EYEontheUN ALERT - May 26, 2008
UN Racism Conference to be held in Geneva in April 2009, Ironically over Holocaust Remembrance Day
The next UN racism conference - known as Durban II or the Durban Review Conference - will be held on UN premises in Geneva from April 20-24, 2009, a UN preparatory committee decided today. Anne Bayefsky, editor of EYEontheUN.org, said "holding the meeting at a UN venue on European soil will essentially guarantee funding from the UN regular budget for the conference, and that the European Union will fully participate and not follow boycott plans of Canada, the United States and Israel."
The European Union had been insisting on a shorter session in New York, but the African Group refused to agree on the New York venue and wanted a 5-day conference. The idea floated by some states of again holding the conference in Durban, South Africa fell through when South Africa withdrew its offer to host the event. Throughout negotiations the African group was tightly controlled by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, with Egypt acting as their spokesperson.
Bayefsky noted "Ironically, the Durban Review Conference will take place over Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah on April 21, 2009. Jews all over the world will be remembering the 6 million murdered in the worst instance of racism and xenophobia in human history. At the same time, the United Nations will be discussing whether the Jewish state, created in the wake of the Holocaust and standing as a bulwark to ensure it is never repeated, should be demonized as the worst practitioner of racism and xenophobia among nations today." Durban II is intended to promote the implementation of the 2001 Durban Declaration, which singled out only Israel and labeled Palestinians as victims of Israeli racism.