Here is another story you probably wont see in the Mainstream Media. Today in Geneva, Chairman Libya and committee members including Iran,Cuba, Pakistan and Russia began its planning meetings on Durban II, the second UN Conference on Human Rights (all countries known for NOT protecting Human Rights).
The 2001 World Conference Against Racism conference in Durban, South African also known as Durban I, was an anti-Semitic hate-fest (UN World Conference Against Racism Ramps up for More Jew Hatred).
The follow-up conference (next year) is being planned by a committee which includes “human rights activists” such as Libya and Iran and is shaping up to be worse than the last one. This one will not only be an Anti-Semitic hate-fest, but will try to declare “islamophobia” a crime against humanity.
Groundwork to Be Laid for Controversial ‘Durban II’ Conference
By Patrick Goodenough
CNSNews.com International Editor
April 21, 2008
(CNSNews.com) – Under the chairmanship of Libya, diplomats begin a meeting in Geneva on Monday to prepare for a major United Nations conference on racism that looks set to split the international community.
Due to be held during the first half of 2009, the conference commonly referred to as “Durban II” aims to review steps taken in the campaign against racism since the South African port city hosted the first World Conference Against Racism in 2001.
From Apr. 21-May 1, a preparatory committee (“prepcom”) bureau comprising representatives of 20 countries, acting under the aegis of the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC), will discuss the agenda, dates and venue for the 2009 event.
Of immediate interest for observers is the issue of the venue. South Africa has offered once again to host the conference, but some Western countries are pushing for it to be held instead in one of the main U.N. host cities, New York or Geneva, in the hope of avoiding a rerun of some of the problems that plagued the 2001 event.
Durban I was marked by strong disagreements over issues including attempts to equate Zionism with apartheid and calls for the U.S. and other Western nations to pay reparations for slavery. The conference and a parallel NGO gathering eventually degenerated into what critics described as an anti-Israel “hate-fest,” and the Bush administration withdrew its already-downgraded delegation in protest. The Israeli representatives also walked out.
South African President Thabo Mbeki told a press conference in New York last week that there was still no “finality” on the venue for Durban II. A draft prepcom document released on Friday says that if no formal venue proposal is received by the end of the current two-week session, then the venue will be either Geneva or New York.
Venue aside, critics are concerned about the oversight role of the HRC, which has come under fire for frequent attacks against Israel instigated by the dominant and historically anti-Israeli Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) bloc. They are also suspicious of the participation of some specific countries in the preparatory process that are leading critics of Israel and themselves have poor human rights records, including Iran, Cuba, Pakistan and Russia, along with Libya as the chair.
Apart from the expected focus on Israel, Durban II will likely also see the OIC continue its campaign to have freedom of expression restricted when it comes to anything deemed to criticize or blaspheme Islam. OIC members argue that “Islamophobia” is a contemporary form of racism.
“There is an increase in racist violence and xenophobia in many parts of the world as well as of defamation of religion, the rejection of diversity and Islamophobia or incitement against Islam,” Iran said in a summarized written submission ahead of this week’s Durban II prepcom meeting.
Canada, which as an HRC member has played a key role in attempting to counter the agenda pushed by OIC members and their allies, has announced that it will boycott Durban II.
The United States has not gone that far yet, but has decided not to take part in the prepcom process, and has symbolically refused to fund both the HRC and its preparations for Durban II, (by withholding a proportional share of its overall 2008 funding for the U.N.)
Over recent months, State Department officials have referred to the need for the U.S. to be “confident” that Durban II will not be a repeat of the original conference before it agrees to participate.
But in an apparent hardening of the U.S. stance, Ambassador to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad said in a speech to U.S. Jewish organizations earlier this month, “We will not participate unless it is proven that the conference will not be used as a platform for anti-Semitic behavior.”
According to Heritage Foundation scholar Brett Schaefer, the difference is an important one.
“Using the word ‘proven’ establishes a higher bar than that used in previous statements,” he said in a web memo.
“Diplomacy is based on language, and this formulation shifts the onus of participation from a U.S. judgment call to one based on clear evidence provided by the conference organizers to the U.S. that Durban II will not be a repeat of Durban I.”
Noting the role of Iran and Libya in setting the agenda, and the expected participation of NGOs that were involved in the Durban I debacle, Schaefer said it was difficult to see what proof could be provided that Durban II would “not be used as a platform for anti-Semitic behavior.”
In his Apr. 8 speech, Khalilzad also took aim at the HRC, saying that in some ways it was worse than the body it replaced in 2006, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
The establishment of the HRC was intended to reform the U.N.’s human rights activities, which over the years had drawn fire for the presence on the commission of some of the world’s most abusive regimes, and the steps they took to block censure and protect each other.
Khalilzad said although the international community appeared to have agreed on the need for a more credible human rights body that would take effective action when faced by crises, “what we have found is that, in some ways, the HRC is less able to take affirmative action, but is more willing to focus on Israel-bashing exercises.”
With 26 of the HRC’s 47 seats earmarked for African and Asian countries, the OIC and its allies effectively dominate the body.