Durban Watch

Durban II

EYEontheUN ALERT - September 5, 2008

Durban II Preparations Continue to Send Alarming Signals

New York - EYEontheUN reports that Iran, a country whose President repeatedly denies the Holocaust and threatens to wipe Israel off the map, will be busy over the next few weeks engaged in UN "anti-racism" activities associated with the Durban II conference.

The preparatory committee for Durban II known as the Intersessional Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group, decided today that the next stage of the process of drafting a final declaration for Durban II will lie with the so-called Friends of the Chair. The Friends group includes such human rights luminaries as Iran, Pakistan and Egypt. The Chair and his friends will be responsible for integrating the conclusions of a recent African regional meeting, held in Abuja, into the working draft of Durban II's declaration. The Abuja document includes statements brandishing Israel as racist and threatening free speech.

The Working Group's latest draft, released today, also contains indications that the media will be a target of an "anti-racism" agenda.

Furthermore, the Working Group decided to hold its next meeting on September 29, 2008, the eve of Rosh Hashanah. The date will prevent most Jewish NGOs outside of Geneva from attending. This follows the decision of the Durban Preparatory Committee to hold both of its sessions on major Jewish holidays - Passover in April 2008 and Yom Kippur in October 2008.

"While Canada, Israel and the United States are rightly not participating in any of these Durban II preparations, the European Union continues to promote the fiction that this is a process of building consensus among equals. They know full well, however, that they don't have the votes to prevail and can do little more than rubber-stamp the priorities of the Arab, African and Asian Groups," said Anne Bayefsky, Senior Editor of EYEontheUN. Bayefsky added: "It seems clear that the European Union has no intention of denying Durban II the legitimacy which its racist state supporters desperately seek."