Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 7 Afternoon

Pakistan chastised the United States for racial profiling practices at this afternoon’s Durban Ad Hoc Committee meeting. The committee debated several issues, including the rights of people under foreign occupation, protection of migrants, refugees and IDP’s (internally displaced persons). Zimbabwe also expressed mild disgust at Western states, saying, “the denial or resistance of the Western groups in the area of gaps is not surprising.  They see them as adequate only when it comes to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. […] Racial and religious profiling is evident.”

  • Lichtenstein proposed a study on the rights of internal migrants.  Nigeria disagreed, arguing that it was outside the context of racism.
    With regard to foreign occupation, Syria expressed concern over “the gross violations taking place all over the world with purely racist motivations.  These are manifested on the ground with demographic changes such as the seizing of land, the construction of illegal settlements, the construction of separation walls, and not allowing the IDPs to return home.  They are justified on the grounds of the superiority of one race over another.”
  • However, the United States saw “no need for the elaboration of further standards,” arguing that the Fourth Geneva Convention provides for the rights of peoples living under occupation. The European Union also argued that existing international law sufficiently takes into account peoples living under foreign occupation.  International humanitarian law protects civilians during times of war.  “The main problem is that states fail to live up to their responsibilities and obligations.”
  • According to Azerbaijan, “in some situations, foreign occupation leads to ethnic cleansing.”  The delegation claimed a lack of a clear definition of “ethnic cleansing,” and referred to this as a gap in the Fourth Geneva Convention.
  • The United States emphasized national measures taken to reduce racial profiling, including anti-discrimination legislation and new protocols for government workers.  South Africa and Pakistan, however, argued that the racial profiling that emerged after 9/11 has not improved.
  • The United States responded to digressions in conversation by saying that it “has serious reservations about regulating the internet or making cyber-crime a human rights issue.”

Reporting by Cindy Tan and Bethany Singer-Baefsky

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