Boycott Hits UN racism forum


New Member
Mar 22, 2009
According to BBC a major conference on Racism has been hit by the boycott of the many nations.

The link and the report from BBC follows herewith:

Boycott blow for UN racism forum
Protesters carry a banner in Geneva
The racism conference is due to start on Monday at the UN's European HQ

A major UN conference on racism looks to be in disarray as more countries confirmed they will not take part.

Australia and the Netherlands joined the US, Israel and Canada in boycotting the Geneva talks. The UK is sending a delegation, but no senior official.

The move is over concerns about anti-Israel and anti-Western bias. Iran's president, who has denied the Holocaust, is to address the meeting.

The talks are meant to review progress in fighting racism since a 2001 forum.

That conference, in Durban, ended in acrimony when Arab countries tried to define Zionism as racism.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said she was "shocked and deeply disappointed" by the boycotts.

"A handful of states have permitted one or two issues to dominate their approach to this issue, allowing them to outweigh the concerns of numerous groups of people that suffer racism and similar forms of intolerance to a pernicious and life-damaging degree on a daily basis all across the world... ," AFP news agency quoted her as saying.

The Pope spoke out in favour of the conference, saying it was an opportunity to fight discrimination and intolerance.

"We ask for firm and consistent action, at national and international level, to prevent and eliminate any form of discrimination and of intolerance," he said.


Less than a day before it is due to get under way, the five-day Durban Review Conference is being overshadowed by political wrangling between western and Muslim nations.

Regrettably, we cannot be confident that the conference will not again be used as a platform to air offensive views
Australian government statement

The draft final declaration has been causing much heated debate.

It has been watered down, with all references to Israel and the Middle East removed.

However, at the request of Middle East nations, it still contains a clause about the incitement of religious hatred.

Many Western countries see this as a curtailment of free speech.

They are also uncomfortable with the presence of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.

He is the only major leader to accept an invitation to the forum, which he will address.

He has in the past described the Holocaust as a myth, and many UN member states don't feel they should be present if he does this again, says the BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva.


The US state department's confirmation of a boycott late on Saturday was followed by declarations from other western nations.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a welcoming ceremony in Tehran
Iran's president is due to address the conference on Monday

"Regrettably, we cannot be confident that the review conference will not again be used as a platform to air offensive views, including anti-Semitic views," said a statement from Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith.

The Netherlands declared on Sunday it would not be a party to any attempt for the conference "to be abused for political ends and attacks on the West," Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said.

A meeting of EU representatives has been called for Sunday evening to evaluate the group's stand on attending, Reuter news agency reported.

However the UK will send a delegation to the conference, but without a high-level official.

It has indicated its diplomats will leave the hall if President Ahmedinejad repeats his attacks on Israel, says our correspondent.

Human rights groups and UN diplomats are dismayed that what should an important event has descended into politics, she adds.


Devil's Advocate
Senior Member
Apr 21, 2009
The Middle Eastern nations need to get out from the medieval times and into the 21st century. Pushing their own narrow political and religious agenda seems to be the norm with them at international conferences. Inserting a clause about "inciting religious hatred" at a conference about racism? And loony Mahmoud seems to be at it again. He has a penchant for going off at tangents and spouting his ideological nonsense at summits which have been convened for far constructive purposes. Hopefully, someone more sensible and constructive becomes Iran's President in the upcoming elections, and we see Iran move from a state on the fringes of the international community to one that plays an important strategic role in keeping with its unique geographical position between the Middle East and South Asia.


Member of The Month JULY 2009
Senior Member
Mar 7, 2009
I hear that the Prime Minister is in with more than a fair chance... Some of my better informed friends tell me that Ahmedinijad's popularity is dipping and that's why he's having a lot of frequent speeches, public appearances etc. to shore up his image...

All the extra West Bashing, religion talking etc is due to the fact that he wants to impress his local voter base as having taken up the problems of the Islamic world to the top forums of the world and to shore up his votes...

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