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Resources updated between Monday, January 26, 2009 and Sunday, February 01, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

The United Nations "anti-racism" forum, known as Durban II, is becoming a more important test for President Obama's multilateralist ambitions with each passing day. Durban I was the anti-Semitic hatefest that ended three days before 9/11. Durban II - the UN equivalent of the Son of Sam - will take place in April in Geneva. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has called on Obama not to legitimize the meeting, or its message, and not to attend. Canada has decided to stay away. But Obama has still not decided whether the United States will go. This Wednesday, however, the stakes got a lot higher with the UN's release of the latest negotiating text.

Negotiators have now put on the table claims that (1) a homeland for the Jewish people is racism - a "racially based law of return," (2) Israel is guilty of "apartheid" and (3) the veracity of the murder of one-third of the Jewish people during the Holocaust is subject to question. A reference to Holocaust facts has now been "square-bracketed" because Iran and Syria have questioned the numbers of Jews that died and consensus is the only guiding principle governing the decision-making process. In total, six provisions are dedicated to demonizing Israel as racist. Not one of the other 191 UN states is mentioned. The intention is clear: the political defeat of Israel in the same vein as apartheid South Africa, because repeated attempts at a military defeat of Israel have failed.

But Israel is not the only target of Islamic and Arab states and their developing world partners. The draft takes straight aim at freedom of expression and counterterrorism. Free speech should supposedly be curtailed by new laws against "projecting negative, insulting and derogatory images of religions and religious personalities" and the introduction of "a code of ethical conduct" for the media. Counterterrorism activities are "obstacles hampering progress in the collective struggle against racism."

At the top of the agenda is the creation of a hierarchy of human rights victims with "Muslim minorities" topping matters of concern. "The intellectual and ideological validation of Islamophobia" is a "most disturbing phenomenon," the agenda says. "Anti-Arabism" is introduced as intolerance of a religious minority. Religions, instead of individuals, can be defamed. Calls are made to preserve "religious and cultural identities" without reference to universal rights and freedoms. Broad condemnation of "any advocacy of racial or religious hatred which constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence" is coupled with a refusal to require any finding by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and a fair and public hearing.

In other words, Durban II is a frontal assault on universal human rights and freedoms by religious fundamentalists. The European Union members have consistently participated in the Durban process from 2001 until today, approving the conference and its agenda. Although some EU states have vigorously protested the offensive draft provisions, they have been totally unable to prevail at each step of the way. Because full democracies are a minority in the UN, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference dominates the developing world, they stand no chance of winning on the numbers alone. Western diplomats, therefore, encourage the operating principle of consensus.

The consensus requirement leaves the radicals with a controlling interest. As a result, Iran is a vice president of the executive committee of the Durban II drafting group and took the floor to voice its "human rights" preferences more often than any other state during last week's negotiating session. The chairman of the drafting committee repeatedly asked Iran if it agreed with proposals, or suggested to the EU that it negotiate agreed language with Iran. When the meeting ended last Friday, the very first state to express its satisfaction with the preparations for this conference was Iran. Though the Iranian president openly advocates genocide and denies the Holocaust, his representative cooed, "We hope we will continue in the same spirit with our work. Thank you, Mr. Chairman."

Most important for the new Obama administration, this is not a dialogue from which democratic states or values can emerge triumphant. The multilateral reality is that without the numbers to prevail, the EU will agree on an outcome regardless of the sacrifices required to achieve consensus. The first lamb to be sacrificed will be "racist Israel," just as the EU allowed in Durban I. In fact, the first Durban conference - where the United States and Israel walked out - is a good indicator of EU strategy at the United Nations: It is not prepared to walk away. This outlook, of course, is well-known to the anti-human-rights crowd. Consequently, they hold out until the end, throw the EU a bone as a "compromise" and watch them hold news conferences for the hometown crowds feigning success.

Durban II, therefore, presents a major test of Obama's multilateral prowess. If he decides to go, he will legitimize a human rights fraud. American values and interests will be pushed to the fringes while the Europeans hang onto center stage - negotiating with anti-human-rights extremists. In the end, Obama will either have to abandon human rights victims, including Jews, or be forced to walk out and denounce the "consensus" - leaving him marginalized early in his administration.

The obvious solution is both to maintain the status quo for the last 71/2 years - U.S. nonparticipation in the Durban forum - and launch energetic efforts to fashion a more advantageous playing field for multilateral engagement. Skillfully addressed, this is an opportunity to encourage multilateralism that promotes, rather than defeats, universal rights and freedoms.

This article first appeared in The New York Daily News.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Intensive negotiations last week in Geneva have resulted in a new version of the "Draft Outcome Document" for Durban II - released yesterday. Iran - a Vice-Chair of the executive committee for Durban II - played a leading role in the drafting process, speaking more often than any other single state. The result? Now on the negotiating table: Jewish self-determination or Zionism is racism. Israel is guilty of apartheid and the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust is questionable.

Anne Bayefsky, Editor of EYEontheUN, commented: "this "anti-racism" manifesto is much worse even than its predecessor. Islamic and other rights-abusing states had a field day preparing for Durban II. European states were totally unable to introduce the modifications necessary to protect human rights standards or change the clear intent of the conference."

Here are some of the features now part of negotiations according to the new draft:

  • the "law of return" - the core of the self-determination of the Jewish people or Zionism - is racist
  • Israel is guilty of crimes against humanity and "a contemporary form of apartheid"
  • Israel's security fence is a "segregation wall"
  • a provision condemning Israel's actions in Gaza
  • while Israel is repeatedly condemned, not one of the other 191 UN states is mentioned
  • a proposal to delete reference to the numbers of Jews murdered in the Holocaust - on the grounds that it is questionable
  • a claim that "religions" - as opposed to individuals - can be "defamed"
  • provisions curtailing free speech - "abuse of freedom of expression"
  • efforts to limit and govern the media by "a code of ethical conduct"
  • creation of a hierarchy of victims, with Muslim minorities on top - "most disturbing phenomenon is the intellectual and ideological validation of Islamophobia"
  • efforts to trump universal rights and freedoms by references to cultural diversity, "cultural particularities," religious and cultural "identities"
  • undermining counterterrorism activities by alleging they increase racism
  • challenges to any responsibility for the trans-Saharan slave trade and the slave trade in the Indian Ocean
  • introducing "anti-Arabism" as intolerance against a religious minority
  • attempting to introduce laws against "projecting negative, insulting and derogatory images of religions and religious personalities"
  • calls for new laws endangering rights and freedoms, such as, laws on "respect for human rights and reputation, public morals, and incitement to racial and religious hatred and freedom of expression".
The snail's pace of negotiations prompted the drafting committee to add still more preparatory meetings. Meetings now scheduled, in Geneva, are the Intersessional Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group: 16-19 February + 6-9 April 2009, the Preparatory Committee - Third Session: 15-17 April 2009; and Durban II: 20-24 April 2009.

The continued participation of the European Union and Australia in the Durban II forum is legitimizing a global discussion of the veracity of the Holocaust, the legitimacy of a Jewish state, and broad restrictions on freedom of expression - all in the name of "human rights".

