Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Durban Review Conference

I've been in Geneva all week, and managed to spend some time at the Durban Review Conference on Monday. Much of this disaster could have been avoided. For starters, those countries that boycotted the Conference - Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Israel and the US - provoked an impossible situation. See the press conference that the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General delivered on Monday: http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/7BE4F998E3B50A31C125759E006475BC?opendocument. As the High Commissioner explains, last Friday they agreed upon an outcome document, but then didn’t participate anyway. This must have seemed like a trick to those who made compromises on the final text. There was a quid pro quo: reach agreement on a final text in return for unanimous participation. So all of this set the stage for Ahmedinijad’s speech on Monday. The BBC have provided a full translation: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8010747.stm. It is vintage Ahmedinijad. I’ve heard many saying it is full of Holocaust denial and anti-semitism, so it is well worth reading the actual speech before making up one’s mind about what he actually said. The real pity here is that he was the only head of State who came to speak to such an important conference. Barack Obama should have been here. This was the opportunity for the United States to reclaim its position within the international human rights system. Unfortunately, on this issue at least, it seems to have simply continued a policy that was first developed by the Bush administration.

The outcome document was formally adopted yesterday:

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DRCAdoptsFinalOutcomeDocument.aspx

4 comments:

Seána Moran said...

I found Ahmedinijad's speech very inspiring and not one bit anti-semitist.

Seána Moran said...

I found Ahmedibijad's speech very inspiring. Thank you for posting it.

Charlie H. Ettinson said...

I'm curious to know what about his speech inspired you.

I also wonder how you don't see the Holocaust being described as a "pretext" or something that was "exploited," as though the whole thing were some kind of a ploy, to not be antisemetic.

Similarly, the contention that somehow Zionists control the world is little more than a modern iteration of the age old antisemtic claims of Jewish global domination plots.

These are just two examples of the hate in this speech. Never mind that these impassioned denunciations come from a man who has called for the destruction of a UN member state and who pursues, as a matter of policy, the persecution of religious minorities in his country.

getish said...

I wonder how we failed to understand the very essence of internationlal community and the values up on which it has been established and strife to promote. At least a quick reference to the preamble of UN charter and Art 1 of same makes it clear that human dignity, justice, peace, security are central which shall be based on universal cooperation and freindly relations amon the nations of the world. UN is the forum for nations to negotiate on this values in a peaceful and mutual ways. It is place for resolving differences and formulating viable actions. It is not meant for propagation of one's ideological perceptions and religious beliefs. That can be carried out at home. But at UN nations meet for common values or interests. If not, it undermines the organisation's purposes enshrined under the charter. it is posible to criticise each other but not in such a way that promotes division and antagonism. in light of this I am of the view that the Iranian president's speach is out of context and filled with his own ideological haterage, but I do not think it is the view of Iranian nation. More importantly, it missed the purpose of that meeting and thus a failure.

Getahun
LLM student