Former Prime Minister I K Gujral and Deputy Chairperson of Rajya Sabha, Najma Heptulla are among the 20-member newly-constituted 'Eminent Persons Group' announced by High Commissioner for Human rights "to sketch a vision of future free of racism."
"The Group would include Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of Russia, and Jimmy Carter, former president of the US," Mary Robinson told reporters today, announcing the Group headed by former South African President Nelson Mandela.
"The members of this remarkable group have spoken out consistently, loudly and clearly for tolerance, for valuing diversity and for the virtue of learning from the past to build a better future," Robinson said.
She said the Group would be looked upon to provide leadership and inspiration in the run up to the World Conference against Racism scheduled to be held in Durban from August 31 to September seven this year.
About 5,000 to 8,000 delegates from all over the world are expected to participate in the conference, she said.
The High Commissioner, who is also the Secretary-General of the Conference, said the Group would "lift the debate to a higher level of moral awareness focussing on the values of how we relate to each other as human beings.
"The Group is an expression of the worldwide civil society alliance that is emerging against racism. Before, during and after Durban, I believe they can help build the critical mass of support needed to finally eradicate the plagues of racism and intolerance," Robinson said.
"They have very willingly and quickly come together because they believe in the inventive, creative and moral capacities ready to be released when we all finally realise that we are part of one human family," she said.
Members of the Group will meet in Geneva for two days from August 2 to give finishing touches to the World Conference.
"The world needs to have a breakthrough in racism," she said.
Simultaneously a youth forum will be organised in Durban with assistance from South African Association for Youth Clubs, starting from August 27, she said.