President Obama, it is time to announce the United States will stay away from Durban II, together with Canada and Israel.

**************

Sections of the Draft Text

28 January 2009

Revised version of the technically reviewed text (A/CONF.211/PC/WG.2/CRP.2) submitted by the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the intersessional open-ended working group to continue and finalize the process of negotiations on and drafting of the outcome document

Ed. Note: Square brackets mean not yet decided. Ad. ref. means ad referendum, or adopted pending agreement on the whole document. A cluster is a group of paragraphs. Para means paragraphs. DDPA is the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the first Durban Conference in Durban, South Africa, September 8, 2001. Over the course of the week (January 19-23, 2009), the drafting committee considered only 40% of the document before them and agreed on approximately 20% of the provisions covered.

DEMONIZING ISRAEL

Paragraphs that have been discussed:

SECTION 1:
Review of progress and assessment of implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action by all stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels, including the assessment of contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

A. Sources, causes, forms, and contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

(General provisions on DDPA, human rights, human dignity, cultural diversity, multiculturalism, sources, causes, forms, manifestations, political will, obstacles)

    NEW PARA: Reaffirms the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) as it was adopted at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in 2001;[Adopted ad ref.]

    [Ed. Note: This includes paragraph 63 of the DDPA which alleges Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism.]

(Middle East)[proposal to delete cluster]
    30. [Expresses deep concern at the practices of racial discrimination against the Palestinian people as well as [Syrian nationals of the occupied Syrian Golan] [other inhabitants of the Arab occupied territories] which have an impact on all aspects of their daily existence and prevent the enjoyment of fundamental rights, and renews the call for the cessation of all such practices;]

    31. [Reiterates that the Palestinian people have the inalienable right to self determination and that, in order to consolidate the[Israeli] occupation, they have been subjected to unlawful collective punishment, torture, economic blockade, severe restriction of movement and arbitrary closure of their territories. Also notes[with concern] that illegal settlements continue to be built in the occupied[Arab] territories[since 1967];]

    32. [Reaffirms that a foreign occupation founded on settlements, laws based on racial discrimination with the aim of continuing domination of the occupied territory[y][ies], as well as the practice of reinforcing a total military blockade, isolating towns, villages and cities from one another,[totally] contradicts the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations[and constitutes a serious violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, a crime against humanity, a contemporary form of apartheid and serious threat to international peace and security] [and violates the basic principles of international human rights law];]

    [NEW PARA: Expresses deep concern at the plight of Palestinian refugees and other inhabitants of the Arab occupied territories as well as displaced persons who were forced to leave their homes because of war and racial policies of the occupying power and who are prevented from returning to their homes and properties because of a racially-based law of return. It recognizes the right of return of Palestinian refugees as established by the General Assembly in its resolutions, particularly resolution 194 of 11 December 1948, and calls for the return to their homeland in accordance with and in implementation of this right;]

    33. [Reiterates deep concern about the plight of the Palestinian people[as well as inhabitants of the other occupied territories] under foreign occupation,[including the obstruction of the return of refugees and displaced persons, and the construction of the segregation wall,] and urges respect for international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, and calls for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region;]

    34. [Re-emphasizes the responsibility of the international community to provide international protection, in particular from racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, for[Palestinian] civilian populations under occupation in conformity with international human rights law and international humanitarian law;]

    [Proposal to include reference to Gaza situation language to be provided]

**************

THWARTING THE WAR TO END TERRORISM

Paragraphs that have been discussed:

SECTION 1:
Review of progress and assessment of implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action by all stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels, including the assessment of contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

A. Sources, causes, forms, and contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance


(General provisions on DDPA, human rights, human dignity, cultural diversity, multiculturalism, sources, causes, forms, manifestations, political will, obstacles)

    5. [Notes that other obstacles hampering progress in the collective struggle against racism and racial discrimination include [first and foremost the absence of political will, the denial of the existence of contemporary racist tendencies,] weak[national] legislation and policies, lack of effective strategies,[lack of political will,] lack of implementation of international legal framework and commitments, impunity on different grounds [ including [[negative] abuse of] freedom of expression, [counter-terrorism, and national security] [stereotypical association of religion with terrorism and violence by the media and national security forces] as well as an increase in extreme right wing xenophobic political platforms. Hence the need[arises] to deal with this menace in all its forms and manifestations with all available tools at our disposal];]
(Racial profiling, counter-terrorism)

    22. [Draws attention to the impact of][Strongly deplores the [overt and covert] discriminatory] counter-terrorism measures [on] [that have led to] the rise of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance [including the practice of racial, ethnic, national and religious profiling;]

    NEW PARA: Also condemns all acts of ethnic, racial or religious profiling and segregation in any society, wherever it may occur, and its concomitant negative impact on the human rights of affected segments of population [and urges States to take resolute action against those responsible both in the public and private sectors];[proposal to move to section 5].

    NEW PARA: Reaffirms that counter-terrorism strategies should not undermine the protection of human rights and the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;
(Freedom of religion, incitement to religious intolerance, hatred, or violence, defamation of religion, freedom of expression)

    26. [[Notes with concern][Seriously concerned at the] instances of defamation of religions, which manifests itself in [projecting negative, insulting and derogatory images of religions and religious personalities,] generalized and stereotypical association of religions, in particular Islam, with violence and terrorism, thus impacting negatively on the rights of individuals belonging to these religions, including Muslim minorities, and exposing them to hatred and discrimination. Such situations are further aggravated by the imposition of restrictions on the profession of religions, including[the surveillance of places of worship and restrictions on their construction] [the construction of places of worship and their surveillance];]
Paragraphs that have not been discussed:

B. Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

(Ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities)
    53. Acknowledges that a most disturbing phenomenon is the intellectual and ideological validation of Islamophobia. When it is expressed against migrants it takes the form of religious-ethnic or religious-racial tones, when it is expressed in the form of defamation of religions, it takes cover behind the freedom of expression and when it is expressed in the form of profiling, it hides behind the war against terrorism. Believes that association of terrorism and violence with Islam or any other religion, including through publication of offensive caricatures and making of hate documentaries, would purposely complicate our common endeavours to address several contemporary issues, including the fight against terrorism and the occupation of foreign territories and peoples; (para 45 section 1)
SECTION 5:
Identification of further concrete measures and initiatives at all levels for combating and eliminating all manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in order to foster the implementation of the DDPA and to address challenges and impediments hereto, including in light of developments since the adoption of the DDPA in 2001

Action at the national level


(Racial profiling, counter-terrorism)

    157. Urges States to prohibit by law the practice known as racial profiling and profiling based on any grounds of discrimination recognized under international human rights law and the DDPA, to adopt other necessary measures to eliminate this practice, to provide sanctions for those who violate the law, and to ensure effective redress for victims; (para 101 section 5 slightly modified)

    158. Calls on States to ensure that any measures taken in the fight against terrorism do not discriminate, in purpose or effect, on the grounds of race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, nor on the grounds of culture, religion, belief, names, appearance or language, and to ensure that non-citizens are not subjected to racial or ethnic profiling or stereotyping; (merger paras 84, 235, 34 section 1 and 52 section 3)

