Durban Watch

Durban II

EYEontheUN ALERT - August 27, 2008

UN Durban II Regional Meeting Confirms Worst Fears of Anti-Semitic and Anti-Democratic Agenda

New York -- Preparations for the UN Durban II racism conference are confirming the worst fears about the conference's anti-Israel and anti-democratic agenda, EYEontheUN reports. At the African regional meeting on Durban II in Abuja, Nigeria, which ended yesterday, UN member states "employed the old tactics of singling out Israel, ignoring egregious human rights violations such as genocide, and challenging fundamental democratic freedoms," said Anne Bayefsky, Senior Editor of

The Abuja Declaration adopted by the regional meeting "reiterates its [the UN's] concern about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupations." No other country-specific victims are identified. The Declaration also calls on states "to avoid inflexibly clinging to free speech...with absolute disregard for religious feeling."

"The obvious result of mentioning only the Palestinians as victims of racism is to demonize the Jewish state," noted Bayefsky.

UN member states gathered in Nigeria projected a clear commitment to democratic principles, calling on states to codify "permissible limitations on the exercise of the right to freedom of expression" and to elaborate "a voluntary ethical code of address racism in the media and other modern information and communication technologies while taking into account fundamental issues, such as the right to freedom of expression..."

The Abuja Declaration also gives Islam special preference by calling on states to "pay attention to the serious nature of incitement to religious hatred such as anti-semitism, Christianophobia and more particularly, Islamophobia."

Furthermore, the Abuja Declaration attempts to stifle efforts to combat terrorism by linking counterterrorism measures to "the rise of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance..."

"The United Nations, which still cannot manage to define terrorism, has instead focused on placing roadblocks in the way of counterterrorism measures," said Bayefsky. "Charging counterterrorism activities with racism is a favorite."

Like many UN endeavours, the Abuja Declaration attempts to institutionalize the Durban agenda under the guise of "follow-up."

The Abuja meeting is part of ongoing preparation for the Durban II conference, slated to take place in Geneva in 2009. The African conference is the second regional preparatory gathering, and the Abuja Declaration will be used to prepare the final outcome document of the Durban II conference itself. Canada, the United States, and Israel have been boycotting the meetings associated with the Durban II conference, recognizing that the forum has been hijacked by human rights violators to the detriment of human rights victims everywhere. "The Abuja Declaration indicates that continued participation by democratic nations in the Durban II process sends precisely the wrong singals to rights-abusing states and their victims," Bayefsky warned.