AJC Decries UN Vote on Durban Follow-up Conference

Dec 24, 2010, 12:44 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, Dec. 24, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC expressed profound regret that the UN General Assembly voted to convene a special meeting next year commemorating the tenth anniversary of the discredited Durban conference on racism. The world gathering is slated to take place at the UN in New York in September, just days after the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York City and Washington, DC.

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"The global campaign against racism has been hijacked by countries that have little regard for human rights and whose primary goal is to advance highly political agendas," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "To bring this traveling show of hatred to New York is scandalous and will not advance the noble UN mission of defending and protecting human rights."

AJC, the global advocacy organization, had urged governments around the world to reject the proposed "Durban 3" meeting. The resolution to hold it next year was adopted by a vote of 104 to 22, with 33 abstaining.

The original Durban conference, held in 2001 in South Africa, became a forum to attack Israel. That singular focus eclipsed discussions and action on the problems, many of them severe human rights violations, of bigotry and racism elsewhere around the world.

The Durban Review Conference, held in Geneva last year, reaffirmed the contentious final documents of the 2001 conference and, at the insistence of Muslim states, introduced the concept of "defamation of religions," a euphemism for the curtailment of freedom of speech, a fundamental human right and an essential component of democracy.

Ten countries, including the United States and Israel, did not attend the 2009 Review Conference. The U.S. delegation walked out of the 2001 conference amid an outpouring of anti-American, anti-Western and anti-Semitic rhetoric -- most heatedly in a UN-sponsored companion forum for non-governmental organizations.

"AJC has long been a pioneer in combating hatred and racism worldwide, and we have been proud supporters of the UN since its founding," said Harris. "But the sponsors of the Durban conferences are not in sync with the UN mission, and they do not seek to advance the cause of the struggle against racism. Instead, they will do whatever they can to promote harmful political agendas."


SOURCE American Jewish Committee