Search Results for 'Durban III'

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. Continue reading ‘UN Watch barred from monitoring UN Durban III “anti-racism” meeting’

Italy and Holland pull out of UN’s Durban III conference on racism

GENEVA –  UN Watch commended Italy and Holland for pulling out of the UN’s September 22 commemoration of the 2001 Durban conference, a supposed anti-racism meeting that turned into a mass display of hate. The boycott announcements followed that of the Czech government yesterday. Canada, Israel and the US are also staying away from the “Durban III” summit.

The Geneva-based rights group called on other EU states and democracies worldwide to follow suit.

“The Durban process has been marked by ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitism, and that is not something that should be  commemorated,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

“We are further concerned by the timing and venue, given that New York will have just held solemn ten-year memorials for those murdered in the September 11 terrorist attacks.”

“UN Watch is fully committed to combating discrimination, intolerance, and bigotry, and to promoting human rights for all.  We call on all democracies to join us in opposing the attempts by dictators and bigots to use the Durban process to hijack this noble cause.”

See Italian and Dutch announcements below.

Continue reading ‘Italy and Holland pull out of UN’s Durban III conference on racism’

UN Watch lauds Czech pullout of Durban III

UN Watch commended the Czech government for announcing that it will stay away from the UN’s Sept. 22nd commemoration of the 2001 Durban conference, a supposed anti-racism gathering that turned into a global festival of hate. The Geneva-based rights group called on other democracies to follow suit.

“The Durban process was marked by ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitism, and that is not something that should be  commemorated,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

“We are further concerned by the timing and venue, given that New York will have just held solemn ten-year memorials for those murdered in the September 11 terrorist attacks.”

“UN Watch, founded by US civil rights pioneer Morris Abram, is fully committed to combating discrimination, intolerance, and bigotry, and to promoting human rights for all.  We oppose the attempts by dictators and despots to use the Durban process to hijack this noble cause.”

The government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was the first to announce it would not participate in the planned “Durban III” summit of world leaders, followed by Israel and the United States.

25 rights groups to hold victim summit in parallel to Durban III

GENEVA — Two weeks after the Obama administration announced it would boycott the upcoming UN racism conference known as “Durban III,” the world body unanimously adopted a resolution today detailing the program and speakers for the September 22 event in New York, to include UN chief Ban Ki-moon and top rights official Navi Pillay.   

As world leaders will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 2001 Durban Declaration on racism and discrimination, a coalition of 25 non-governmental organizations will be holding a parallel summit, adjacent to the UN, to give voice to victims worldwide, according to a statement issued today by UN Watch, an independent human rights monitoring group based in Geneva.

The NGO Human Rights Summit, to be organized by UN Watch in partnership with an international civil society coalition, will take place on September 21-22, 2011, beginning on the same day as President Obama will open the annual session of the UN General Assembly.

“This will be a golden opportunity for human rights groups to turn an international spotlight on some of the most pressing situations, demand action for victims, and urge the UN to remove violator states from the membership of its human rights agencies,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. Continue reading ’25 rights groups to hold victim summit in parallel to Durban III’

UN adopts resolution to organize Durban III conference

The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution this morning that details the program and speakers for its September 22, 2011 summit of world leaders, known as “Durban III,” to commemorate the controversial 2001 Durban Declaration. Notable elements include:

  • Speakers at the high-level meeting will include UN chief Ban Ki-moon and top rights official Navi Pillay, who recently admitted to being “naive” in having downplayed fears in 2009 that the Durban II conference would be manipulated for political ends by Iranian President Ahmadinejad. Also speaking will be South African President Jacob Zuma.
  • The date has changed. The event was previously set for Sept. 21, a day after the opening of the UNGA General Debate. But the latter was moved a day later, and so Durban III followed.
  • The two round-table sessions, co-chaired by two heads of state, will be webcast. This was inserted by the G-77 bloc of developing states to boost the status of the event.
  • Selected NGOs will be invited. One hopes that GONGOs will this time be excluded. The Gadhafi-created group “North-South 21” — a Libyan-funded propaganda vehicle that masquerades as a NGO but which in fact manages the Moammar Gadhafi Human Rights Prize — was a leading player in politicizing Durban I and Durban II.

Six months after Canada announced its non-participation, the U.S. recently said it would also keep away from the September event.

