Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 2

Islamophobia and homosexuality were among the controversial topics that arose today at the Durban Ad Hoc Committee, which reconvened after a one-day postponement for regional group consultations. The committee adopted the draft agenda and resumed discussions on the program of work.

  • Nigeria said that it would be inappropriately redundant to discuss sexual orientation on a different day from the discussion on multiple forms of discrimination.  Nigeria also objected to enshrining into a UN document the protection of sexual orientation from discrimination.
  • Denmark said that although they can discuss incitement to hatred because it is within the parameters of international human rights law, they will not discuss defamation of religion because it has no legal validity.
  • The United States, in response to disagreement over which agenda items should be incorporated into the program, reiterated the importance of consensus. The U.S. urged the committee to “use the original approach on the agenda, in the same format.” It also added, “If one State can eliminate a certain provision, any State must be allowed to remove provisions it dislikes.”
  • Germany asked for a footnote to be added to the program of work that clarified that these items were merely suggestions for discussion and did not indicate consensus.
  • Iran emphasized the importance of discussing defamation of religion and Islamophobia.

Reporting by Cindy Tan and Bethany Singer-Baefsky

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