Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 5 and 6

After several rounds of closed regional meetings, the Durban follow-up committee resumed work on Tuesday morning only to adjourn for another five minute recess when a new program of work was circulated. Upon reconvening, the committee did not formally adopt the program, but decided to move on to the more substantive issues of national mechanisms and genocide. Western states argued that countries need to focus on better implementing international laws in their own national mechanisms, while Arab and African countries pressed for new laws to cover gaps in international standards.

  • Disagreements rose quickly. Member states to the EU and the United States described their own national mechanisms for combating racism and discrimination. Pakistan for the OIC contended that mechanisms to fight discrimination need to be discussed in a global, international body.
  • Rwanda argued that there is a gap in international standards, as evidence by the fact that “the Convention on Genocide…did not prevent genocide from occurring in Rwanda.” Sweden for the EU insisted that “no substantive gaps exist when discrimination leads to the level of genocide.” Western countries insisted that instances of grave abuses are the product of the failure to implement current standards.
  • The United States said that “member states should stand ready to develop longer term measures to promote accountibility for human rights abuses, which often can be early warnings of genocide.
  • Pakistan, Turkey, and Nigeria said that the issue of genocide should be discussed in a separate forum.

Reporting by Cindy Tan and Jana McNulty

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