Issue 189: UN Watch Blasts Sudan on ‘Racist Murder’, Iran on Persecuting Gays

UN Watch Blasts Sudan on ‘Racist Murder’, Iran on Persecuting Gays

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YouTube video of debate now available: click here (3 mins.)

Summary of Recent Debate at U.N. Human Rights Council
on Durban Review Conference and Racism

UNHRC 10 Session, March 2009

Libya: “We are proud of chairing the preparatory working group. The scourge of racism and xenophobia had not been eliminated yet. Some were turning a blind eye to the worst kind of crimes that affected innocent women and children…  People of the world are eagerly awaiting the results of the Durban Review Conference. We call on all countries to show a sense of responsibility on constructively drafting an outcome document…”

Iran: “We welcome the ongoing process of the Durban Review Conference… The world today witnesses racism, defamation of religions, religious intolerance, racial profiling and the intellectual legitimisation of racism. This form of racism was disseminated in large proportion in the media, including the Internet. The failures in the struggle against racism, inter alia, the contemporary forms of racism had led to persisting manifestations of racism and intolerance including racial and religious profiling and the rise in Islamophobic incidents in the world. Iran had contributed $40,000 to the Durban Review Conference for facilitating the realization of a better participative conference by all stakeholders.”

Kuwait: “Kuwait will allocate $100,000, and agrees that efforts needed to be stepped up in order to achieve the objectives and to ensure the success of the final document.”

Cuba for Non-Aligned Movement: “The effective implementation of the Durban agreements was not only essential in the fight against racism; it was also a debt owed to millions of victims of these abominable practices through history.”

China: “The Durban Review Conference provided the international community with an opportunity for the future, to promote human rights, eliminate differences, promote solidarity, encourage effective participation, and take effective measures against racism.”

Syria: “The Durban Declaration was a landmark in the struggle against racism.. That was why Syria was convinced of the need for everyone to pull together for the follow-up. Foreign occupation seriously increased the risk of racism, said the report of the High Commissioner. As to racial profiling in the media, Syria supported the legitimate position of the Arab countries…”

Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference: “The Organization of the Islamic Conference attaches the highest importance to the subject of racism… The outcome of the Durban Review Conference must provide a comprehensive protection mechanism to all victims, including those who had suffered the war on terror in terms of racio-religious profiling and its concomitant incitement to racial or religious discrimination, hatred and violence. The Organization of the Islamic Conference welcomed the successful holding of the second session of the Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards.” [Ed. note: This Algerian-chaired U.N. committee is seeking to rewrite international human rights law by definining any criticism of Islamic dogma as a human rights violation, and is endorsed by Art. 30 of the current Durban II draft; see UN Watch speech below.]

UN WATCH RESPONDS

The Myths of Durban II
Testimony by Hillel Neuer

Thank you, Mr. President.

Racism is evil. How can we truly fight it?

For starters, by clearing up three myths about next month’s conference.

Myth Number One: that the new draft removes all pernicious provisions.

The truth is that many were removed—thanks only to the credible threat of an E.U. walk-out—but red lines continue to be breached:

  • Articles 10, 30 and 132 encourage the Islamic states’ campaign to ban any criticism of religion.
  • Articles 60 to 62 demonize the West, addressing only its sins of slavery, yet saying nothing of the massive Arab trade in African slaves, thereby politicizing that which should never be politicized.
  • Article 1 breaches President Obama’s red line by reaffirming what his government called the quote, “flawed 2001 Durban Declaration”, a text that stigmatized Israel with false accusations.

Myth Number Two: that going to the conference means dialogue.

In truth, we’ve been negotiating non-stop since August 2007. Going to the conference means endorsing a particular text, and risks legitimizing the greatest perpetrators of racism.

Ironically, many who now claim to support dialogue, are Mideast states belonging to the Arab Boycott Office in Damascus, or radical left campaigners who call for equally bigoted boycotts in the West.

Myth Number Three: that Durban 2 will help millions of victims.

But can anyone name a single victim of racism who was helped by the 2001 conference and countless follow-up committees?

Did Durban help a single victim of Sudan’s racist campaign of mass killing, rape and displacement against millions in Darfur?

Did it help the women of Saudi Arabia subjected to systematic discrimination?

Did it help gays executed by Iran, even as President Ahmadinejad says there are no gays in Iran?

Did it help the 2 million black African migrants in Libya, who, as we read in last week’s International Herald Tribune, say they are treated like slaves and animals?

To truly fight racism, we need to hold perpetrators to account. Tragically, Durban 2 does the opposite.

Thank you, Mr. President.

* * *

Click here for New York Times video documenting racist treatment of 2 million black African migrants by Libyan government of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, chair of Durban II conference planning committee.

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