Arusha, September 11, 2001 (FH) International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Registrar Adama Dieng plans a series of initiatives to promote tolerance at the workplace and combat "alleged or potential issues of racism, racial discrimination and intolerance", the ICTR spokesman said on Tuesday. "In every multiracial or multicultural set-up, these kinds of issues arise," Kingsley Moghalu of Nigeria told reporters at a press conference.

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"The ICTR is no different. " But he said that, as a UN institution, the Tribunal had a duty to tackle such issues. The Tribunal will first ask its staff to fill in anonymously a questionnaire on "issues of racism, discrimination and intolerance". The aim, according to Moghalu is to "compile scientific data on the real feelings and attitudes of staff of the Tribunal to these issues as they relate to the Tribunal's workplace". The Tribunal's various sections will then hold meetings to discuss the survey results, each meeting aided by an independent Facilitator. "Following the discussions in the various Sections, the management of the Tribunal will convene a Staff Assembly to discuss the results of the whole exercise," said Moghalu. The announcement follows last week's UN conference against racism in Durban, South Africa. In a statement on Friday, the ICTR said it "identifies with the goal of the United Nations to eliminate all forms of racism and intolerance". "As an international institution," says the statement, "the International Tribunal is cognizant that racism, racial discrimination or related tendencies are difficult matters to confront and address. The Tribunal recognizes its responsibility to promote tolerance within its workplace, which is multiracial and multicultural. "By continuing its judicial work in dispensing justice for crimes rooted in discrimination and looking inward to ensure that (…) the ICTR continues to practice what it preaches, the ICTR intends to remain an important positive example of the idea of tolerance. "Allegations of racism at the ICTR hit the headlines in May with the simultaneous termination of work contracts of four ICTR prosecutors and two Registry staff. Four were African, one Asian and one Jordanian. Some ICTR staff claimed these people were victims of racism, while others claimed they had been sacked for inefficiency. "There are a few instances that have happened in this Tribunal in which people have voiced the view that perhaps developments have had to do with racism, with discrimination and so on," Moghalu told Tuesday's press conference. "Whether or not that is true we do not know. But this exercise is a proactive exercise to prevent these types of things happening and to promote an atmosphere of tolerance among the staff. "JC/PHD/FH (RE0911F)