GENEVA - A UN official says Germany has decided to boycott this week's UN conference on racism, joining the United States, Canada and four other countries who will not attend.

UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told The Associated Press that Germany informed the UN about its decision Sunday.

However, Germany's Foreign Ministry spokesman denied Berlin has decided to pull out, saying it will announce its final decision later.

Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy and Israel have all announced they are boycotting the conference.

They cite concerns that the conference will be used by Muslim countries to criticize Israel while limiting free speech when it comes to criticizing religion-based restrictive policies in their countries.

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