Iran headed up preparations for the equally biased follow-up Durban II Review Conference in 2009. Several delegates, mostly from the European Union, walked out during Ahmadinejad’s speech. Most delegates, however, not only remained for the speech, but applauded at its conclusion. Fortunately, the United States, along with Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Poland, had boycotted the whole conference, rightly sensing in advance that something like this would happen.
It is this litany of lies that the Durban III conference has decided to reaffirm. The common theme running through the litany is that Israel’s “neo-colonialist” Zionist regime should be isolated by the international community for committing alleged “racist crimes” against the “oppressed” Palestinian victims.
Nevertheless, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay voiced their strong support for this perversion of human rights and platform for the world’s worst human rights abusers, which has characterized the whole Durban process from the start.
With a straight face, Navi Pillay actually said that the Durban I Declaration and Programme of Action, as well as the outcome of the 2009 Durban II Review, provide a “comprehensive framework to address the scourge of racism.” Did she bother to take a look at the list of dictatorships that were given a forum to spew their hate and hypocrisy? Does she really consider, for example, that the racist Arab regime of Sudan, which has embarked on a campaign of murdering, ethnically cleansing and enslaving millions of indigenous black Africans – a campaign that continues today – is committed to addressing the scourge of racism? Apparently the organizers of the Durban III conference thought so, since Sudan was given the honor of addressing the conference on behalf of the Group of African States. Since Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir was facing arrest on warrants issued for five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape) and two counts of war crimes (pillaging and intentionally directing attacks against civilians), it would have been a bit risky for him to make a personal appearance.
The honors went to Rahamtalla Mohamed Osman Elnor, Sudan’s undersecretary, ministry of Foreign Affairs, who complained about — what else — the transatlantic slave trade. He said that the African Group for whom he spoke welcomed the actions undertaken to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the end of the transatlantic slave trade and the establishment of a permanent memorial at United Nations Headquarters.
The Sudanese undersecretary also threw in apartheid, colonialism and what he called the “new and emerging forms of slavery such as human trafficking.”
If only the United Nations would have had the moral courage to have invited to the Durban III podium, instead of Bashir’s mouthpiece, a heroic Sudanese refugee and survivor of child slavery in Sudan. Kudos to Anne Bayefsky for organizing a conference of sanity and truth across the street on the same day as the Durban III circus, at which this Sudanese refugee, Simon Deng, was given an opportunity to speak.
At the counter-Durban III conference, titled “The Perils of Global Intolerance: The United Nations and Durban III,” Mr. Deng told of how he was nine years old when he was enslaved by an Arab family. He was forced to work around the clock, beaten, and subject to harsh living conditions for three years. Mr. Deng was not alone. Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese have been kidnapped and sold into slavery. Here was a living demonstration of the “emerging forms of slavery such as human trafficking,” perpetrated within Sudan by the racist Arab government and population, which Sudan’s undersecretary so piously condemned at the Durban III conference.
Mr. Deng managed to escape permanent enslavement, but thousands of other blacks in Sudan remain in slavery. The UN, he said, knew about the Arab enslavement of black Sudanese and the Arab government’s policy of apartheid against the black population, but chose to do nothing. His fellow blacks and other persecuted minorities were abandoned by the UN, Mr. Deng said, in favor of giving the racist Arabs a global platform to persistently push their false accusations of Israeli racism against the Palestinians.
By ignoring the true victims of racism, such as Simon Deng, and providing a platform to the racists themselves to excoriate Israel and other democracies, the United Nations has forfeited whatever moral authority and legitimacy it may have had at its founding.