I’m still not done with the Philadelphia Inquirer; this column from Claudia Rosett of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies appeared on Monday. In it, she decries what is being called “Durban II” due to take place next year, which is a follow up to the 2001 World Conference on Racism held in Durban, South Africa.
As Rosett tells us…
So far, Durban II is shaping up to be at least as vile as Durban I, and possibly worse. The U.N. has come up with a 20-member executive planning committee chaired by Libya, has Cuba as its rapporteur, and includes such bastions of official intolerance as Russia, Pakistan and Iran (which, along with its record of supporting terrorism, threatening the existence of Israel, and hosting one of the preparatory meetings for Durban I, has experience organizing such hate-fests as its 2006 Holocaust cartoon contest).(And by the way, please allow me to ask again why we extended diplomatic relations to Libya if we were only going to continue vilifying them. I never quite understood that.)
So nasty are the portents that Canada recently did the right thing and took the lead in announcing that rather than lend any legitimacy to this outrage by taking part, the Canadian government would boycott Durban II.
In response to the boycott by Canada and Israel, as noted here…
The "Durban 2" anti-racism conference can still be salvaged, despite recent decisions by Israel and Canada to boycott the gathering, according to David Harris, the executive director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC).This link takes you to more information on the Human Rights Council, telling you some of what they’re up to, including the following…
Visiting Israel as part of his organization's Board Of Governors' mission, Harris told Haaretz that "we can't afford to declare 'Durban 2' lost without more focus on diplomacy, especially toward the European Union countries and others influenced by them."
The fact that the conference is to be organized by the UN Human Rights Council, chaired by Libya, with Cuba as vice-chair, and that its two preparatory meetings are scheduled for Pesach and Yom Kippur, gave little reassurance that the next conference, whose venue has yet to be decided, will be any different from 2001.
The Human Rights Council this morning continued its discussion with the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances, the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.I’m only providing this information to let you know that real-world issues are “on the table” with these people. Whether they can reach a consensus on anything or issue formal recommendations is another story, though, I realize.
Among the issues raised during the interactive discussion with the Special Procedures were those pertaining to State complicity in addressing cases of torture, the voluntary trust fund for victims of torture, compensation to victims of torture and ill-treatment, legal frameworks for enforced disappearances, the right to truth, national efforts to combat all forms of violence against women and children, the gender perspective in combating acts of torture, rape as an act of torture and the link drawn between torture and sexual violence, the ratification of the Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and female genital mutilation.
And I’m not going to defend anyone who turns a gathering of nations such as this into an excuse to bash one individual or country in particular without any opportunity to present grievances or have them addressed. However (as the post title indicates), I’m sick and tired of watching people who purport to represent us saying, “oh, we don’t like you, so we’re just not even going to pretend you exist” (something about the Obama campaign to me which is so heartening, freeper mud-slinging notwithstanding, is his notion of actually talking to people and countries first before we decide to drop bombs on them, as reasonably intelligent adults should).
And as long as I’ve mentioned one of the candidates running for president, here’s a link to a story where Hillary would "lead a boycott of the conference should current efforts to rein in the forces of hatred fail" (again, I think you sit down and try to talk first before you go storming out the door, and from Condi Rice’s response to Norm Coleman, I don’t think Bushco even cares anyway since they mercifully will be gone by the time Durban 2 takes place).
Besides, I don’t think it’s fair for anyone to say that the first Durban conference was nothing but a waste considering the timing of the conference; it was held from August 31st to September 8th (and I would say that a whole bunch of things changed three days after its conclusion).
Finally (as I always note whenever I have anything to say about a Rosett column), it should be pointed out that the author belongs to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. For the purposes of transparency, it would be nice if the Inky told you that this group is hardly what you would call a bunch of impartial observers, but since they don’t, I’ll link to more info on them here.)