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SOCIAL INTEGRATION:

Working Paper No. 1 suggested that the following social integration issues should be addressed in the programme of action: (1) equality and social justice (including ensuring equal opportunity and combatting discrimination; gender equality and the empowerment of women; providing universal access to education; and protecting cultural diversity); (2) social participation (including bringing government closer to the people and promoting community organization and action); (3) migrants, refugees and foreigners (including promoting integration of migrants and meeting the needs of refugees); (4) protecting and integrating groups and people with special needs; and (5) protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of minorities and indigenous peoples.

During the discussion, a number of delegations emphasized issues that should be highlighted. Peru supported tolerance among various ethnic and social groups. Switzerland said that people with special needs must be identified, including youth, the disabled, and the elderly. Indonesia emphasized full protection of the rights of the child.

Greece, on behalf of the European Union (EU), said that policies should guarantee human rights such as justice, health and human dignity. Likewise, Chile said that nondiscrimination, equality before the law, with access to the law for everyone, and shared values to eliminate discrimination must be included. Tunisia and Uruguay also mentioned that justice must be accessible to all marginalized groups. Australia said social integration is based on diversity and nondiscrimination. Important factors are: democracy, participation and good governance; the role of civil society; equality of opportunities; gender equity and use of gender-inclusive language; and enabling policies ensuring information accessibility to all who want it. Pakistan stressed equity and social justice at national and international levels as well as at inter- and intra- generational levels.

The Holy See stressed universal and equal access to education for women and the poor, and use of the family as a deliverer of social services. Brazil and China also supported access to education. Venezuela, Tunisia, Zimbabwe and the Republic of Korea also stressed the role of the family in social integration and the transfer of values.

Turkey said the empowerment of women should become the conceptual framework for social integration. The US also stressed the need to empower women by addressing their health issues. C“te d'Ivoire emphasized the education of women and girls as well as women's access to decision- making, credit and property.

Canada mentioned the need to increase popular participation. Denmark said that the African common position contains important basic conditions such as: a strong, honest and independent judiciary; strengthened legislative organs of States; institutional accountability; an effective and free press; people's participation through NGOs; and strategies that favor a bottom-up approach.

Mexico requested that resources for social integration and training for migrants and refugees should be assured. Croatia said resources for reconstruction and assistance for war victims was needed. Austria stressed the need to include long-term employment in social integration.

Slovenia said social integration is an ethical issue. It should address elimination or reduction of extreme poverty; develop incentives targeting the economic situation of women; and address access to human rights instruments. [Return to start of article]