 2008, representatives of these municipalities formalized this coalition at a ceremony held in Casablanca (Morocco), the city designated as "leader" of this network. On this occasion, they ratified their accession by signing a joint declaration and by committing themselves to act locally on the basis of a Ten Point Action Plan, established to take into account specific forms of discrimination identified in this region of the world.

During the afternoon, this meeting was open to the public, invited to participate in a debate chaired by several mayors, signatories of the declaration, and experts from the Arab world on "discrimination in the city".

Initiated by UNESCO in March 2004, the principle of regional coalitions of cities against racism aims to facilitate networking of municipalities wishing to share their experiences to improve their policies to fight against racism, discrimination, xenophobia and exclusion. For UNESCO, municipal authorities, as policy-makers at the local level, are seen as key actors in this process.

The ultimate goal is to bring together, within an International Coalition, all cities wishing to conduct a joint struggle against racism. The international coalition will be officially launched on 30 June 2008 in Nantes (France), as part of the 3rd World Forum of Human Rights, during a ceremony in the presence of Pierre Sané, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Social and Human Sciences and of representatives of the “leader” cities of the regional coalitions’.

Back to top