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UN RIGHTS CHIEF BACKS FRENCH MOVE AGAINST RACISM

Robinson, a former president of Ireland, said in statement that the action would draw attention to the importance of mobilising support for the fight against bias ahead of a world conference on racism to be held in South Africa in a year’s time.
Strasbourg’s socialist mayor, Catherine Trautmann, and Gilbert Roos, regional delegate of the French Jewish organisation CRIF, filed complaints on Monday after anti-semitic slogans were found on the Meinau stadium walls following a weekend defeat against Rennes.
The slogans were directed against the president and the coach of the Racing Strasbourg Club.
“The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson welcomes the decision of Racing Strasbourg in France to take legal action against some of its supporters for incitement to racial hatred,” said the statement read out by a spokesman at a news briefing in Geneva.
“The High Commissioner considers it deeply encouraging to see that the club is receiving support from the authorities and from civil society organisations in France,” it added.
Robinson, a lawyer who took up the top U.N. rights job three years ago, will attend a meeting on racism being held in Strasbourg from October 11-13.
Themes of legal protection against racism and education to combat racism are to be discussed at the talks, a European regional meeting to prepare for the World Conference against Racism, set for August 31-September 7 2001 in South Africa.
Reuters