Myths of Durban II

Testimony at the UN

UN Watch Oral Statement
Delivered by Mr. Hillel Neuer

UNHRC, 10th Session
Item 9 — General Debate
24 March 2009

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 No. 1 — 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 No. 2 — 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 No. 3 — 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 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.

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