Durban II or Durban 0

“Arab NGOs voice their concern over deleting any reference to Palestine in the paper submitted to the United Nations Durban Review Conference which is a follow-up of the 2001 UN anti-racism conference held in Durban, South Africa in 2001, one month before holding Durban summit 2 this April 20-24, in Geneva. This step (of deleting any reference to Palestine) was unfortunately approved by official Arab negotiating delegations in Geneva including the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine at the UN office in Geneva “which wants to bring the review conference to success” after a campaign of boycotting spearheaded by Zionist circles and influential Israeli lobbies. However, this free concession did not make withdrawing countries, the United States, Canada, Italy and Israel return. In a stark contrast, the suggested paper calls in article 64 for “the Holocaust must never be forgotten” and “urges all UN members to implement -related- UN General Assembly’s resolutions”.

Durban 1 Conference article 63 states “We are concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupation”, and acknowledged that it ”We recognize the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent State”, and article 64 “calls for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region” and article 65 stated that countries participating in the conference “We recognize the right of refugees to return voluntarily to their homes and properties in dignity and safety, and urge all States to facilitate such return”, and article 66 affirms that “the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of minorities, where they exist, must be protected”. All these articles collectively highlight the strong presence of Palestine in the conference although it doesn’t include all dimensions of the cause.

The current retreat is unjustified in any way. The Palestinian plight still exists and is even aggravating with building a racist separation barrier which is condemned by the international justice, increasing methods of racial discrimination and checkpoints and daily war crimes and crimes against the humanity committed by the Israeli military occupation forces which reached its peak during the aggression on Gaza.

There is no any serious indication that there is a change in the Israeli racial policy through complying with international legitimacy and ending the suffering of the Palestinian people. The rise of the far right, the repeated calls for cleansing the Hebrew State from any non Jewish element and the talk about dismissing Palestinian Arabs in the government and Knesset of the occupation country, all these pose a threat to international security and peace.

Signatory NGOs urge Arab and Muslim negotiators, African and Latin American countries and freedom supporters all over the world to rescue Durban II anti-racism conference through fighting occupation, not satisfying Israel and its allies. The role of the Arab negotiator is to improve Declaration and Action Program of Durban 1, not to retreat from the gains even if they are meager.

The Arab negotiators still have a precious chance to defend the Arab right in fighting Israeli racism and support principles of justice, equality and dignity for human beings. Geneva will host on April, 2ns, consultations over the document to be followed by a second review meeting next week, April 6-9 before the last preparatory session on eve of the Review Conference on April, 15-17″.

Arab Commission for Human Rights ACHR
Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
Al Mizane Center for Human Rights, Gaza
Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies
Ittijah Union of Arab Community Based Organizations, Haifa, Palestine
Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights, Gaza
Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Cairo
El Nadim Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence
Egyptian Association Against Torture
Al Khayam Center for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, Lebanon
Hisham Mumbarak Legal Center, Egypt
Hisham Mumbarak Legal Center, Assuan Chapter, Egypt
Association for Human Rights Legal Aid, Aswan, Egypt
AMAN Network for the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Violence and Torture in the Middle East and North Africa
National Center on Domestic Violence Against Women and Children
The National Organization For Human Rights in Syria
Committees for the Defence of Democratic Freedoms and Human Rights in Syria (CDF)
Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression
Coordinating Committee for Trade Union and Workers Rights and Liberties, Egypt
Association des Défenseurs des droits de l’homme dans le monde arabe, Paris
Egyptian Foundation for Freedoms
Union of Arab Jurists
Arab Lawyers Union
General Arab Women Union
General Union for Women of Iraq
Arab Lawyers Association, London
Human Rights Network in Iraq
Irada Association for Women
Association of the Victims of the US occupation
Iraqi Diplomats Association
Torture in Egypt Net
Sada pour les droits et les libertés, Paris
The Women Forum for Research and Training, Yemen
Voice for the Voiceless Network, Yemen
Association Voix Libre pour les droits de l’homme
Rencontre culturelle Euro-Arabe
Justicia Universalis
Bahrain Human Rights Society
Land Center for Human Rights, Egypt
Asharaf for Media and Research
The Gulf Institute Washington
New Woman – Egypt
Nour Institute for Women
Woman and Society Association
The National Cultural Center For Youth Yemen