**************

LIMITING FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Paragraphs that have been discussed:

SECTION 1:
Review of progress and assessment of implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action by all stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels, including the assessment of contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

    5. [Notes that other obstacles hampering progress in the collective struggle against racism and racial discrimination include [first and foremost the absence of political will, the denial of the existence of contemporary racist tendencies,] weak[national] legislation and policies, lack of effective strategies,[lack of political will,] lack of implementation of international legal framework and commitments, impunity on different grounds [ including [[negative] abuse of] freedom of expression, [counter-terrorism, and national security] [stereotypical association of religion with terrorism and violence by the media and national security forces] as well as an increase in extreme right wing xenophobic political platforms. Hence the need[arises] to deal with this menace in all its forms and manifestations with all available tools at our disposal];]

    25. Condemns any advocacy of racial or religious hatred which constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, and recognizes that only a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law may determine, case by case, in a fair and public hearing, whether the facts presented qualify as incitement to racial or religious hatred[prohibited by law];

    ALT: Condemns any advocacy of racial or religious hatred which constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, and [should be prohibited by law;]

    26. [[Notes with concern][Seriously concerned at the] instances of defamation of religions, which manifests itself in [projecting negative, insulting and derogatory images of religions and religious personalities,] generalized and stereotypical association of religions, in particular Islam, with violence and terrorism, thus impacting negatively on the rights of individuals belonging to these religions, including Muslim minorities, and exposing them to hatred and discrimination. Such situations are further aggravated by the imposition of restrictions on the profession of religions, including[the surveillance of places of worship and restrictions on their construction] [the construction of places of worship and their surveillance];]

    28. Reaffirms a holistic approach to human rights guaranteeing the indivisibility of all human rights, and stresses that [fundamental freedoms of expression and association should continue to contribute and promote the positive and desirable phenomenon of multiculturalism, respect for cultural diversity and tolerance among all religions, peoples and societies.] [the fight against racial and religious hatred should not serve as a pretext to legitimize impermissible limitations to freedom of expression][as the right to freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society as it ensures individual self-fulfillment and a pluralistic, tolerant society with access to multitudes of ideas and philosophies];

    ALT/NEW PARA: Reiterates that freedom of religion or belief, freedom of opinion and expression and non-discrimination are interdependent and stresses the need to strengthen the process of effectively adjudicating cases associated with incitement to national racial and religious hatred in accordance with the permissible limitations under article 20 of the ICCPR and analogous instruments;

    NEW PARA: Recognizes the importance of the positive role that can be played by the media in this context in particular through a responsible media that abstains from diffusing hate or defamatory information and that engages to fight against such practices;

SECTION 3:
Promotion of the universal ratification and implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and proper consideration of the recommendations of the CERD

    143. [Calls on CERD and the Human Rights Committee to elaborate model legislation on[the necessity of upholding respect for human rights and reputation, public morals, as well as] incitement to racial and religious hatred and freedom of expression;]


Paragraphs that have not been discussed:

SECTION 1:
Review of progress and assessment of implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action by all stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels, including the assessment of contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

B. Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance


(Ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities)
    53. Acknowledges that a most disturbing phenomenon is the intellectual and ideological validation of Islamophobia. When it is expressed against migrants it takes the form of religious-ethnic or religious-racial tones, when it is expressed in the form of defamation of religions, it takes cover behind the freedom of expression and when it is expressed in the form of profiling, it hides behind the war against terrorism. Believes that association of terrorism and violence with Islam or any other religion, including through publication of offensive caricatures and making of hate documentaries, would purposely complicate our common endeavours to address several contemporary issues, including the fight against terrorism and the occupation of foreign territories and peoples; (para 45 section 1)


SECTION 5:
Identification of further concrete measures and initiatives at all levels for combating and eliminating all manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in order to foster the implementation of the DDPA and to address challenges and impediments hereto, including in light of developments since the adoption of the DDPA in 2001

Action at the national level


(Freedom of religion, incitement to religious intolerance, hatred, or violence, defamation of religion, freedom of expression)
    159. Urges States to take effective measures to address contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and to take firm action against negative stereotyping of religions and defamation of religious personalities, holy books, scriptures and symbols; (para 100 section 5)

    160. Calls on States to develop, and where appropriate to incorporate, permissible limitations on the exercise of the right to freedom of expression into national legislation;

    The international legal framework
    (International legislation, soft law, code of conduct)

    218. Calls for a voluntary ethical code of conduct to be elaborated, in association with the International Federation for Journalists, to 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, and to eliminate the projection and perpetuation through the media and new technologies of negative images and stereotypes of African people and people of African descent; (para 96 d) section 5)

**************

CREATING THE ISLAMIC VICTIM

Paragraphs that have been discussed:

SECTION 1:
Review of progress and assessment of implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action by all stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels, including the assessment of contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

A. Sources, causes, forms, and contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance


(Freedom of religion, incitement to religious intolerance, hatred, or violence, defamation of religion, freedom of expression)
    24. Recognizes with deep concern the global rise in the number of incidents of intolerance and violence against members of religious minorities in various parts of the world[in particular] motivated by[different forms of religious intolerance] [Islamophobia, anti-Arabism, anti-Semitism and Christianophobia];

    ALT: Recognizes with deep concern the global rise in the number of incidents of intolerance and violence against members of religious minorities in various parts of the world;

    26. [[Notes with concern][Seriously concerned at the] instances of defamation of religions, which manifests itself in [projecting negative, insulting and derogatory images of religions and religious personalities,] generalized and stereotypical association of religions, in particular Islam, with violence and terrorism, thus impacting negatively on the rights of individuals belonging to these religions, including Muslim minorities, and exposing them to hatred and discrimination. Such situations are further aggravated by the imposition of restrictions on the profession of religions, including[the surveillance of places of worship and restrictions on their construction] [the construction of places of worship and their surveillance];]
Paragraphs that have not been discussed:

B. Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

(Ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities)
    53. Acknowledges that a most disturbing phenomenon is the intellectual and ideological validation of Islamophobia. When it is expressed against migrants it takes the form of religious-ethnic or religious-racial tones, when it is expressed in the form of defamation of religions, it takes cover behind the freedom of expression and when it is expressed in the form of profiling, it hides behind the war against terrorism. Believes that association of terrorism and violence with Islam or any other religion, including through publication of offensive caricatures and making of hate documentaries, would purposely complicate our common endeavours to address several contemporary issues, including the fight against terrorism and the occupation of foreign territories and peoples; (para 45 section 1)
SECTION 5:
Identification of further concrete measures and initiatives at all levels for combating and eliminating all manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in order to foster the implementation of the DDPA and to address challenges and impediments hereto, including in light of developments since the adoption of the DDPA in 2001

Action at the national level


(Freedom of religion, incitement to religious intolerance, hatred, or violence, defamation of religion, freedom of expression)

    159. Urges States to take effective measures to address contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and to take firm action against negative stereotyping of religions and defamation of religious personalities, holy books, scriptures and symbols; (para 100 section 5)
The international legal framework

