Several cities across the Arab world have launched a campaign to fight racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, with the support of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

At a June ceremony in Morocco, the municipalities of Casablanca, Doha, Essaouira, Cairo, Nouakchott, Rabat and Tangiers announced the formation of a coalition to combat racism, following similar ventures in Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region.

With Casablanca acting as the leader of the network, the cities will sign a joint declaration committing themselves to local action based on a ten-point plan which takes into account the forms of discrimination specific to their region.

Initiated by UNESCO in March 2004, the project aims to help municipalities share their experiences to improve policies to fight discrimination, xenophobia and exclusion.

UNESCO says that municipal authorities, as policy-makers at the local level, are key players in this process, which has the ultimate aim of creating an international coalition, drawing in all the cities around the world which want to work together to combat racism.

The international coalition was officially launched on 30 June in Nantes, France, as part of the 3rd World Forum of Human Rights. Visit the web page at UNESCO.

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