At the U.N. Durban Review Conference today, countries that lack basic freedoms took the floor to defend their human rights records.
Belarus said “There are no ethnic, racial, religious or language clashes in our country.”
Saudi Arabia said, “Shari’a emphasizes equality regardless of gender or race.”
Another tactic employed by human rights abusers was to point the finger of blame at other countries to deflect attention from their own violations.
Saudi Arabia and the Arab League highlighted Israel’s abuses of the rights of Palestinian people. Saudi Arabia noted that this issue was explicit in the 2001 Durban declaration (reaffirmed by the present conference).
North Korea condemned “Japanese colonialism” and accused Japan of systemic discrimination against Koreans.
Both Saudi Arabia and North Korea also deplored the “defamation of religions,” particularly Islam.
Another noteworthy point: Turkey denied the 1915 Armenian genocide, arguing that no international tribunal officially declared the events a genocide.
EU countries, including Belgium, Portugal, Slovenia, and Denmark on the other hand, took the floor to condemn the hateful remarks of Iranian President Ahmadinejad.
Denmark said, “We could choose to stay silent. But the remarks relating in particular to Israel were so abominable that we must react. The intervention must be understood as incitement to hatred.”