Durban Watch

Between Durban II and III

EYEontheUN ALERT - May 10, 2009

The UN Revisionism of Durban II Begins:
The Dangerous UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has just released a document called "Anti-racism conference outcome document - what it actually says." As the title itself indicates, High Commissioner Navi Pillay is on the warpath to redeem her reputation as Secretary-General of a racist anti-racism conference. Not by recognizing Durban II and its outcome as a human rights travesty, but by deliberately misrepresenting and distorting "what it actually says."

Dangerous Pillay Falsehood Number 1: New OHCHR release, May 7, 2009

"Contrary to a common misconception, the Durban Review Conference and its outcome did not focus on a single issue, conflict or group of people - the Middle East for instance is not mentioned in the outcome document."

Actual Durban II Outcome Document, adopted April 24, 2009

Paragraph 1 of the Durban II outcome document "reaffirms" the 2001 Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) which mentions only the state of Israel and claims Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism. Reaffirming Durban I's Declaration became the number one priority of Islamic and Arab states at Durban II precisely for this purpose.

Navi Pillay, News Conference, held April 24, 2009, on the adoption of the Durban II Outcome Document

"The DDPA includes ... one paragraph which mentions the suffering of the Palestinians ... Palestine is mentioned ... in the DDPA, and the word "reaffirm" carries those paragraphs into this document."

High Commissioner Pillay is fully aware that Durban I and II stand for the false accusation that the Jewish state is racist, and that every Durban mention of the words "victims of racism" is intended to include Palestinian victims of Israeli racism.

Pillay deliberately picked out and congratulated participants on this very result on the final day of the conference as the Durban II outcome was adopted.

But two weeks later the dangerous High Commissioner compounds the Durban II outrage by launching a campaign to claim "it actually says" the opposite.

Dangerous Pillay Falsehood Number 2: New OHCHR release, May 7, 2009

"...the Durban Review Conference...did not focus on a single issue, conflict or group of people..."

Reality Check

The Durban Review Conference was opened on April 20, 2009 by Holocaust denier Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who said "The word Zionism personifies racism that falsely resorts to religion and abuses religious sentiments to hide their hatred and ugly faces." He also claimed that Israel was created on "the pretext of Jewish sufferings." Ahmadinejad was the only head of state handed a global megaphone by the UN at the Durban Review Conference. Navi Pillay and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon refused to join the 26 states that walked out during this repugnant display of antisemitism.

The only statements of NGOs condemning "a single issue conflict or group of people" during the Durban Review Conference that were never interrupted once by any participant or the Chair of the conference were all those who condemned Israel and the self-determination of the Jewish people. (Arab Commission for Human Rights, Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Al-Haq and Law in the Service of Man, Ittijah: Union of Arab Community Based Organizations, Federacion de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promocion Defensa De Los Derechos Humanos, International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC) International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR), International Organization for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD), Independent Jewish Voices, Nord-Sud XXI and Union of Arab Jurists, Indian Movement Tupaj Amaru and World Peace Council (WPC), Habitat International Coalition (HIC), Canadian Arab Federation, International Islamic Federation of Student Organization (IIFSO)).

Dangerous Pillay Falsehood Number 3: New OHCHR release, May 7, 2009

The Durban outcome document "represents the latest global consensus on how to fight all forms of racism."

Reality Check

The Durban II document does not represent a "global consensus." Ten leading democratic states boycotted the Durban Conference: United States, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Poland, the Czech Republic (currently head of the European Union) and Israel.

Dangerous Pillay Falsehood Number 4: New OHCHR release, May 7, 2009

The Durban II declaration is "a carefully balanced and yet meaningful outcome enshrining a common aspiration: to defy racism in all its manifestations and work to stamp it out wherever it may occur."

Reality check

The Durban II conference actively prevented consideration of specific manifestations of racism and deliberately refused to identify such manifestations where they occur. The silence of its outcome on egregious manifestations of racism - including discrimination against Tibetans, ethnic cleansing of Berbers and Bahais, genocide in Darfur, slavery victimizing migrants and minorities in the Arab world, and the murder and expulsion of Jews from Arab lands - is deafening.