    216. Stipulates that national laws alone cannot deal with the issue of defamation or negative stereotyping of religions. A framework is needed to provide guidelines for States - aimed at countering defamation of religions; (merger paras 142, 146 section 5)

**************

ANTISEMITISM AND THE HOLOCAUST

Paragraphs that have been discussed:

SECTION 1:
Review of progress and assessment of implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action by all stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels, including the assessment of contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

A. Sources, causes, forms, and contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

(Freedom of religion, incitement to religious intolerance, hatred, or violence, defamation of religion, freedom of expression)
    24. Recognizes with deep concern the global rise in the number of incidents of intolerance and violence against members of religious minorities in various parts of the world[in particular] motivated by[different forms of religious intolerance] [Islamophobia, anti-Arabism, anti-Semitism and Christianophobia];

    ALT: Recognizes with deep concern the global rise in the number of incidents of intolerance and violence against members of religious minorities in various parts of the world;
B. Sources, causes, forms, and contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
(Holocaust)

[proposal to change title]

    29. [Affirms that the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of one third of the Jewish people, along with numerous members of other minorities, will forever be a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice; recalls again that the Holocaust must never be forgotten;]

    ALT: Recalls that the Holocaust must never be forgotten;

    [NEW PARA: Recalls and urges States to implement United Nations General Assembly resolutions 60/7 and 61/255 which observed that remembrance of the Holocaust is critical to prevent further acts of genocide, condemned without reservation any denial of the Holocaust and urged all Member States to reject denial of the Holocaust as a historical event either in full or in part or in any activities to this end;] [proposal to move to section 5]
Paragraph that has not been discussed:

E. Strategies to achieve full and effective equality, including international cooperation and enhancement of the United Nations and other international mechanisms in combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

(OHCHR, UN system, international and regional organizations, international cooperation, technical assistance or cooperation)
    100. Welcomes the important initiatives to combat anti-Semitism, hate crimes, racism, xenophobia and discrimination as well as intolerance and discrimination against Muslims; (para 337 section 1)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The UN Durban II conference is a no-holds-barred assault on the international protection of human rights. That is the only conclusion to be drawn from the preparatory meeting which ended on Friday in Geneva. For all those democratic governments - and especially that of President Obama - still sitting on the sidelines on the issue of participation, the stakes have never been clearer.

The chief "anti-racism" negotiator at Durban II is Iran. Iran spoke more often than any other single state during the drafting of the "outcome document", which will be adopted at the conference itself. The Chair continually asked Iran if it agreed with proposals, or suggested to the European Union that it negotiate agreed language with Iran.

The countries present at the negotiating session tried desperately to keep a lid on the real agenda and reveal as little as possible of the serious menace that lies ahead. On Thursday, January 22nd, the Chair went so far as to order a television crew to stop filming during a discussion of the pros and cons of freedom of expression. The demand came from Nigeria, a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the African Regional Group.

The week-long UN meeting turned into a "human rights" travesty. Instead of going through the draft document before them from beginning to end even once, the assembled countries proceeded - in the words of the Chair - at a "snail's pace." They read 40% of the draft and agreed upon only 20% of that. Even still, they were unable to cover up their real intentions, as the world's worst human rights violators could not manage to keep their vile anti-human rights opinions to themselves.

Democratic states have long taken the general approach that the institution of the UN must be supported regardless of the substance of its activities. Such countries are now in a major quandary. Proceeding to adopt a Durban II outcome will undoubtedly be a major setback for the international protection of human rights. But refusing to lend the forum credibility - on the grounds that this is a racist "anti-racism" platform - will subject these states to sticks and stones. Many developing countries will scream racism, colonialism and insensitivity to cultural differences. The fact that these accusations emanate from states with the worst human records on the planet, however, may not be enough to fortify the backbone of the European Union. But these labels should not easily stick to President Obama.

The key point is that this is not a dialogue from which democratic states and values can emerge triumphant. At the United Nations they do not have the numbers to prevail. This puts them at a tremendous disadvantage at the negotiating table. This is particularly true because the European Union always wants any outcome at all costs. At the UN, it is not prepared to walk away. Of course, this fact is well-known to the anti-human rights crowd, who hold out until the end, throw the EU a bone as a "compromise" and watch them hold news conferences for the hometown crowds feigning "success."

If Obama decides to go, he will legitimize a human rights fraud. American values and interests will be pushed to the fringes while the Europeans hang on to center stage - busy negotiating 'compromises' with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). In the end, Obama will either have to abandon real human rights victims around the world including Jews, or be forced to walk out and denounce the "consensus" - leaving him marginalized early in his administration. The obvious solution is to maintain the status quo for the last 7 years - U.S. non-participation in the Durban forum - and undertake to fashion a more advantageous playing field for engaging in the business of the international protection of human rights.

Here is the solid evidence of the fraudulent "human rights" discourse - representing verbatim text taken from the transcript of the final two days of last week's Durban II preparatory proceedings.

Main features:

  • Bargaining with Iran about what counts as racism or human rights
  • Bargaining with human rights abusers about what counts as human rights abuse
  • Bargaining with a negotiator who has no respect for the rules of engagement
  • Manufacturing Arab victimhood
  • Abandoning the rule of law and an independent judiciary
  • Manufacturing "defamation of religions" and attacking free speech
  • Freedom of expression - except at the UN -- Drafting group on Durban II stops film crew
  • Filming stops - trashing freedom of expression continues
  • Holocaust deniers provided a platform for hate at a UN "anti-racism" conference
  • Israel demonized - Zionism is racism revisited
  • The Israel-bashing continues under the banner of a thematic anti-racism conference which addresses not a single other state

THURSDAY, JANUARY 22, 2009

Bargaining with Iran about what counts as racism or human rights

    16. Emphasizes that the multiple factors of a situation that might lead to genocide, as defined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, include the resurgence of systematic discrimination, the prevalence of expressions of hate speech targeting persons belonging to national, ethnic, racial or religious groups, especially if they are uttered in the context of an actual or potential outbreak of violence, and serious and systematic violation of human rights; (para 64 section 1)

Iran
"My proposal is to delete this section [beginning with "especially"]. We don't need to wait and see an outbreak of violence before we stop the genocide or prevalence of hate speech."

European Union
"I would be hesitant to drop ..."

Chair
"Iran can you accept this proposal?"

Iran
"May I suggest we would make quick consultations?"

Chair
"Let us leave this for now."

...
Chair
"Iran I want to ask whether you agreed on paragraph 16?"

Iran
"Frankly not yet, but we will do it quickly."

...
Iran
"We approached the EU and are waiting for their response."

Bargaining with human rights abusers about what counts as human rights abuse

    15. Deplores the numerous occurrences of internal conflicts and inter-ethnic and intra religious or communal violence, including those that appear to be based on tribal lines, which have lead to casualties and killings, torture, massive displacement, rape and destruction of property and infrastructures, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide;

Sudan
"We have strong reservations on this paragraph..."
    18. Deplores also the use of Government-aligned or -organized irregular militia to oppress, murder and displace ethnic populations;

South Africa
"We call for paragraph 18 to be deleted..."

