Archive for the 'Durban 3' Category

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.

Full text of U.N.’s Durban 3 resolution

UN Watch provides the text of the “Durban 3″ resolution, adopted early Friday morning, here. For voting sheet and analysis, see our prior posts here.

Analysis: Who voted for and against “Durban 3″ resolution

UN Watch salutes the countries that voted on Friday against Durban 3: United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

There were 22 No votes, up from 19 in the earlier committee vote. (Micronesia and Palau moved from absent to No; Slovakia and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia moved from Abstain to No. San Marino move from No to absent, presumably due to the late night voting.)

The following is from the U.N. summary of the Dec. 23 GA meeting (voting on Durban occurred in early hours of Dec. 24)

Vote on Durban Follow-Up

Turning to the work of the Third Committee, the Assembly took up a report on elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (document A/65/659), and a related Fifth Committee report containing programme budgetary implications. The reports concerned a draft resolution titled “Global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action”.

The draft resolution on follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (document A/65/454) [Durban 3] was adopted by a recorded vote of 104 in favour to 22 against, with 33 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against:  Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Netherlands, Palau, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstain:  Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Samoa, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Tonga, Ukraine.

Absent:  Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Mozambique, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Suriname, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

Israel to skip 2011 Durban commemoration so long as it’s linked to Durban

Israel’s response to UN resolution on “Combating racism and follow-up of the Durban Programme of Action”
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem, December 24th, 2010

The UN General Assembly has adopted on December 24th a resolution on “Combating racism and follow-up of the Durban Programme of Action”.

Israel is part of the international struggle against racism. The Jewish people was itself a victim of racism throughout history.

Israel regrets that a resolution on an important subject – elimination of racism - has been diverted and politicized by the automatic majority at the UN, by linking it to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (2001) that many states would prefer to forget.

The Durban Conference of 2001, with its antisemitic undertones and displays of hatred for Israel and the Jewish World, left us with scars that will not heal quickly.

In the coming months, Israel will follow closely the preparations for the upcoming September 2011 meeting. Israel expects the participants to deal appropriately with the serious manifestations of racism throughout the world, and to reject attempts to once again divert world attention from this dangerous phenomenon by means of cheap politicization.

Under the present circumstances, as long as the meeting is defined as part of the infamous “Durban process”, Israel will not participate in the meeting scheduled to take place in UN Headquarters in New York in September 2011.

Rights Group Raps U.N. Vote for 2011 ‘Durban 3′ Summit

 

U.S. opposes holding event in New York
days after 10th anniversary of 9/11 attacks

GENEVA, December 24, 2010 – During a late-night session that went to 4:00 a.m. this morning, the U.N. General Assembly voted 104 to 22, with 33 abstaining, to hold a “Durban 3″ racism summit in New York, on September 21, 2011. (Click here for resolution text.) 

“We support developing countries seeking to commemorate the terrible crime of slavery and the abuses of European colonialism,” said Hillel Neuer, an international lawyer and the executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch. “However, the 2001 Durban conference and its progeny have become staging grounds for contemporary bigots and bullies — like the regimes of Sudan and Iran — to cover up their own racism and repression, and to scapegoat the U.S., the West, and Israel.”

Neuer urged all democracies to follow Canada’s lead in announcing that they will not legitimize the event with their participation.

“Based on past experience, we fear that the banner of human rights and anti-racism will be hijacked by Iranian President Ahmadinejad and other dictators to deflect attention from their crimes, and to incite anti-Western and anti-Semitic hatred,” said Neuer. 

Neuer praised the U.N. for “itself now recognizing the dangers in such gatherings.” In an interview last week with AP, U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay, who oversaw the 2009 Durban Review Conference and was its leading defender, admitted that the criticism was justified.

Referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at the 2009 event in Geneva, Pillay acknowledged: “I was a bit naive. I wondered why people were so afraid that he would use it as a political platform, but I see that they were right,” she said. “I think that it was pretty evident to everyone that it is an inappropriate speech to make at that venue.”

Ahmadinejad used his speech to deliver an angry diatribe against Israel, calling it the most “cruel and repressive racist regime” and prompting a walkout by European delegates.

Today’s Durban 3 resolution calls for a summit of world leaders on September 21, 2011, “to commemorate the Tenth Anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration.” The event will include an opening plenary, “consecutive round tables,” “thematic panels,” a “closing plenary meeting,” culminating in a “political declaration” – all in celebration of the highly controversial 2001 World Conference of Racism held in Durban, South Africa.

In the committee stage, the U.S. said it was “deeply troubled by the choice of time and venue for the 10th anniversary commemorative event. Just days earlier, we will have honored the victims of 9/11, whose loved ones will be marking a solemn 10-year anniversary for them and the entire nation. It will be an especially sensitive time for the people of New York and a repeat of the vitriol sadly experienced at past Durban-related events risks undermining the relationship we have worked hard to strengthen over the past few years between the United States and the UN.” 

UN Watch welcomed changes from the earlier vote in the committee stage, which was 121 to 19, with 35 abstaining. “Three more countries today moved to a ‘No’ vote, which is significant. The 17 less countries voting in favor is also weclome, though that may be partly due to delegates unwilling to staying for the late-night vote,” said Neuer.

Text of U.N.’s Durban 3 resolution adopted today

Following are sections from the UNGA resolution adopted today on “Durban 3″ 

[The U.N. General Assembly...]

50. Decides to hold a one-day High-Level meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate the Tenth Anniversary of the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, at the level of Heads of States and Governments, on the second day of the General Debate of the 66th Session of the General Assembly, under the theme “Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances: Recognition, Justice and Development”, consisting of an opening plenary, consecutive round tables/ thematic panels and a closing plenary meeting; and calls on the President of the General Assembly to appoint co-facilitators to conduct consultations on the scope, modalities, format and organization of the High Level meeting,

51. Decides also that the meeting will adopt a short and concise political declaration aimed at mobilizing political will at the national, regional and international levels for the full and effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and its follow-up processes;

52. Invites Member States, international and regional organizations, civil society, including non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders to organize and support various high visibility initiatives, aimed at effectively increasing awareness at all levels, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action;

53. Requests the Secretary-General to establish a programme of outreach, with the involvement of Member States, United Nations funds and programmes as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations, to appropriately commemorate the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action;

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′