Preparing for Durban II
In September 2001, the United Nations held an international conference in Durban, South Africa, with the declared purpose of combating racism. Tragically, the conference and its noble causes were hijacked by an organized campaign of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hatred, causing the US and Israel to walk out. Other democracies, UN officials and human rights leaders denounced the ugly bigotry.
On April 20-24, 2009 in Geneva, the UN will host a follow-up conference with the declared purpose of evaluating progress on the commitments reached at Durban in 2001. Headed by Libya, the preparations for the Durban Review Conference, also known as Durban II, already show signs of following in the steps of its discredited predecessor.
This regularly updated page offers key information and analysis from the original 2001 conference and its 2009 sequel.
Preparing for Durban II
Regional Preparatory Meetings
Brasilia (June 17-19, 2008): Outcome document
Abuja, Nigeria (August 24-26, 2008): Outcome document
OIC (Sept. 25, 2008): Contributions
Asian Region (Oct. 10, 2008): Contributions
EU (Oct. 13, 2008): Contributions
Council of Europe (Feb. 4, 2009): Contributions
Durban I: What Went Wrong?
Eyewitness Accounts and Analysis
- Tom Lantos, The Durban Debacle: An Insider's View of the World Racism Conference at Durban, The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Vol. 26.1, Winter/Spring 2002.
- Joelle Fiss, The Durban Diaries. Dramatic account from daily diary of a young European student activist at the 2001 conference.
- Irwin Cotler, Durban's Troubling Legacy One Year Later: Twisting the Cause of International Human Rights Against the Jewish People, Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, Vol. 2, No. 5, 20 August 2002.
- Irwin Cotler, The Disgrace of Durban — Five Years Later, National Post, September 12, 2006.
Official Governmental and Non-Governmental Declarations
July 2001 Draft Declaration, Final Preparatory Meeting -- Proposed language included the following provisions:
“The (holocausts/Holocaust) and the ethnic cleansing of the Arab population in historic Palestine and in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo must never be forgotten.” (par. 29)
“We affirm that a foreign occupation founded on settlements, its laws based on racial discrimination, with the aim of continuing domination on the occupied territory, as well as its practices which consist of reinforcing a total military blockade, isolating towns, cities and villages under occupation from each other, totally contradict the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and constitute a serious violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity and a serious threat to international peace and security.” (par. 30)
“We express our deep concern about practices of racial discrimination against the Palestinians as well as other inhabitants of the Arab occupied territories which have an impact on all aspects of their daily existence such that they prevent the enjoyment of fundamental rights, and call for the cessation of all the practices of racial discrimination to which the Palestinians and the other inhabitants of the Arab territories occupied by Israel are subjected.” (par. 60)
“We are convinced that combating anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and [Zionist practices against Semitism] is integral and intrinsic to opposing all forms of racism and stress the necessity for effective measures to address the issue of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and [Zionist practices against Semitism] today in order to counter all manifestations of these phenomena.” (par. 62)
“The World Conference recognizes with deep concern the increase of racist practices of Zionism and anti-Semitism in various parts of the world, as well as the emergence of racial and violent movements based on racism and discriminatory ideas, in particular, the Zionist movement which is based on racial superiority.” (par. 63)
“We take note of and express our determination to eradicate any and all manifestations of anti-Arab bias and discrimination, and in particular recognize that negative stereotyping contributes to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.” (par. 65)