Durban Watch

Durban II

EYEontheUN ALERT - August 24, 2007

UN anti-racism body now taking applications from racists
seeking to participate in UN Durban II conference

The UN today released a list of NGOs lined up to participate in the planning of the 2009 UN anti-racism conference. The list includes NGOs with a history of engaging in anti-semitic and anti-Israel activities. Participation will be approved, barring objection from the conference preparatory committee - a group involving such human rights stalwarts as Iran, Libya, Cuba and Pakistan. The PrepCom will begin to consider the details surrounding participation when it meets for the first time from August 27 through August 31, 2007 in Geneva.

Among the list of future UN partners with objectives at odds with an anti-racism agenda are:

  • Ahali Center for Community Development - objects to Israel's Declaration of Independence and the proclamation of a "Jewish state"
  • Women Association, Follower of Ahlul-Bait - advocates "we must put an end to Zionist racist crimes"
  • Human Rights Monitor, Iran - disseminates documents alleging "the racist policies of the Israeli government are an extreme form of racism and discrimination..."
  • Palestinian Human Rights Organization - constantly refers to Israel in quotation marks.

This is not harmless UN-sponsored verbiage. Anti-semitism -- intolerance and inequality against the Jewish people and its state -- and other forms of racism encourage terrorism. There seems to be little prospect, however, of excluding NGOs who intend to transform this forum into one more UN venue for promoting anti-semitism and the demonization of Israel.

Rather than call for new applications for Durban II, the UN chose to approve the same list of NGO participants that took part in Durban I -- unless the preparatory committee receives objections and decides otherwise. Governments have 14 days to object to any NGO name on the list.

NGOs already having formal UN Economic and Social Council accreditation are not subject to the review and can automatically participate. These include Durban I participants such as:

  • ADALAH, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel - claims there is "a contradiction between Zionism and the right to equality and non-discrimination"
  • ITTIJAH, Union of Arab Community Based Associations - produces literature entitled 'Zionism Racism- Israel Apartheid'
  • Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man - advocates applying to Israel the same "comprehensive mandatory sanctions...and the political, economic, military and cultural isolation" once applied to South Africa.

Another UN-accredited NGO entitled to participate is the International Islamic Relief Organization, which recently had its Indonesia and Philippines Branches put on the U.S. Treasury Department's Specially Designated Nationals List for "facilitating fundraising for al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups."