BERLIN – The governments of France and New Zealand have announced that they will
boycott this Thursday’s UN-sponsored Durban III anti-racism commemoration event
because its planning has been plagued by anti- Semitism and racism.
process “became more and more racist,” and “just like the Brits” the French
foreign minister will not be attending it, a French diplomat told The Jerusalem
from Paris on Saturday.
Poland not sending official delegation to Durban III
British Government confirms withdrawal from Durban III
The aims of the anti-racism conference has
“moved away from its original purpose,” the diplomat said.
Minister David Cameron said last week that 2001’s Durban I conference saw “open
displays” of “deplorable anti-Semitism,” and it would be “wrong” to participate
in such events.
“That’s why the UK will play no part in this conference,”
“France will not participate in the meeting planned in New
York on the 22nd of September commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Durban
conference against racism,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement sent
to the Post.
“We remember that the previous meeting [in Geneva in 2009]
led to an unacceptable diversion of the principles and values of the fight
against racism. For this reason, as other partners of the European Union, France
will not attend the commemoration.
“France reaffirms its attachment to
the universality of human rights and its determination to fight against
France remains strongly determined to pursue the collective
efforts undertaken within the UN and other international bodies to fight
efficiently against all forms of racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racial
discrimination,” the statement continues.
In a statement issued to Post
on Friday, New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully said: “We remain
concerned that the commemoration of the 2001 Durban Declaration could reopen the
offensive and anti-Semitic debates which undermined the original World
Conference [in Durban in 2001]. For these reasons, we have decided not to
“New Zealand is fully committed to combating racism and we
agree the UN should lead discussions on the elimination of racism. That is why
we engaged constructively in the preparatory discussions in New York. However,
in the end, the text is not one that we could support,” McCully
“New Zealand joins a growing list of countries, including the
United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Bulgaria,
Israel and the USA, that have also indicated they will not participate in the
“New Zealand did not participate in the Durban Review Conference
held in 2009,” the statement continued.
Twelve of the UN’s 193 member
nations have now pulled out of Durban III – those listed above as well as France
and the Czech Republic.
Poland announced last week that it will not send
a high-level delegation but has not formally withdrawn its
Meanwhile, the Post has learned that Denmark, Romania and
Finland plan to participate.
The Hungarian government is waiting for a
unified European Union position, which is nonexistent at this stage because of
the expanding list of EU countries that have pulled out of Durban III.
spokeswoman for the Danish Embassy in Berlin told the Post on Friday that
Denmark “is expected to participate in Durban III.”
In an e-mail to the
Post on Friday, Gabriela Butu, a spokeswoman for the Romanian Embassy in Berlin,
wrote, “Romania participated in both the 2001 World Conference against Racism
(Durban) and 2009 Durban Review Conference (Geneva), based on its strong
commitment to support international efforts in the field of combating
discrimination, in all its forms and manifestations, as well as on its
determination to contribute to the global fight against the scourge of racism,
xenophobia and intolerance.
Zoltán Kovács, the Hungarian government’s
international spokesman, told the Post on Friday, “Hungary shares the deep
concern that despite many efforts, the objective to eradicate racism, racial
discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance has not yet been attained.
Together with many partners, the European Union will remain engaged in efforts
at the national, regional and international level to fight racism in an
effective and sustainable manner.
“Therefore, Hungary participated in the
2001 Durban conference and also attended the 2009 follow-up event. As far as
participation in the commemorative GA meeting is concerned, Hungary will consult
its EU and NATO allies,” Kovács said.
Anu Pulkkinen, a spokeswoman for
the Finnish Embassy in Berlin, wrote via e-mail to the Post: “Minister of
Finance Jutta Urpilainen will participate in the event marking the 10th
Anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action, aimed at promoting
tolerance and eliminating racism... At the same time Finland finds it
regrettable, though, that the Durban process has been politicized in the course
Anne Bayefsky, an expert on international human rights law and
lead organizer of a counter-conference (www.durbanwatch.com
also to be held on Thursday in Manhattan, on “The Perils of Global Intolerance:
The United Nations and Durban III,” told the Post, “New Zealand has done exactly
the right thing by pulling out of Durban III and refusing to legitimize what is
clearly a campaign by extremists inside the UN to undermine Israel, democracy
and the genuine protection of human rights.”
Bayefsky continued, “It is
time for other democracies – Hungary, Greece, Spain – that are serious about
human rights and object to anti-Semitism and the ages-old demonization of the
Jewish people, to get off the fence.
Join the leaders of the Free World
like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and so many more – and say no
to Durban III. No more should it be acceptable for anti-Semitism to be espoused
and championed in the corridors of power, let alone at the United Nations which
was built on the ashes of the Jewish people.”