Syria
"I would support the deletion ..."

Sudan
"We support South Africa and Syria and the deletion of this paragraph 18."

    20. Welcomes the actions taken to commemorate the memory of victims of slavery and the slave trade, in particular the transatlantic slave trade, and the abolition of those historic tragedies, and stresses the need to similarly address the trans-Saharan slave trade and the slave trade in the Indian Ocean. Welcomes the adoption of GA Resolutions 61/19 and 62/122 related to the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade and remembrance of its victims and, in particular, the designation of 25 March as the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade; (merger paras 127, 338 section 1)

South Africa
"After "tragedies" we want a full stop and the deletion of the remainder..."

[Ed. Note - Africans and the rest of the developing world don't want to talk about their own legacy of slavery. They want to delete any call to "similarly address the trans-Saharan slave trade and the slave trade in the Indian Ocean".]
    22. Draws attention to the impact of counter-terrorism measures on the rise of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including the practice of racial, ethnic, national and religious profiling; (para 34 section 1)

European Union
"We don't see the link between counter-terrorism and profiling, and racism and racial discrimination, so we have difficulty with the very gist of this paragraph...We propose deletion of this paragraph."

Pakistan
"It is very important...and we have additions "We would like to state strongly deplores the counter terrorism measures" and after that words "that have led to" and then you have rise of racism."

European Union
"...I cannot give consent to...link between fighting terrorism and racism and related intolerance."

Iran
"We support Pakistan."
    23. Reaffirms the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief and expresses concern over intolerance and discrimination in the name of religion or belief (merger paras 55, 325 section 1)

Syria
"This paragraph is not structured to give any sense. The last line reads discrimination in the "name of religion." How can it be "in the name" correctly? It should be on the "grounds of" religion or belief."

European Union
"These are two different things. "In the name of" religion you are using as an excuse to act in a discriminatory manner, while on the "grounds" is reason this person having that particular religion not reliving this. "In the name" has to stay in."

Iran
"We view "in the name of" religion misleading... "

Bargaining with a negotiator who has no respect for the rules of engagement

European Union
"I have been checking what is agreed language and I found "in the name of religion or belief" in our last religious intolerance resolution adopted by consensus in the UN General Assembly, so we have to preserve this phrase in that paragraph."

Pakistan
"I just wanted to highlight the fact that we are trying not to just get back to whatever was once decided and can never be changed...I'm sure our Czech colleague would agree that resolutions are not religious scriptures that cannot be changed."

Manufacturing Arab victimhood

    24. recognizes with deep concern the global rise in the number of incidents of intolerance and violence against members of religious minorities in various parts of the world motivated by Islamophobia, anti-Arabism, anti-Semitism and Christianophobia;

European Union
"We would propose to finish the paragraph before the list of the different phobias. Anti-Arabism does not fit among Abrahamic religious groups."

Singapore
"...Certain religions are not listed here - Hindus, Buddhists. So agree with EU."

Denmark
"...One group is a racial group and the others are religious minorities. We all want to focus on what is at stake, religious minority groups."

Pakistan
"...Those three or four are particularly discriminated against, or had specific problems in the recent past."

Iran
"My delegation is for maintaining this paragraph as it stands...We are talking about specific phenomena which have been here with us for the past several years and we cannot just ignore them."

United Kingdom
"Anti-Arabism, as heinous as it is, is not a form of religious intolerance so it doesn't fit logically into this paragraph."

Algeria
"The key problem is that there is identification of individuals belonging to a race or religion, Islam. If you identify Arabs with the Muslim community, the Muslim faith then there is a problem of anti-Arabism and my delegation would be extremely or strongly in favor of including this reference where it needs to be."

Saudi Arabia
"We would like to support what has been mentioned by Iran, Pakistan and Algeria in terms of keeping this paragraph as is...Pakistan is speaking on behalf of the OIC members and it is a very important paragraph for all members of the OIC."

Abandoning the rule of law and an independent judiciary

    25. Condemns any advocacy of racial or religious hatred which constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, and recognizes that only a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law may determine, case by case, in a fair and public hearing, whether the facts presented qualify as incitement to racial or religious hatred

European Union
"At the end of the paragraph, after "religious hatred", add "prohibited by law.""

Pakistan
"Our proposal on this particular paragraph is that we say "any advocacy of racial or religious hatred which constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence and should be prohibited by law." Full stop and rest of the paragraph should be deleted. We are not here basically to judge what is an independent, what is an impartial and what is a competent court of law. These are the things... which can lead to further discussion...""

European Union
""...Prohibition by law certainly that is one thing...but then you have to have some sort of criteria and some sort of instances which are able to apply those criteria to determine independently and objectively whether the situation applies to the prohibition. So the reference to independent judiciary as an instance in fact the only instance which has a role to play in such determination is of utmost importance to us and we would need to see this part of the paragraph retained.""

Iran
"...defamation of religions for certain delegation might have been problematic, so the [OIC] thought...let's talk about incitement....Very reasonably refers to the fact that once an action constitutes an incitement it should be dealt with promptly and without any delay. That is the reason we should not be conditioning the incitement to "be prohibited by law" because then we enter to a very, very, very difficult Pandora box."

Pakistan
"...We are not discussing the independence or impartiality of judiciary...We believe like our country, all countries represented in this hall have an impartial, competent and independent judiciary and when it comes there it will be decided in accordance with those standard criteria so we don't really need to mention it."

Algeria
"The paragraph...by our partners would suggest that there would be judicial bodies which are impartial and would not provide the necessary guarantees of impartiality."

Manufacturing "defamation of religions" and attacking free speech

    26. Notes with concern instances of defamation of religions, which manifests itself in generalized and stereotypical association of religions, in particular Islam, with violence and terrorism, thus impacting negatively on the rights of individuals belonging to these religions, including Muslim minorities, and exposing them to hatred and discrimination. Such situations are further aggravated by the imposition of restrictions on the profession of religions, including restrictions on the construction of places of worship and their surveillance; (merger paras 2, 42, 43, 45, 46 section 1)

Pakistan
"Our specific proposal to improve this paragraph goes as follows...After "which manifests itself in" add "projecting negative, insulting and derogatory images of religions and religious personalities," and then it goes on as it is."

European Union
"Pakistan more or less proves the importance of the independent judiciary element we have been insisting on in the previous paragraph, because all those objectives with serious implications - negative, insulting derogatory - who will determine whether the threshold has been reached or not? This is why we insist on reference to an independent judiciary as an instance to determine those occurrences. With regard to paragraph 26, this whole paragraph is based on a concept we cannot recognize and we would need this to be deleted."

Denmark
"...Only rights of individuals are protected in law. Freedom of religion is an individual right. The current formulation may indicate that only one group is feeling defamation...We want complete deletion of this provision."

South Africa
"Support Pakistan and Syria on this paragraph and we can accept it as it is."

United Kingdom
"The concept of defamation of religions is unacceptable in this document and damages the likelihood of a successful outcome to this conference."

