vendredi 19 novembre 2010

Durban III: Anne Bayefsky critique la position de la Belgique

Source: The Jerusalem Post (US doesn't support UN plan to hold Durban III next year)

Les Etats-Unis ont déclaré qu'ils s'opposent à la tenue d'une nouvelle conférence.  Ce sera vraisemblablement le cas du Canada, de l'Autralie, d'Israël et d'autres pays.  L'Allemagne hésite, n'ayant pas participé à Durban II.  Ce n'est visiblement pas le cas de la Belgique qui entend jouer le rôle de "chef de file des 27 pays de l'Union européenne" - et se félicite d'avoir joué un rôle positif dans Durban II, ce que conteste Anne Bayefsky, "a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and an expert on international human rights law". Extraits:
"Belgium is taking a lead role in negotiating on behalf of the 27 European Union countries regarding Durban III. [...]

When asked whether Germany planned to participate in the Durban commemoration event, a German Foreign Ministry spokesman told the Post via e-mail on Tuesday, “The discussions on the annual UN anti-racism resolution and the questions raised in this connection regarding a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Durban conference are currently still taking place in New York. Therefore, the outcome of the discussions cannot be anticipated at this time.”

The spokesman added, “The federal government is working actively within the UN against the misuse of the justified issue of the international fight against racism. This is also its position during the current negotiations.”

After considerable public pressure and media editorials urging Germany to boycott Durban II in 2009, then-foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pulled the plug on Germany’s involvement in the Geneva Durban II event at the eleventh hour. [...]
In an e-mail to the Post on Wednesday, Bart Ouvry, a spokesman for Belgium’s Foreign Ministry, wrote, “On racism issues Belgium has very often acted as ‘burden sharer’ for the European Union within the UN. This implied that we negotiate with other UN member states in both Geneva and New York on behalf of the European Union.”

Ouvry added, “Specifically on Durban the EU has strived to avoid any unhelpful country references in the conclusions of the meeting, including references to Israel. At the first Durban review conference in Geneva the EU largely succeeded in avoiding this with the exception of a general reference to the Declaration and Plan of Action adopted in Durban. The impact and importance of the review conference cannot be compared to a fullfledged UN conference such as the Durban Conference.”

Asked about Belgium’s refusal to pull out of the Durban II event, Ouvry noted that “Belgium as other EU member states left the room during President Ahmadinejad’s speech at the Durban review conference. A limited number of EU member states decided to leave the conference as such in the course of the proceedings. Belgium and a large majority of other EU member states decided to continue its participation.”

Ouvry declined to comment on the EU position on Durban III, saying, “I believe negotiations are still under way and I cannot comment on final Belgian or European positions at this stage.”

Responding to Ouvry’s statements, Anne Bayefsky told the Post that some EU states had opted not to participate in Durban II before Ahmadinejad speech.  Those states, Bayefsky said, “did not leave only as a consequence of Ahmadinejad. They pulled out in advance because they recognized that the Durban Declaration and its followup processes harm the cause of combating racism...”

As for Belgium’s continued participation at Durban II, “That’s what majorities have said to minority victims of xenophobia and racism throughout the ages – the numbers do not make it right,” Bayefsky said.
She challenged the Belgian Foreign Ministry’s assertion about the EU “striving to avoid any unhelpful country references,” criticizing Ouvry sharply and saying it was “like referring to reaffirmation of Durban Declarations as just a small ‘exception,’ not the only thing that matters since it was the Durban Declaration which singles out and demonizes Israel.”

Bayefsky said Belgium was pushing the Durban Declaration against Israel and the commemoration event.

If Belgium sought to fight racism, “there would be no need to make any mention of the Durban Declaration. They could adopt a statement against racism and refer to the convention on the elimination of all forms racial discrimination,” she said.

Leaders of pro-Israel NGOs said they were appalled at the UN’s planned commemoration of Durban.

“Any celebration of the UN’s notorious 2001 Durban conference, the iconic symbol of globalized anti-Western and anti- Israel hatred, is nothing but a political provocation designed by barbarous regimes to project their own atrocities onto the world’s democracies,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch.
“UN Watch is urging the US and the European Union to mobilize as many countries as possible to oppose the Durban III resolution,” Neuer said. “If it’s only tyrants, misogynists and racists supporting the event – like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan – it will carry little legitimacy worldwide.

“While we pray that this circus of propaganda will not take place, its proponents should recall that their 2009 Durban II conference in Geneva was defeated. Major countries pulled out, embarrassing the organizers,” Neuer said. “Fearing that even more would pull out, the UN dropped all express references to Israel or to the so-called ‘defamation of Islam.’

“Significantly, UN Watch and its allies brought thousands of activists to a series of megaevents that seized the public space, captured international attention and reframed the narrative,” he said. “The real champions of human rights owned the streets. If Durban III is convened, UN Watch will once again take vigorous action to thwart the attempt of anti-democratic, anti-Western and anti- Israel forces to recreate the hatred of the 2001 Durban conference in the streets of New York.”

“Tragically, Durban I emphasized the exploitation of universal human rights as a weapon against Israel,” said Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “The [conference’s] NGO forum allowed 1,500 organizations, led by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, to hijack the rhetoric of moral values, marking the initiation of lawfare, BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions], and ‘apartheid’ language that stands in stark contrast to an environment needed for peace in the region.”

Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman told the Post that the UN’s prospective commemoration was “outrageous and shameful.
“The Durban conference notoriously became a vehicle to promote anti-Semitism and incite hatred against Israel,” Foxman said, adding that Durban I “marked the start of a new chapter in the efforts to use UN forums and mechanisms to vilify Israel and the Jewish people.
“It represented a colossal failure of the international community to prevent the perversion of a UN conference designed to address the scourge of racism, discrimination, xenophobia and all forms of intolerance,” Foxman said.

The UN, he said, “should not continue to bring attention to the Durban hatefest."

“No amount of follow up conferences will be able to paper over the damage caused by that anti-Jewish spectacle,” Foxman said.

Vidéo: Statement by Anne Bayefsky at Durban II

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