Durban Watch

Durban II

EYEontheUN ALERT - November 20, 2007; Part 2

Today the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which pushes Durban II forward and gives the conference and planning to date the General Assembly's stamp of approval. (The committee vote in turn will be rubber-stamped by the plenary in December.)

However, there was a clear signal that Durban II will not be allowed to claim consensus and its credibility will be challenged throughout the build up to another global assault on Israel, Jews, Americans and a host of democratic rights and freedoms.

The United States called for the vote on L.66 (reproduced below). The vote was 169 in favour to 2 against (Israel and United States), with 4 abstentions (Australia, Cambodia, Canada and Fiji).

What follows are the explanations for the votes of the U.S. and Israel.

We have a clear responsibility to support their challenge to Durban II and any and all preparation for it.

Israel said the following by way of explanation of their vote:

Statement by Ms. Meirav Eilon Shahar
Explanation of vote, A/C.3/62/L.66, "Report of the Human Rights Council on the preparations for the Durban Review Conference"
20 November 2007

Mr. Chairman,

Israel strongly believes in and supports all efforts to eliminate racism and promote tolerance. Since 1979, Israel has been a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, committing itself to implement the provisions of the Convention and ensure the equality of each individual without prejudice to their race, gender, ethnicity, and religion.

In some cases, however, the international community's efforts have been undermined by those seeking to promote their own parochial political interests. As many delegations will recall, the Durban conference of 2001 was anything but a meeting to eliminate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. In fact, some delegations and NGO's present manipulated the occasion to demonstrate their deep-seeded prejudice and hatred for one particular Member State and one particular people.

My delegation, along with the United States, was compelled to withdraw from the conference, and continues – to this day – to vote against resolutions that herald Durban as a worthy display of international resolve to combat hatred and promote tolerance. The events during the Durban parley, and the subsequent follow up resolutions which ignored the fiasco at Durban, proved that the gathering was nothing of the sort.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation cannot support a resolution that calls for a review conference in follow up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. For however noble the values of Durban should have been, the reality was that some delegations were incapable of showing one particular state the same respect, tolerance, fairness and equal treatment they demanded for themselves.

As the activities and resolutions since Durban continue to ignore the inherent problems of the conference, my delegation cannot consciously support measures that attempt to build off its momentum. Israel will therefore vote against the resolution.

My delegation hopes that with time the mistakes of Durban will be rectified, and that an honest consensus can be reached, in which support for the elimination of racism and intolerance is wholehearted and without exception.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

The United States explained their vote this way:

Explanation of Vote by Robert S. Hagen, Deputy U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council, on the Report of the Human Rights Council on the Preparation of the Durbin Review Conference, in the Third Committee of the General Assembly, November 20, 2007
Mr. Chairman,

We cannot support Resolution L.66 which was brought to this body without proper review, and which calls for a use of UN resources that we believe is inappropriate. The report of the Preparatory Committee for the Durban Review Conference proposes numerous mechanisms to fund costly additional preparations meetings, including regional meetings, which the United States believes are unnecessary, duplicative and wasteful of limited UN resources. We particularly object to the report's suggestion that the Secretary-General should be responsible for finding the resources for these meetings, and the implication that such funding should come from the UN's general budget. The United States has well-known, principled objections to the overall direction and procedures leading up to the planned Durban Review Conference. But the process by which this resolution was produced and brought before the General Assembly is also troubling. As far as we know, there have been no meetings or discussions open to all delegations about the contents of this resolution or the 44-page report that it categorically endorses. Obviously on an issue of this importance and with significant funding ramifications, an opportunity for delegations to meet and discuss these issues would have been essential for a thoughtful and fair consideration by this body.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.



Angola:* draft resolution

Report of the Human Rights Council on the preparations for the Durban Review Conference

The General Assembly,

Taking note of its resolution 61/149 of 19 December 2006 and Human Rights Council resolution 3/2 of 8 December 2006,

Recalling Human Rights Council decision 6/105 of 28 September 2007, in which the Council invited the Preparatory Committee for the Durban Review Conference to submit its reports to the General Assembly,

Bearing in mind that the modalities of the Review Conference have yet to be finalized,

1. Welcomes the Report of the Preparatory Committee on its first session,[1] including its annexes and appendices, in particular the decisions adopted by the organizational session of the Preparatory Committee;[2]

2. Endorses the decisions adopted by the organizational session of the Preparatory Committee.

* On behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Group of African States.
[1] A/62/375.
[2] Ibid., annex I.