Pakistan
"I heard one comment and one threat...I would urge my distinguished colleague to adopt language which is more appropriate for the stature of people who are sitting in this hall who talk decency and diplomatic manner and not language of threats...Anything which goes around comes around. It's just one conference. There are hundreds of conferences that we are assisting in different fora and there are issues that are dear in one group and urge colleagues to use appropriate language."

[Ed. Note - Pakistan threatens to disrupt all other UN conferences on issues "dear to" the West, if it doesn't get its way in Durban II.]

Pakistan cont.
...groups of individuals who bear rights in different manner in social groupings, in their human cultural and ethnic and religious grouping. They bear certain rights...People of believers and followers of that ideology which are affected here...""

Iran
"We fully support Pakistan comments on behalf of the OIC..."

Netherlands
"Defamation is not a human rights concept. Strongly favor deletion."

Belgium
"Defamation is fully unacceptable. This is not a human rights concept...Defamation, if accepted, could lead to abuses which are unacceptable. It could prevent people from practicing other beliefs. Everybody should speak freely. Defamation could restrict the human rights of the individuals."

Syria
"We listened to Holland and I understand that a parliamentarian will be put on trial at a competent court in the Hague on the grounds of incitement of religious hatred. So I wonder if my colleague is aware of this and if it conforms with what has been explained by Pakistan and stipulated in paragraph 26."

Pakistan
"Let me say once and for all in my role as coordinator ...Defamation has no link to freedom of expression. It has link to abuse of this freedom. We reiterate - we are not talking about freedom of expression."

Netherlands
"To answer Syria whether we are aware of the fact Mr. Wilders is prosecuted. It would be very strange if we were not aware of the fact. As far as we know, he is not prosecuted for defamation of religion but incitement to hatred. In our view freedom of expression is fundamental right and if there is abuse there is judicial system should deal with that. And what happened is proof the system works at least on our country and it is up to the judge to decide if he went too far. "

Freedom of expression - except at the UN -- Drafting group on Durban II stops film crew (they reversed the edict the following day after an international outcry and the film crew had left the city)

Nigeria
"I know this is not very popular but when did we start using cameras and photographers in an informal working group in the UN system? If it is a rule fine but if it is not a rule you have to explain why."

Egypt
"Freedom of expression nowhere is absolute...European courts restrict freedom to insult. We are talking about those who use it to insult other religions..."

Chair
"I have received a request to stop this filming...I request the journalists to stop filming. "

Nigeria
"I think Secretariat should explain for us to understand it very clearly...Those accredited cover them in plenary session not in drafting working groups...There are times when we are meeting and we need to be covered. Is that all times? It is not so."

Chair
"One group requested the team to finish the filming...We suspend the filming of our deliberations."

Filming Stops - Trashing Freedom of Expression Continues

    28. Reaffirms a holistic approach to human rights guaranteeing the indivisibility of all human rights, and stresses that the fight against racial and religious hatred should not serve as a pretext to legitimize impermissible limitations to freedom of expression;

Angola
"We feel paragraph 28 is inappropriate since...this could convey that freedom of expression can excuse racial and religious hatred."

Denmark
"...On deleting second sentence in current provisions - We cannot support that..."

Iran
"Paragraph 28...we are up for its deletion."

Morocco
"We request the addition of a new paragraph..."Recognizes the importance of...a responsible media that abstains from defusing hate or defamatory information and that engages to fight against such practices.""

Holocaust deniers provided a platform for hate at a UN "anti-racism" conference

    (Holocaust)
    29. Affirms that the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of one third of the Jewish people, along with numerous members of other minorities, will forever be a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice; recalls again that the Holocaust must never be forgotten; (merger paras 181, 333 section 1)

South Africa
"We wish to - from the African Group - want it replaced by..."the Holocaust must never be forgotten.""

Syria
"I would support the South African proposal...I don't think we should get into a kind of statistical debate. As far as I know, that there is no agreement or consensus on the percentage of those who perished in the Holocaust. Maybe there is some kind of consensus on the figures or the percentage, but we are not quite sure. Maybe those who perished were half of the Jewish people, maybe less than half, maybe a third, maybe less, I don't know."

Iran
"...There is notion inside this paragraph where there is a talk about condemning without reservation any denial of holocaust. This entails implicit restrictions on elaboration and review and critical examination of holocaust. This is a very clear example of a violation of freedom of expression...For these two reasons we...suggest the deletion of this paragraph...We don't think this belongs to this text..."

Israel demonized - Zionism is racism revisited

    (Middle East)
    30. Expresses deep concern at the practices of racial discrimination against the Palestinian people as well as other inhabitants of the Arab occupied territories which have an impact on all aspects of their daily existence and prevent the enjoyment of fundamental rights, and renews the call for the cessation of all such practices; (para 93 section 5 streamlined and shortened)

European Union
"It is our position this is a thematic conference about racism and...we should refrain from addressing any country situation whatever it may be in the outcome document. Paragraphs 30 - 35 concern one country situation in the world. We don't think inclusion in the outcome document is appropriate at all."

Saudi Arabia
"We believe that paragraph 30 is a very important paragraph...In light of the massacres we all witnessed a few weeks ago, I believe we should pay further attention to the suffering of the Palestinian people...We believe that we have to mention here all that has happened and all sufferings of these people in terms of massacres and displacement, so we cannot overlook such a situation."

Pakistan
"May I remind the EU we are not here to renegotiate the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. It is already there and we are at a Review Conference and we cannot renegotiate. We have to review whatever was decided then, has it been implemented or not; what is lacking and what possible course of action can we suggest for addressing this particular cause. I request our colleagues not to get into this discussion, and let's try to see what is the most appropriate language which we can suggest here.""

[Ed. Note: Recall Pakistan said exactly the opposite earlier in the day:

    Pakistan
    "I just wanted to highlight the fact that we are trying not to just get back to whatever was once decided and can never be changed...I'm sure our Czech colleague [presidency of EU] would agree that resolutions are not religious scriptures that cannot be changed."]

Pakistan cont.
"I just wanted to highlight the distinction between thematic and specific situations. One paragraph earlier [the Holocaust paragraph] we were saying something else, and on this new paragraph we started saying something different. We just discussed a specific situation in the paragraph we discussed before. Now when we are trying to discuss another situation, it becomes "we cannot discuss it because it is something thematic". There should be some coherence in the argument. We must see what we decided whether it has been implemented or not, second point - what are the current realities, and lastly what is the course of action."

[Ed. Note: This means the following. The bargaining position of the Organization of the Islamic Conference - just as it was in Durban I - is 'you give me 'Israel is racist' and we'll allow a reference to the Holocaust.']

Palestine
"We will not allow taking the issue of Palestine as hostage to threaten the ongoing process of negotiations or the Durban Review Conference in general. We...welcome any positive input in line with our priorities."

[Ed. Note: As is usual practice for Arab parties at the UN, reality has been turned on its head. It is the Palestinians who have taken the Durban Review Conference hostage. They threaten to thwart any agreed outcome document unless they alone are included, knowing full well that no other country-specific situation in the world will be included.]

