UN Watch barred from monitoring UN Durban III “anti-racism” meeting

Ms. Navanethem Pillay
UN High Commissioner
for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
1211 Geneva 10

September 15, 2011

Dear Madam High Commissioner,

We write to strongly protest the UN’s unprecedented decision to exclude UN Watch, an ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organization, from next Thursday’s high-level meeting to commemorate the Durban Declaration. The rejection of our application was carried out without any notice or semblance of due process, and is an act of discrimination. We appeal to you, as the leading figure of the UN’s anti-racism effort, to speak out against this deplorable decision and to demand that it be immediately reversed.

As you know, on July 7th your office wrote to UN Watch and invited us to apply to participate at the Durban commemoration, saying that non-governmental organizations are essential in combating racism.  We immediately applied, providing detailed documentation on our extensive activities, at the UN and elsewhere, to combat racism and discrimination. We attended the first two Durban conferences in 2001 and 2009.

Suddenly, from a posting on a UN website—only one week prior to the event—we now learn that UN Watch is one of four groups to be rejected from next week’s meeting.  We were given no notice, no reasons, and no chance to contest the decision.  This flouts the basic principles—which you have so articulately advocated on the world stage—of accountability, transparency, and due process. As the only watchdog group mandated to monitor the UN according to the principles of its charter, our voice is essential.  We urge you to speak out against this injustice, which undermines the UN’s credibility in combating discrimination.


Hillel C. Neuer

UN Watch