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Durban II Report

This is a guest post by UJS Students in Geneva

Over the course of the week we’ll be sending in our updates from the Durban Review Conference in Geneva:

On the first day of the Durban II conference in Geneva the headlines are all about President Ahmedinjad and his upcoming speech tomorrow. That in itself is the core of the issue – what kind of conference on human rights allows itself to be hijacked by one of the world’s worst human rights abusers.

The question for those countries who are yet to join the growing boycott, and especially for the UK, is why they’ve so far been unwilling to take a strong stance. With the USA, Canada, Israel, Australia, Italy, Holland and Germany already boycotting the conference it’s time for our government to also stand against the hate that is already brewing.

On his departure from Tehran the Iranian President gave the following statement:

“Racism is the great problem of the world and the front-mover of racist ideology is the Zionist regime.

Zionists have dominated the main media and monetary centres of the world to plunder nations by threats, smearing campaign and psychological war, he said.

Today the behaviour of the US officials and Europe’s parties and governments are dominated by Zionists, they have monetary and financial systems of the world and have kept nations in poverty and direct their money and fortune to their pockets.”

Ahmadinejad is to deliver a speech at the conference to voice Iran’s views regarding combat against racism. He has outlined his views on racism clearly above and the overwhelming opinion out in Geneva is one of surprise that more countries haven’t walked out but especially the UK which was being looked at as a leading country. Within the UK the government would strongly condemn that kind of language and on the international stage they can go even further.

The conference has become such a farce that the question on boycott has become “why not?”

Gene adds: The Guardian reports:

Dozens of diplomats including Britain’s UN ambassador in Geneva walked out of a speech by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this afternoon when the Iranian president accused Israel of being “a totally racist government”.

The address at a UN conference on racism in Geneva was disrupted by protesters who heckled Ahmadinejad after he branded Israel a “cruel and oppresive racist regime”.

Television pictures showed the French seat among the many left empty. Representatives of all attending European nations also left. They had been split over whether to attend amid fears Ahmadinejad and other delegates could ignite a new row over the Holocaust or Israel’s right to exist.

Shouldn’t this travesty of a conference be brought to an early end?