The Threat of Durban III: UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer on WABC Radio’s John Batchelor Show

Talk Radio 77 WABC New York, Jan. 13, 2011. Interview of Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director. Co-hosted by John Batchelor and Malcolm Hoenlein. Summary: Durban III. THe UN is organizing a conference in commemoration of Durban I – “the worst demonstration of anti-Semitism I’ve seen since World War II” –Tom Lantos. Secretary of State Colin Powell pulled the US from the conference. Amb. Susan Rice said “the Durban Declaration process has included ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitism, and we do not want to see that commemorated.” At Durban II, Canada led the way, first to pull out, then also Israel, Italy, US, Germany, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Poland, Australia and New Zealand. Durban III to take place at the UN in New York several days after the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Libya was just elected to the UN Human Rights Council; Saudis are also members. It’s the foxes guarding the chickens.

U.S. Senators Urge Obama to Follow Canadian Lead on Durban 3

UN Watch welcomes the 18-senator appeal led by Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for the U.S. to follow the lead of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Following is her press release.

Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Effort Urging U.S. To Pull Out Of U.N. Durban III Summit Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Effort Urging U.S. To Pull Out Of U.N. Durban III Summit

Like Previous Summits, Durban III Will Likely Serve As A Forum For Anti-Semitic And Anti-American Demonstrations

December 17, 2010

Washington, DC – A bipartisan coalition of 18 U.S. Senators, led by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, today urged United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice to refrain from participating in the United Nation’s Durban III World Conference Against Racism, citing concerns that the conference will once again serve as a forum for anti-Semitic and anti-American demonstrations. The Senators also expressed disappointment with the United Nation’s decision to hold the conference in New York City on September 21st, 2011, just days after the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks.  Continue reading ‘U.S. Senators Urge Obama to Follow Canadian Lead on Durban 3’

U.N. launches website to spin Durban II, asks for more funds

New Website

 The UN today launched its new website on the Durban Review Conference (“Durban II”), in a festive atmosphere, with sandwiches and drinks, following a meeting of the Libyan-chaired Bureau, which oversees planning for the April conference. It was attended mostly by government representatives with few NGOs present.

The meeting was chaired by Ibrahim Salama, who now heads the Human Rights Treaties branch of the OHCHR, and is the official who lead the efforts of the UN Secretariat on Durban II. Mr. Salama was ambassador of Egypt to Portugal, member of the UN Sub-Commission for Human Rights, chair of the Working Group on the Rights to Development and African coordinator at Durban I. (for a more detailed background:

UN Secretariat Planning  for Durban II

Mr. Salama delivered a broad overview of the efforts of the Secretariat so far on Durban II issues:

1) Activities in public information
2) Financial Situation
3) Contribution by the High Commissioner
4) Program of Activities during Durban II
5) NGO participation

On public information, Mr. Salama presented the following activities: a new website launched on that day (available at, to be also available for Durban II follow-up purposes), a newsletter distributed to all those present, an electronic bulletin and a poster (see above). With all these initiatives, Mr. Salama argued that “only facts can defeat fears.” Another colleague presented the different features of the website, which is directed to a “very broad audience.”

Russia Biggest Funder of Durban II; Palestinians Have Money for UN Resolutions

Russia commented that they were happy to see the results of their ($600,000) contribution. Senegal asked whether any outreach to the private sector or political bodies was envisioned.

Mr. Salama thanked Russia for their financial contribution and commented “This was the good news; the bad news is about the financial situation.” He went on to explain the finances of Durban II. He said that the OHCHR is “extremely committed” to the conference and it is a priority. The problem is the lack of funds. The initial cost estimate was $740,000. The OHCHR has been requested to absorb it from its regular budget. This amount covers the April 20-24 conference itself (conference services, translation, rooms, etc). But, he argued, there are many more costs not included: information, outreach, empowerment and participation of NGOs, website, support for LDCs (Least Developed Countries). If the states ask the OHCHR to “convince, outreach, empower”, then they need to provide extra-budgetary resources.

The amount left over from Durban I, together with the voluntary contributions, so far amounts to $1.4 million, with about half from each source. They have already spent $500,000 for staffing and missions. This bring the total cost to $1.9 million, which means that they have a deficit of $1 million. Mr. Salama asked for more contributions and made the following points: (i) they are doing their best with limited resources, (ii) this deficit will have a negative effect on other activities of the OHCHR, (iii) more demands by states in resolutions will lead to less optimal results overall.

