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NEW YORK – As the United Nations holds a 10th anniversary commemoration of the notorious 2001 Durban, South Africa, conference this September in New York, 25 non-governmental organizations will hold a parallel summit next door.
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The NGO Human Rights Summit, organized by Genevabased UN Watch in partnership with an international civil society coalition, will take place September 21-22 at the start of the UN’s annual General Assembly meetings.
The September gathering commemorating the Durban conference is being boycotted thus far by Israel, Canada and the United States. Boycotters have decried the original Durban summit’s vehement expression of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment. The UN Watch summit this September, in contrast, is meant to serve as a counterpoint to the Durban commemoration.
The international coalition of NGOs, led by UN Watch, “will hold a
parallel summit of human rights dissidents, pro-democracy and
anti-racism activists,” Hillel Neuer, UN Watch director, described the
event. “When Iran, Syria, China, Cuba, Zimbabwe and other repressive
governments present a politicized agenda to shield their own abuses,
human rights activists will instead focus attention on the victims most
in need of global attention, including those protected under the Durban
Declaration’s Article 2 prohibition against discrimination based on
political or other opinion.
“The NGO summit will demand action on urgent situations of genocidal
racism as well as the massacre of peaceful protesters and the targeting
of pro-democracy advocates around the world,” Neuer said. “Victims of discrimination and gross human rights abuses from Sudan,
China, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Zimbabwe and elsewhere
will testify about their persecution.”