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DELHI, INDIA, Aug. 28, 2001: The Indian National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said the forthcoming United Nations conference on racism would be an opportunity to discuss human rights issues, including the issue of caste. The Indian Government has said that the caste system cannot be compared to racism or apartheid. Speaking to the BBC, NHRC spokeswoman Maushumi Chakraborty said the World Conference against Racism, which begins in the South African city of Durban on Friday, August 31, provided an opportunity for the international community to deal with existing issues of inequality. The United States is refusing to send a high-level delegation because of calls by attending Arab states to condemn Israel for its treatment of Palestinians.