Geneva, October 10, 2008 – To prevent the derailing of a world conference on racism, independent human rights group UN Watch today called on UN chief Ban Ki-moon and rights commissioner Navi Pillay to immediately denounce a submission by Asian states that accuses Israel of “racial practices” against Palestinians, “a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity, a form of genocide,” as well as “aggression, acts of racism, and intimidation.” (See full text below.)
“The Asian submission for the Durban 2 declaration reproduces almost verbatim the vitriolic incitement and hateful rhetoric of demonization that was produced at the Tehran planning meeting at the 2001 lead-up to the original Durban debacle,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch.
“The poison was mostly removed from the final Durban declaration only after European states threatened to walk out, but was adopted by the non-governmental forum, in a text that High Commissioner Mary Robinson summarily refused to forward to the UN, and which was denounced again last week by High Commissioner Pillay as a betrayal of the anti-racism cause.”
“The key lesson learned from 2001 was that the UN’s highest officials cannot stay silent until the very end, but must act immediately to denounce the language of incitement and demonization as soon as it rears its ugly head,” said Neuer.
“The fingerprints of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who openly calls for the destruction of a UN member state, are all over this text, and all who want to safeguard the principles of human rights and the anti-racism cause must speak out forcefully, and fast,” said Neuer.
“French President Sarkozy, the U.K. and the Netherlands expressly warned that a repeat of the 2001 hateful rhetoric would force them to walk out of the conference, and so the Asian states will bear full responsibility for the consequences of their provocation.”
See full text and selections below.
Full Asian text: /wp-content/uploads/2008/10/asian-text-for-durban-ii.pdf
(CONTRIBUTION OF THE ASIAN REGION TO THE DURBAN REVIEW CONFERENCE, 8 OCT 2008 CONTRIBUTION OF THE ASIAN REGION TO THE DURBAN REVIEW CONFERENCE, 8 OCT 2008 )
Recalling the 2001 Tehran Declaration and Programme of Action by the Asian Preparatory Meeting… [This text contained the most vitriolic language against Israel.]
From operative section:
18. Recognize Jerusalem as a city of reverence and religious sanctity for three major religions of the world and call for an international effort to bring foreign occupation, together with all its racial practices, to an end, especially in holy shrines dear to the three religions;
19. Reaffirm that a foreign occupation founded on settlements, its laws based on racial discrimination with the aim of continuing domination of the occupied territory, as well as its practices, which consist of reinforcing a total military blockade, isolating towns, cities and villages under occupation from each other, totally contradict the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and constitute a serious violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity, a form of genocide and a serious threat to international peace and security;
26. Express deep concern at the plight of Palestinian refugees and displaced persons who were forced to leave their homes because of war and racial policies of the occupying power and who are prevented from returning to their homes and properties because of a racially based law of return, and recognize the right of return of the Palestinian refugees as established by the General Assembly in its resolutions, particularly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, and call for their return to their homeland in accordance with and in implementation of this right;
27. Re-emphasize the responsibility of the international community to provide international protection for the Palestinian people under occupation against aggression, acts of racism, intimidation and denial of fundamental human rights, including the rights to life, liberty and self-determination;
68. Express deep regret the practices of racial discrimination against the Palestinians as well as other inhabitants of the Arab occupied territories which have an impact on all aspects of their daily existence such as to prevent the enjoyment of fundamental rights, express our deep concern about this situation and renew the call for the cessation of all the practices of racial discrimination to which the Palestinians and the other inhabitants of the Arab territories occupied by Israel are subjected;
69. Reiterate that the Palestinian people continue to be denied the fundamental right of self determination and urge member States to look at the situation of Palestinian people during the Durban Review Conference and implement the provisions of DDPA with a view to bring lasting peace in the Middle East;