Draft “Complementary Standards” resolution virtually unchanged despite protest

In informal consultations at the U.N. today, South Africa for the African Group presented the revised text of its Human Rights Council resolution on the “Elaboration of complementary standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).”

The USA, Canada, the Czech Republic for the EU, Denmark, and Switzerland complained that the changes were minimal; the draft resolution retained virtually all the problematic aspects that were highlighted during Friday’s consultations. For example, it continued to suggest a need for an additional protocol to the ICERD that Islamic states are pushing as a means to criminalize criticism of religions.

Denmark protested, “It’s a waste of time for delegations to come here if the chair does not have any intention of taking comments on board.”

South Africa responded that the African Group deliberated the proposed changes, but did not agree to all of them.

Switzerland issued a warning to the African Group that it will be dangerous in the context of the Durban Review Conference for this resolution to go forward without consensus. (Paragraph 30 of the draft Durban text “takes note with appreciation” the ad hoc committee, tasked in the resolution as the driver for the problematic proposed additions to the ICERD).

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