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.

“To that end, our international coalition of NGOs will hold a parallel summit of human rights dissidents, pro-democracy and anti-racism activists. When Iran, Syria, China, Cuba, Zimbabwe and other repressive governments present a politicized agenda to shield their own abuses, human rights activists will instead focus attention on the victims most in need of global attention, including those protected under the Durban Declaration’s Article 2 prohibition against discrimination based on political or other opinion,” said Neuer.

“The NGO summit will demand action on urgent situations of genocidal racism as well as the massacre of peaceful protesters and the targeting of pro-democracy advocates around the world. Victims of discrimination and gross human rights abuses from Sudan, China, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Zimbabwe and elsewhere will testify about their persecution and demand that the world leaders gathered at the UN address their situations,” said Neuer.

Speakers at the NGO summit will include victims of persecution, former prisoners of conscience, parliamentarians, human rights experts and activists. Themes to be addressed by the panel sessions will include genocide, discrimination against women, discrimination against gays and lesbians, and discrimination based on religion or political opinion. The summit will conclude with a joint declaration demanding action on urgent situations.

UN Watch was founded in 1993 to monitor the UN according to the principles of its Charter and to promote human rights for all. Based in Geneva, it recently brought human rights victims from China, Libya, Sudan and elsewhere to testify before UN bodies. In the past year, UN Watch led a global coalition of human rights groups to keep Libya and Syria off the UN Human Rights Council. The watchdog organization is regularly quoted by major media worldwide on UN and human rights issues.

14 Responses to “25 rights groups to hold victim summit in parallel to Durban III”

  • Patricia Orlinski

    I am deeply saddened to have the leader of my country boycotting this event. The need to address the effects of Racism, Xenophobia, Racial Discrimination and Related Issues has not lessened since 2001. It seems to have gotten worse, with the need to address it larger than before. I will watch and read with hope, the proceedings of the summit.

  • Anything that can be done to counter this UN hate fest will be greatly appreciated. This building on the Hudson becomes more irrelevant with each passing year. I’d like to go on record stating that Canada was the first country to refuse to participate. We’ve been a long-standing friend of Israel, more so now that your president seems to enjoy straddling whatever fence he can find. Thank you, UN Watch.

  • Don’t forget to add the Cubans who were tortured for years in Castro’s prisons and now dumped in Spain (with agreement by Spanish government) to live in limbo, without papers and without a voice.

    No doubt they will be DELIGHTED to testify.


  • Best move ever. Best news I’ve heard for a long time. We are finally adressing the real problems.We are on a good path. G-d bless you and help you show the world the essence of UN.

  • Will somebody take the Gaza “government” to task for holding Gilad Shalit for so many years without at least Red Cross access to him

  • will somebody take the Gaza “government” to task for holding Gillal Shalit for so many years without at least Red Cross access to him

  • no matter how much good this conference sponsored by NGO’s does,
    it will not expunge the harm done by the UN durban 1 2 and upcoming 3
    no matter how many victims and witnesses of atrocities are interviewed
    and tell their horrific stories it will not change one iota of opinion anywhere.
    the world is so twisted like a Mobius strip that the contortions it goes to to hide abuse in in its back yard are legend and will continue while it consciously decides to appease blatantly evil rulers and put expediency and so called political correctness on the never ending back burner to perdition.

  • It’s time to demystify the UN. We should be organizing a counter organization made up of only those countries who share western, democratic values. The Syrian, Egyptian, Iranian, North Korean, and Myanmar thugs and all their ilk should be cut loose to fend for themselves. For us to be associated with such moral filth is a stench in the nostrils.

  • Dear to whom it may concern and to all concerned,

    UN Watch Promoting Human Rights a super initiative taken with the foundation of the UN WATCH.
    Human Rights often a so underestimated issue in the Western world always a take for granted issue in /for the far countries.
    In some countries and regions Human-Rights are being taken as granted commodity,though reality is sometimes completely different.
    It is always in other countries, other continents, other other places, other cultures or other religions.
    However if one examines and looks carefully Human Rights Abuse is a complexer issue and problem to tackle.
    Lets hope the New Millennium bring some true freedom and liberty to all people and to all genders,in the sense of respect, norms and values in some social frame-work
    It is not only the assembly or the social come together and endless discussions about………..
    Objective assessments and implementations in daily life and in all walks of daily life are crucial in solving many of the problems and conflicts World Wide
    O.T.” Out of the eater came forth meat,and out of the strong came forth sweetness “….?…. Judges 14 :14
    N.T. ” Charity shall cover the multitude of sins”….?….Peter 4:8.
    Live and Let Live
    Kind regards from Mme Bianca Rozanna KAPLAN.

  • We can only hope this meeting does not become another trade against Israel.

  • The UN has long proved to be unsuitable to continue. It has been a supporter of terrorism since the 1950s and has been the reason for many world conflicts (Korea, Vietnam, Middle East). Since the early 1970s when an ex-Nazi officer held the highest post in the UN to present time when it holds anti-semitic sessions against Israel but fails to condemn the honor killings, female mutilation that many of their own member states (including those on their Human Rights Committee) endorse and practice.

    As an American I am angry that this group refuses to be accountable for the actions against humanity it represents especially when it has provided means and transportations of Terrorists against innocent civilians and refuses to condemn the Terrorists. I feel we need to disban this organization as well as deport and sue every single member who supports Terrorism (the Arab League, Ireland, Russia, et al.).

  • Will this again become FORUM FOR BASHING ISRAEL. ALL THOSE OTHER SANCTIMONIOUS COUNTRIES WHO DON’T WANT THE SPOTLIGHT ON THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS WILL JOIN THE FRAY. In this respect the UN has certainly not been or will ever be the correct forum to have a serious discussion on Human Rights.
    Linda Waldman

  • The UN has adpoted a new dictatorial attitude even using force and acting like a real mafia organisation…

  • Since the Durban III conference is directed primarily to discredit and bash Israel as we have seen in the previous conferences,why is this issue not addressed at the NGO Human Rights Summit. All the topics are important but I think that the Israeli one is just as important if not more.
    I hope that this situation can be corrected even now.
    Joe Schwartz

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