U.S. says no to UN millions for Libyan-led racism conference
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington’s envoy to the UN, won plaudits after the U.S. cast the sole opposing vote on a UN budget that allocates $7 million for a series of global conferences on racism organized by Libya, Iran, Cuba, and other countries often criticized for their poor human rights records. Forty other states, including members of the European Union and Canada, objected to the Durban Review Conference in a separate vote, but only the U.S. opposed the general budget, which for the past twenty years had passed by consensus.
The original Durban gathering of September 2001 was officially a conference against racism, but became notorious for its ugly displays of anti-Semitic caricatures, demonstrations and declarations. Preparations for the 2009 sequel began this past August after the election of Libya as Chair, with Islamic and other states now planning two years of global conferences where they will introduce new accusations against the West for racism and the “defamation of Islam.” The first major gatherin — paid for largely by the West, including U.S. taxpayers (despite Washington’s symbolic vote) — opens in April 2008. More
In poem to plenary, Palestinian UN envoy compares Israelis to Nazis
Reciting a rhyming poem of his own composition, Palestinian representative Mohammad Abu-Koash told the plenary of the UN Human Rights Council that Israelis were as racist the Nazis. No Council member rose to voice any objections.“Mr. Jail Man,” he addressed the Jewish state, “don’t you understand? Scars of concentration camps mark your hand.” For full text and video, click here.
UN rights council scraps monitoring group on Darfur atrocities
Sudan’s state-controlled media celebrated an “excellent” victory at the UN Human Rights Council after the 47-nation body agreed by consensus to end the mission of a group of seven experts charged with reporting on Khartoum’s abuses in Darfur. By turning its back on the victims of one of the world’s worst crimes, the Council—dominated by repressive regimes and regional blocs allied to Sudan—is failing its basic mandate. More
Speaking on behalf of UN Watch, Fellow Toby Frankenstein urged continued scrutiny of Sudan’s atrocities. Fortunately, the Council did extend the mandate of Sima Sumar, a UN investigator on Sudan. But the more influential expert group on Darfur was eliminated, prompting the Sudanese regime to celebrate.
UN Watch tells Burmese generals: Freedom will prevail over repression
In wake of Burma’s mass arrests and brutal killings of peaceful protesters, including many Buddhist monks, UN expert Paulo Sergio Pinheiro reported to the Council on his recent visit to the country now known as Myanmar. He confirmed the government’s resort to excessive and lethal force, arbitrary arrest, appalling detention conditions, and persecution of political parties. Pinheiro said the regime was failing to implement the Human Rights Council’s October 2007 resolution that called for an easing of repression. UN Watch Legacy Heritage Fellow Ophélie Namiech spoke out on behalf of Burma’s victims, calling on the Council not to let the “brutal repression…crush the spirit of the Burmese people.” More