TEHRAN, Feb 19 (AFP) - The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson Monday in Tehran underlined the need for the global community to focus on strengthening the human rights' awareness of officials in order to help minorities.
"I would encourage all governments to strengthen human rights training of the police, officials of the judiciary and other key public services with which minority members of society come most frequently into contact," Robinson said in her inaugural speech at the three-day Asian conference on racism.
She said the Tehran reunion, a preparatory meeting for the world conference against racism, xenophobia and racial discrimination to be held between August 31 and September 7 in Durban, South Africa, should contribute to "identifying what needs to be done to fight racism."
During the meeting, which was attended by representatives from 46 Asian countries, Robinson also referred to what she called the "shocking scale" in human trafficking.
Human trafficking and the "forced prostitution of women and children" required "improved regional and global cooperation to stem the tide of these horrible practices," she said.
"No region, no country, no community can fairly claim to be free from racism," Robinson said, stressing that: "Racism affects all of us, and every country and region faces the challenge of combatting it."
"Racism, xenophobia and intolerance are found everywhere, both in familiar, deep-rooted forms and, regrettably, in newer, modern forms," she told the gathering, which was also attended by Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi and South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Kharazi used the conference to attack Zionism as a "vivid example of racism and racial superiority in the contemporary world", calling for "concerted international action aiming at confronting crimes perpetrated by Zionists in the occupied territories."
Iran has not recognized Israel since the 1979 Islamic revolution, strongly opposes the US-brokered peace process, and supports the latest Palestinian intifada, or uprising which hes left 415 people dead since late September.