Durban Watch

Between Durban II and III

Independent Eminent Experts' Group

The Independent Eminent Experts' Group was established pursuant to the Durban Programme of Action which requested "the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in follow-up to the Conference, to cooperate with five independent eminent experts, one from each region, appointed by the Secretary-General from among candidates proposed by the Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, after consultation with the regional groups, to follow the implementation of the provisions of the Declaration and Programme of Action."

It is mandated to:
(a) follow the implementation of the provisions of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and assist the High Commissioner in preparing his annual progress report to the Commission and to the General Assembly based on information and views provided by States, relevant human rights treaty bodies, special procedures and other mechanisms of the Commission, international, regional and non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions;
(b) assist the High Commissioner in the assessment and evaluation of the existing international standards and instruments to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance with a view to preparing complementary standards.

In 2003, the Secretary-General appointed the following five independent eminent experts:
  • His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan;
  • Mr. Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari, former President of Finland;
  • Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, former Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, former Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity and former President of the United Nations General Assembly;
  • Her Excellency Hanna Suchocka, former Prime Minister of Poland;
  • Dr. Edna Maria Santos Roland of Brazil, General Rapporteur of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

The Experts held 2 meetings so far (in 2003 and 2005) and the dates for the third meeting "are under consideration".