NGO -- David Littman - Association for World Education
"...On December 19, 2008, the OIC organized a Conference here for the 60th anniversary of the UDHR Conference at which two books - defaming Judaism throughout - were available...These books were published by the OIC's ISESCO, which has direct links to UNESCO. We agree entirely with the position of the Czech delegate, speaking on behalf of the European Union, on the reference to the Holocaust...The comment by the delegate of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the Holocaust is revealing in view of the fact that only four days ago Reuters reported from Teheran that, and I quote: A student-linked Iranian publisher plans to launch English - and Arabic - language versions of a book of caricatures and satirical writings about the Holocaust (...) The book deals with the "big historical distortion" of the Holocaust...."

Chair
"We have a point of order by Iran."

Iran
"Just to remind us that this process is of negotiation, intergovernmental exercise. In no way should the NGO being given the permission to express views should exploit that right...No references to any names. I would kindly ask you to give the proper notice to the respective NGO."

[Ed. Note: One rule for Israel, and another for Iran, in this "anti-racism" conference.]

Chair
"I'd like to remind you briefly that the agreement on participation of NGOs and other observers was you may make comments on issues discussed by the group. I request you to complete your statement briefly..."

Litmann
"I will conclude by saying that...We ask for all to heed the words and the constant acts of a certain President's "direct and public incitement" to annihilate a Member State. Those who drafted the 1948 Convention on the Prevention of Genocide had in memory the long incitement to hatred against the Jews by the Nazi leadership. Few took the Nazis seriously in the mid-1930s and did not foresee that hate constantly repeated would lead to systematic genocide. This Iranian book of caricatures and satirical writings on the Holocaust is more writing on the wall. It should inspire this Durban Preparatory Committee to remain firm."

FRIDAY, JANUARY 23, 2009

The Israel-bashing continues under the banner of a thematic anti-racism conference which addresses not a single other state

    30. Expresses deep concern at the practices of racial discrimination against the Palestinian people as well as other inhabitants of the Arab occupied territories which have an impact on all aspects of their daily existence and prevent the enjoyment of fundamental rights, and renews the call for the cessation of all such practices; (para 93 section 5 streamlined and shortened)

    31. Reiterates that the Palestinian people have the inalienable right to self determination and that, in order to consolidate the occupation, they have been subjected to unlawful collective punishment, torture, economic blockade, severe restriction of movement and arbitrary closure of their territories. Also notes that illegal settlements continue to be built in the occupied territories; (merger paras 127 section 5 modified in accordance with DDPA and 137 section 1 slightly shortened)

    32. Reaffirms that a foreign occupation founded on settlements, laws based on racial discrimination with the aim of continuing domination of the occupied territory, as well as the practice of reinforcing a total military blockade, isolating towns, villages and cities from one another, contradicts the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations; (para 72 section 1 shortened, similar para 9 section 4 deleted)

    33. Reiterates deep concern about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupation, including refugees and displaced persons, and urges respect for international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, and calls for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region; (merger paras 136, 138 section 1)

    34. Re-emphasizes the responsibility of the international community to provide international protection, in particular from racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, for civilian populations under occupation in conformity with international human rights law and international humanitarian law; (para 139 section 1 shortened)

Syria
"I want to make amendments in conformity with the essence of the OIC contribution to the Durban Review Conference. So second line should read "as well as Syrian nationals of the occupied Syrian Golan" and delete "other inhabitants". Let me repeat: "Expresses deep concern at the practices of racial discrimination against the Palestinian people as well as Syrian nationals of the occupied Syrian Golan.""

Morocco
"...I ask that section on Middle East be added to section 5..."

South Africa
"On behalf of African group we ...support Morocco to have a paragraph on the Middle East in section 5...The issue of Palestine is an important part of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and has important place in the context of this conference and the African Group will continue with consultations with Palestine and other delegations in this regard."

[Ed. Note: There are currently six paragraphs on Israel in the draft outcome document (and none on any other state). In the face of opposition and a call to delete these paragraphs, the strategic response of Arab, Islamic and African negotiators is to call for more offensive paragraphs denouncing Israel.]

Netherlands
"Paragraphs 30-34 are unacceptable to us. It is inappropriate to single out one situation or region as is done in these paragraphs. Many other conflicts are not...As Pakistan said, we realize that in 2001 there is a mentioning as well of the Middle East. We had great difficulties with those paragraphs then and even greater difficulties now, so we request deletion of these paragraphs whether in section 1 or section 5."

Sudan
"We would like to support statement of Pakistan, Palestine, South Africa and all the Arab delegations who have spoken. We underline the importance of maintaining paragraph 30 and indicate our intention to continue formal and informal consultations with Palestine. We address the question of paragraph 29 that speaks of one people, whereas paragraph 30 speaks of several and we underline the importance of maintaining paragraph 30."

[Ed. Note: From human rights authority figure Sudan - mention of Jews in connection with the Holocaust is equivalent to a mention of Palestinians and a denunciation of racist Israel.]

United Kingdom
"We echo points made by Czech yesterday that this is longstanding position and nothing to do with issues raised on para in question. Not singling out country specific situations with has to do with global fight against racism. Attempts to add further paragraphs will cause great difficulty for my delegation, and we appeal to all delegations in that respect. We also note that there a number of fora where these are discussed and we engage fully in those like special sessions and agenda item of HRC."

Switzerland
"...We might be prepared to discuss paragraphs 33 and 34."

[Ed. Note: Switzerland breaks ranks with all other European states and announces it will accept Israel-bashing resolutions.]

European Union
"I just want to recall that all of my general remarks from yesterday [in which I called for deletion] apply to all the paragraphs contained in this subsection."

Indonesia
"...We appreciate Palestine's flexibility - they don't want this issue to be hostage to other delegations in this meeting. Indeed, as we heard arguments from others that we should not single out this issue to this conference, but anyway this is already done in 2001 and this is a Review Conference. That's why it is important to continue what we have done in 2001. The other point is, the pertinent issue is very unique because this is in our view colonialism at the present time and we just keep silent on this and important to discuss in this forum and since Palestine already said preferred not to be hostage and not quantity but quality, I think we can work it out. But deleting the paragraphs from this document is unacceptable to us."

Nigeria
"If you look at the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, paragraph 63, on the matter of Palestine, where the plight of Palestinians under foreign occupation was recognized...All these things if you remember are so timely, even in 2009 when this decision actually took place in 2001, and is still very relevant. How can we then say that there wouldn't be any discussion in 2009 in our review when in fact this is reflected in the document? To say you want nothing on the Middle East in the document, doesn't speak well..."

Denmark
"My delegation finds that despite the mentioning of this issue in the original Durban Declaration and the Program of Action, that a general review conference on racism and racial discrimination cannot and should not focus on just one particular region or on one particular situation especially when other conflict situations in the world - including those where race is arguably a major element - do not feature in the current outcome document...No other grave situations are currently touched upon in this document. Therefore, it would simply not be credible to the international community at large if member states in this room only focused on one particular conflict situation."

Libya
"My delegation would like to associate itself with statements from South Africa and OIC, Syria, Sudan. We are astonished at the request of some delegations to delete paragraphs 30-34 although question of Palestine is one of the most important on international scene."