Answering a question by UN Watch, Mr. Salama provided a breakdown of the voluntary contributions so far:

Russia:       $600,000
China:         $20,000
Palestine:   $1,700
Indonesia:  $20,000 (pledged)
China:         $ 20,000 (pledged)
Morocco:    $ 22,000 (pledged)

Role of High Commissioner Navi Pillay 

On the issue of the contribution by High Commissioner Navi Pillay to Durban II, Mr. Salama said that the OHCHR was working on that report. They have established a cross-desk task force. Mr. Salama will be meeting with regional coordinators on their expectations. The High Commissioner has her views but wants to hear from others what they think. He invited all parties to contact him if interested.

As far as activities are concerned, Mr. Salama informed us that the OHCHR is in touch with other UN agencies and they work together on issues such as health, development, migration, children, all related to the fight against racism.

NGO Forum Not Ruled Out

Last, on NGO participation, Mr. Salama explained the different ways NGOs can be engaged: (a) OHCHR support through travel subsidies, (b) information/outreach (c) participation with side events and within the conference, and (d) informal contact and lobbying delegates. NGO participation is important because they represent the voices of the victims and can bring a meaningful contribution.

The desired parameters for the side-events are: (a) to promote a victim’s perspective, from grass-roots organizations, offer substance for the final outcome and have north/south balance; (b) events within the scope of the DDPA; (c) focus on implementation.

Ms. June Ray, head of the OHCHR Civil Society Unit, added that there is an OHCHR advisory unit, under the direction of the Deputy High Commissioner. They have drafted guidelines for NGO funding and have formed a committee to review applications. They have already supported NGOs to the regional meetings in Abuja and Brazilia and they have received more than 200 applications for support for April. They want to ensure geographical balance, victim group representation and a transparent process. They are open to meet and brief NGOs and they also want to hear about NGO plans.

At the discussion that followed, Mr. Jan Lonn (a leader of the far-left/anti-Israel coalition planning an “NGO Forum”) deplored the late launch of the outreach campaign and stressed the need to “respond to the negation from some corners.” They want to have a civil society forum, which is an important part in NGO mobilization. There is strong support for it from all the regions, but they have problems of logistics and finance.

Mr. Salama said that their optimal objective is participation. They are sympathetic to the complaint about the lack of time. He concluded by saying “any proposal will be considered.”

Powerful UN speeches by Canadian Ministers John Baird and Jason Kenney

Canadian cabinet ministers have delivered two powerful speeches at the UN this week,  raising the maple leaf as a banner of moral clarity within the world body. Here is today’s UNGA address by Foreign Minister John Baird. This is Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s speech in protest of the UN’s “Durban III” meeting on racism.

Human Rights activists gather in New York for global summit on discrimination

NEW YORK, September 21, 2011 — An international coalition of NGOs, human rights activists, and political dissidents met in New York this morning for the first session of the Global Summit against Discrimination and Persecution.
Held in parallel to the United Nations’ 65th session, the summit features former political prisoners from China, Iran, and the Sudan. Other speakers come from Cuba, Uganda, Vietnam, and Burma, all sharing stories of persecution and perseverance. The event gives platform to their continuing struggle for freedom while governments from around the world meet nearby at the United Nations General Assembly. Continue reading ‘Human Rights activists gather in New York for global summit on discrimination’

Torture of Gaddafi maids: UN knew, refused to act

For  anyone  following Libyan affairs, yesterday’s revelation about the Gaddafi family’s mistreatment of Shweyga Mullah, an Ethiopian nanny for the family of Gaddafi’s son Hannibal was hardly a revelation. Certainly the UN knew about this conduct — we told them about how it, but they didn’t want to listen. Continue reading ‘Torture of Gaddafi maids: UN knew, refused to act’

UN Watch hosts conference to spotlight victims’ voices

Across town from Place des Nations, another conference was held yesterday morning in parallel with the U.N. Durban Review Conference to truly spotlight the voices of victims of racism and discrimination. Sponsored by UN Watch and other NGOs, the “Conference Against Racism, Discrimination and Persecution,” featured a diverse set of expert panelists who raised issues of genocide, state-sanctioned persecution, the rights of women and homosexuals, and anti-Semitism.

Continue reading ‘UN Watch hosts conference to spotlight victims’ voices’

UN chief Ban Ki-moon and rights commissioner Pillay urged to denounce “vitriolic” Asian text accusing Israel of apartheid and genocide

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:


From preamble:

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;

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