Issue 379: Victory: Shamed Sudan Pulls Out * Video: UN Watch Confronts Iran in U.N. Racism Debate

GENEVA, Sept. 2 – In a rare victory for decency at the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, Sudan has just dropped its bid for a position of power on the world body. As reported by Foreign Policy Magazine and theAssociated Press, Sudan’s withdrawal followed a massive protest campaign chaired by Mia Farrow and organized by UN Watch.

The UN Watch offensive included the filing of a legal objection, winning support from 30 human rights figures, the dispatch of letters to nine foreign ministers and 193 U.N. missions, and an online campaign that sent 3,000 messages to Sudan’s UN envoy, and to U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, who in turn pressured the Khartoum regime.

UN Watch was first to expose Sudan’s bid last month, prompting media coverage by FOX News TV, Agence France Presse and Canada’s National Post.

UN Watch commended Mia Farrow and the U.S. government for their role in convincing Sudan that further shaming of the regime, and the prospect that losing in the face a competing Kenyan bid, was not worth the trouble.

Regrettably, the hypocrisy-ridden council already includes such systematic abusers of human rights as China, Cuba, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Mauritania, which according to a recent Guardian article allows 800,000 people to live in modern-day slavery, is another voting member. Venezuela and Pakistan are expected to be elected by massive majorities on Nov. 12. UN Watch leads the fight against both candidacies. The U.S. and other democracies have yet to speak out.

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Now on YouTube: UN Watch Confronts
Iranian Antisemitism in U.N. Racism Debate

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Debate on Racism
U.N. Human Rights Council
July 3, 2012

Libya: … The ugliest forms of these racist and discriminatory practices are those affecting the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation and Israeli racist laws…

Iran: …Among different victim groups, Muslims continued to be subjected to alarming, ever-escalating cases of Islamophobia, intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination and violence on the basis of their religion, Islam, in particular in Western countries…

President: Thank you. I now give the floor to UN Watch.

UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer:  Thank you, Madam President. UN Watch was founded by Morris Abram, the legendary civil rights advocate who marched arm-in-arm with Rev. Martin Luther King to fight racism in America. His struggle against prejudice in all its forms continues to guide our work.

As I look around this room, I see many representatives from the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) whose peoples were victimized by racism under colonial rule.

The ghastly atrocities perpetrated against millions of Congolese by Belgian King Leopold II is but one of many examples from that sordid history. NAM members know the consequences of racism and discrimination.

That is why I turn to those nations, and ask: Have you heard what was said last Tuesday, by a leading figure in your movement?

Now, in this chamber we just heard Iran declare itself opposed to incitement to racism.

Yet at an international conference in Tehran, part of the U.N. campaign against drug trafficking, Iranian Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi shocked diplomats, as well as many Iranians present, by saying that the Talmud, a central text of Judaism, was responsible for the spread of illegal drugs around the world.

He also made other accusations against Jews and Judaism, echoing those used by Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Can anyone here think of another country whose leaders openly incite to racism at international conferences?

We welcome the denunciation of Mr. Rahimi’s remarks by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and today’s statement by Yury Fedotov, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, expressing dismay and concern during his meeting in Vienna with an Iranian diplomat.

But U.N. member states must speak out as well. To those who know what racism means, I ask: How can Iran be allowed to host the Non Aligned Movement Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity?

Is not the state advocacy of religious and racial hatred the very opposite of human rights and cultural diversity?

Will the victims of prejudice allow one of their own members to do the same?

I thank you, Madam President.

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