Saudi Arabia
"We continue insisting that this has to be covered by consultations with Palestine."

Cuba
"I join what Pakistan and South Africa said on behalf of the OIC and Africa and other colleagues - Syria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and others on this issue. It is completely unacceptable that we would not discuss the Palestine issue in the context of this text. We have looked at the argument that we can't focus on a single situation. This is completely out of place. This just does not focus on a single situation. It takes into account an aberrant situation that should be addressed with rigor. It is addressed in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and what we are edifying in 2009 is to review the implementation of what was looked at in 2001 and then of course the path ahead for discussion to take place in the future. Paragraph 30 is entirely relevant and should be discussed in the context of this review conference and its mandate. We listened to the statement of our distinguished sister of Palestine and it was constructive. What have we seen by other speakers? Irrationality. So we have spectrum, with constructiveness on one end and irrationality on the other. We endorse paragraph 30 and will work with all delegations and Palestine to look for a consensus- based solution to comply with responsibilities of this conference to address this issue in a way that is updated and takes into account the current situation of Palestine including Gaza."

Algeria
"...We should not contradict ourselves. We are not renegotiating. We are evaluating and making recommendations for new measures and on this issue specifically section 5 should take a stance."

Pakistan
"...The relevance of the situation with this conference subject - that relevance was established in 2001 so we do not need to get into a discussion of whether to renegotiate or not. As a review conference we have to address this issue. I appreciate comments made by Switzerland...As for appropriate language for the OIC, I mentioned it yesterday. It must take into account three things: what we agreed, was it implemented or not, the situation in the last 7-8 years and what future course of action this conference suggests for this conflict. And lastly recommendations in chapter 5. We are ready to consult all partners, all colleagues to come to a mutually agreed solution, will be working on this language from outside this hall and hope to come to consensual language acceptable to all."

Poland
"We echo what was said by the Czech Republic for the EU yesterday on paragraphs 30 and 34. I am not going to repeat all the arguments but we cannot agree to the singling out of one specific region and one country in the outcome document of the review conference and we support the deletion of paragraphs 30-34."

Egypt
"...We were very happy to hear the delegation of Palestine...and we thank Switzerland for their very constructive approach."

Iran
"On the necessity of maintaining paragraphs that are mentioned in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action as highlighted by previous speakers. Conditions and circumstances which led to it being addressed at Durban has not only not been resolved, but aggravated immensely and worsened since then which makes it even more reasonable and essential for us and the Durban Review Conference to address it in its entirety and commensurably. A few delegations argued that it is not a place for country situations, or maybe not focusing on country Palestine and single out situation as such...Just a reminder that the same countries who were of this opinion were themselves advocating and insisting on a situation and maintaining a reference in previous paragraph 29 which address an issue which pertains to a single country and we would have to be consistent."

[Ed. Note: This means the following. The bargaining position of the Organization of the Islamic Conference - just as it was in Durban I - is 'you give me 'Israel is racist' and we'll allow a reference to the Holocaust.']

Iran cont.
"But what makes it even more relevant is that while there are other forms of racism, there are no other forms which contradict the purposes and principles of the Charter of the UN and which constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and a crime against humanity, and really a contemporary form of apartheid, and a serious threat to international peace and security, more than what we are seeing in the occupied land of Palestine. The perpetrators whom we know. So it would be totally out of question to have a conference on racism and not to mention the circumstances and situation in Palestine...We equally are not keen to allow any other delegation to take hostage the interpretation which comes from the Palestinian delegation. Nobody is trying to minimize the dimensions and nature of what is going on in Palestine. .. We have to maintain these paragraphs and equally corresponding paragraphs should be figuring in the chapter 5 of our document."

China
"...The purpose...here is not to single out one country or single out one single geographical area...but however we successfully reached consensus in the 2001 and I believe that...we can find a consensus text..."

Palestine
"...The issue is not whether to have the paragraphs on Palestine or not. This is not the issue. This is not subject to discussion. But we are referring to adequate language that will lead us all to consensus."

Germany
"...I have difficulties to see how the Palestine people is defining itself here as a race. If you speak in paragraph 30 on racial discrimination - and one colleague used the word of apartheid - I do not think we will have a great success in communicating to the outside world, if we work with mixed up notions and definitions. We should reflect on this. Whatever was put in Durban 2001 is not helpful language."

Syria
"The issue of Palestine is not a new issue for the Durban conference and not a new issue when it comes to racism. Indeed, it is the clearest example of racism. Support for most countries here for this subject proves that this is a universal subject, the more so since Palestinian questions effects the entire Middle East and has direct effect on all countries including Syria...In the Durban Declaration there is a full paragraph on Palestine, namely 63...To this we should add that it is an international issue which has been mentioned in 15 and 28 of the Durban Declaration, under the section on racism as a crime against humanity. Moreover at this point in time, when whole world is discussing globalization...after the fall of Berlin wall, we see a new wall has been built in Palestine. I don't know what is the opinion of our colleagues from the EU of the construction of a wall between peoples, erected since Durban 2001. We want to add amendments to the paragraphs."
    Paragraph 31 - add "Israeli" before "occupation" Also "notes with concern" - add "with concern" Final line: reads "in the occupied Arab territories since 1967"

    Paragraph 32 second line: "discrimination with aim .... "territories" should be plural At end add "and violates the basic principles of the international human rights law'"
Cuba
"There should be a reference to what we have seen in recent weeks with regard to the aggression against Gaza. At this time, we don't have any language but we would reserve the right to propose a specific paragraph that would directly reference what happened recently in the aggression against the Gaza strip."

Iran
    "Paragraph 32: add after villages and cities we would like to have... "totally contradicts the purposes and principles of the Charter of the UN and constitutes a serious violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, a crime against humanity, a contemporary form of apartheid and a serious threat to international peace and security."

Then after we would add a paragraph 32 bis. We would like to introduce..."expresses deep concern at the plight of Palestinian refugees and other inhabitants of the Arab occupied territories as well as displaced persons who were forced to leave their homes because of the war and racial policies of occupying power and who are prevented from returning to their homes and properties because of a racially based law of return. It recognizes the right of return of the Palestinian refugees as established by the GA in its resolutions, particularly resolution 194 of 11th December 1948, and calls for the return to their homeland in accordance with and in implementation of this right.""

Jordan
"We support statement of Palestine and constructive dialogue to achieve consensus without deleting paragraphs."

Syria
    "Add to paragraph 33: "reiterates deep concern about the plight of the Palestinian people as well as inhabitants of the other occupied territories under foreign occupation, including the obstruction of the return of the refugees and displaced persons, and the construction of the segregation wall...""

    Add to paragraph 34: "intolerance for Palestinian civilian populations."

******

And as the sun set on UN preparations for this "anti-racism" conference, the very first state to express its satisfaction and address the Chair with thanks was - Iran. Its President, who openly advocates genocide and denies the Holocaust, was pleased by UN preparations for Durban II.

Iran
"We hope we will continue in the same spirit with our work. Thank you Mr. Chairman."

January 27, 2009

January 26, 2009

A UN disgrace Article