US boycots UN anti-racism summit


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When I first read the above title, I was like WTH?! What may possibly offend the US in an anti-racism summit?

Dying for more info I found an article on the Human Rights Tribune explaining things in detail:

Racism conference undermined before it starts

Juan Gasparini and Carole Vann / InfoSud/HRT – Will Geneva encounter the same disruptions as the South African town of Durban in 2001? That year several NGOs hurled racist and anti-Semitic slogans at the racism conference in the margins of the UN summit. The surge of hate pushed the United States and Israel to walk out of negotiations.

In less than three months thefollow-up Durban summit will open in Geneva (April 20-24), a meeting that has been preceded by a series of preparatory meetings conducted since mid-January under the presidency of Russia’s chief diplomat Yuri Boychenko.

Points of disagreement
The objective is to reach agreement on a proposed declaration that must be adopted during the April follow-up conference. Reduced from 130 pages to 38 during the preparatory meetings, the document includes numerous points of disagreement, among them the new conception of defamation of religion and the question of the Middle East.

For this reason Canada and Israel have already announced that they will boycott the Geneva summit. The United States and Australia have not yet announced their decision. They will not officially participate in the discussions although two American diplomats are closely following the preparatory work.

Half of the European countries are also threatening to leave negotiations if the Islamic countries persist in imposing the concept of defamation of religion or focusing an important part of the final document on the Middle East which has an unbalanced view that condemns only Israel.

Defamation of religion versus freedom of expression
As for defamation of religion, the points of discord are numerous. For many Muslims, Islamophobia is on the point of becoming the new anti-Semitism. But, one European diplomat, asking to remain anonymous, insisted that “defamation of religion must be erased from the document, it is a red line that cannot be crossed because this notion is incompatible with a discussion of human rights.”

For the European Union, freedom of expression must in fact be reinforced at the conclusion of the Geneva summit because “it is an instrument for fighting racism.”

Last September, during a session of the Human Rights Council, Western member nations obtained assurances that the creation of a new norm on defamation of religion would be rejected in the name of freedom of expression.

But the battle has not yet been won. As proof, the former Special Rapporteur on racism, Doudou Diène said last year that “one must also attack the new forms of discrimination such as Islamophobia, which is a particularly serious form like the increase in anti-Semitism or christianophobia.

More political than racial
As for the question of the Middle East, the EU is reluctant to focus on one region of the world, noting that the conflict is of a political nature rather than a racial one.

For Switzerland’s human rights representative, Muriel Berset, the Durban declaration should not mention any particular region. But for the moment, for this matter to be included, it remains to be seen how to formulate it. Reminding that the goal of the Geneva conference is to examine how to put into effect the final declaration and the plan of action adopted in Durban on September 9, 2001, not to modify its parameters.

“One must not reduce discussion to these two points,” warns Muriel Berset. “There are other essential problems, such as slavery, reparations, multiple forms of discrimination against Aids victims, women, the handicapped…” Another point of dispute is the matter of sexual freedom. Where does it figure in the text? Western and Latin American nations are in favor but Muslim states are in opposition. “For you, to be homosexual is a right. For us, it’s an offense,” summarized a Muslim diplomat addressing his Western colleague during the January preparatory meeting.

Anti-Israel demonstrations in Geneva?
The question of migrants who are often the victim of racial discrimination is another subject of disagreement. The EU is very reluctant to condemn the criminalization of illegal immigration while for Latin America and Caribbean, the matter is crucial. To be in better harmony with the increasing restrictions regarding the presence of foreigners on their territory, the EU would like to reduce the number of paragraphs (on the subject) a more general formulation of a few non-binding sentences.

And that’s not all. The EU does not want to hear about financial reparations for its colonial past regarding slavery, nor for racial profiling created by the fight against terrorism. For the EU victims of racism should all be treated on an equal footing. “For us it is not acceptable to make a hierarchy of victims,” said a European diplomat, referring to the effort to introduce a reference to Islamophobia in the final document.

It remains to be seen if Geneva will by the theater of anti-Israel demonstrations as happened in Durban. For Muriel Berset, an important place has been given to civil society. “In Geneva, the NGOs will be part of the process, unlike in Durban where they held their own conference on the margins of the official summit.”

The Swiss diplomat said that “Switzerland is working with Geneva to better welcome NGOs by facilitating their visas, lodging and food at affordable prices. There will also be important measures to increase security because we do not want to be overwhelmed by racist or anti-Semitic activities like those witnessed in Durban.”

Racism conference undermined before it starts | Human Rights Tribune -
What do you think about this summit?

Is it a good thing the US and most of the western countries boycot it?

I fully agree with our absence. I am concerned about what this will mean for the UN though, as well as for our relations (or rivalry?) with the Islamic countries or perhaps with the entire world, cause we seem to be the only ones who value freedom of expression above the sensitivities of religions..

Quite a scary situation if you ask me. We used to be on the forefront of the UN's peacekeeping and humanitarian missions. Now it seems to be held hostage by countries who seem to approve of censorship, intolerance, repression and hatred of everything western or jewish. And the bad thing is, they are in the majority.. :shake:
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Hell, It's about time!
The UN is just the template for a world government. They have no interest in national sovereignty. Either way, this doesn't surprise me about the UN. They are just a waste of time and money.

And to answer your question I think it's good that western countries boycott it. The UN needs to go. Name one good thing it has done that sovereign nations couldn't do themselves?


Registered Member
If all men were not racialists. If all men loved each other enough to deny a religion that calls for harming others. If all men were wise. Then the UN could work bringing humans together. But as man is now- it won't work. There must be a dramatic change in the people, not just a government.