A Declaration of War by Islamic States

On Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

Durban II Draft Targets Israel, Free Speech, Counter-Terrorism

The UN has just released the latest draft of what is being planned for the outcome of the Durban II Conference. It is a product of behind-the-scenes negotiations. It is nothing short of a declaration of war against modern human rights and fundamental freedoms by Islamic states.

Durban II is now the staging ground for an all-out assault on universal values in the name of the defamation of Islam and the demonization of Israel.

Every state genuinely committed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should refuse to lend any legitimacy to this global campaign to hijack first principles - and stay away from Durban II.

The UN continues to negotiate the Durban II "outcome document" in behind-the-scenes consultations. The closed-door meetings are being conducted in between the sessions that are open to the public. The last public session was in October 2008 and the next will take place in late January 2009. The so-called "Intersessional open-ended intergovernmental working group to continue and finalize the process of negotiations on and drafting of the outcome document," is operating through Yuri Boychenko of Russia, the "Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group."

The working group has now revealed the current state-of-play of the Durban II outcome document. Its latest formulation has an opening explanation which claims to "preserve" "all themes and messages" of Durban II and to "remove" from the previous draft any provision "weakening" Durban I's Declaration and Programme of Action.

The "themes and messages" of Durban II, considered as strengthening the UN's "anti-racism" program feature:

1. Demonizing Israel

2. Thwarting the war to end terrorism

3. Limiting freedom of expression

4. Creating the Islamic victim

In addition to the new threats posed by Durban II, the Durban II draft begins: "Reaffirms the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action" in its entirety and the need to eradicate all manifestations of racism..." [emphasis added]

This statement, while seemingly innocuous, accomplishes two things.

(a) The Durban I Declaration asserts that Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism. This is the only country-specific accusation in a manifesto purporting to address international racism and xenophobia. Regardless of the quantity of new vitriol in Durban II's final product, therefore, it will "reaffirm" the mantra of Israeli racism.

(b) At the end of the Durban I conference, a number of states voiced specific reservations to parts of the Declaration. For example, Canada specifically rejected the parts of the document relating to Israel. By reaffirming the Durban Declaration "in its entirety" all those reservations are intended to be erased.

Some specifics of the "themes and messages" of Durban II:

1. Demonizing Israel

The Durban II draft has only one section dedicated to naming only one country as racist - Israel.

It is an entire section called the "Middle East" which includes:


  • "Expresses deep concern at the practices of racial discrimination against the Palestinian people as well as other inhabitants of the Arab occupied territories"

  • "...the Palestinian people...have been subjected to... torture..."

  • "...a foreign occupation founded on settlements, laws based on racial discrimination... contradicts the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations..."

2. Thwarting the war to end terrorism

The Durban II draft contains a series of claims aimed at underming counter-terrorism efforts by tarnishing them with the allegation of racism. They include:


  • "...obstacles hampering progress in the collective struggle against racism and racial discrimination...including...counter-terrorism"

  • "Draws attention to the impact of counter-terrorism measures on the rise of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance..."

  • "Acknowledges that a most disturbing phenomenon is the intellectual and ideological validation of Islamophobia...[W]hen it is expressed in the form of profiling, it hides behind the war against terrorism..."

  • "Urges States to prohibit by law the practice known as racial profiling and profiling based on any grounds of discrimination..., to adopt other necessary measures to eliminate this practice, to provide sanctions for those who violate the law..."

  • "Calls on States to ensure that any measures taken in the fight against terrorism do not discriminate, in purpose or effect, on the grounds of race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, nor on the grounds of culture, religion, belief, names, appearance or language..."

3. Limiting freedom of expression

The Durban II draft contains provisions intended to limit freedom of expression, the heart of a democratic society. They include an attack on the Danish cartoons and any alleged defamation against religious personalities and holy books, as well as a call for a code of conduct for journalists:


  • "Acknowledges that a most disturbing phenomenon is the intellectual and ideological validation of Islamophobia...[W]hen it is expressed in the form of defamation of religions, it takes cover behind the freedom of expression...Believes that...publication of offensive caricatures and making of hate documentaries, would purposely complicate our common endeavours to address several contemporary issues, including the fight against terrorism and the occupation of foreign territories and peoples"

  • "Urges States to take effective measures to address contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and to take firm action against negative stereotyping of religions and defamation of religious personalities, holy books, scriptures and symbols"

  • "Calls for a voluntary ethical code of conduct to be elaborated...in association with the International Federation for Journalists, to address racism in the media and other modern information and communication technologies, while taking into account fundamental issues such as the right to freedom of expression..."

4. Creating the Islamic victim

Religion and religious themes are mentioned in the Durban II draft 62 different times. Islam and Muslim victimhood are the real point of this extraordinary attention, never before occurring in an allegedly "anti-racism" global forum. The contexts are "defamation of religion" - by which is meant Islam - and the hierarchy of victims of xenophobia starting with the Muslim victim, including:


  • "Notes with concern instances of defamation of religions...in particular Islam..."

  • "Acknowledges that a most disturbing phenomenon is the intellectual and ideological validation of Islamophobia..."

  • "A framework is needed to provide guidelines for States - aimed at countering defamation of religions"

Antisemitism and the Holocaust

The Durban II draft also contains two brief mentions of antisemitism, and one provision entitled "Holocaust" which reminds readers that the Holocaust occurred - resulting in the deaths of Jews "along with numerous members of other minorities." It says the Holocaust serves as "a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice."

At the same time, Durban II makes no connection between the demonization of Israel as racist - with all the concomitant effects of political isolation and defeat - and antisemitism today. On the contrary, the lip service paid to the Holocaust and antisemitism is part of a familiar UN strategy of attempting to drive a wedge between Jews and Israel. It began with the UN General Assembly 1975 'Zionism is racism' resolution, and when that resolution was finally rescinded seventeen years later, it adopted the formula for an "anti-racism" Durban agenda.

General Assembly president Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann makes the UN tactic clear. He told the UN on November 24, 2008: "I have a great love for the Jewish people and this has been true all my life. I have never hesitated to condemn the crimes of the Holocaust ...." He then accused Israel of "apartheid," which "must be outlawed," advocating a "campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel."

The time to reject this UN strategy of criminalizing Jewish self-determination is now! It is no longer acceptable to claim concern over the Holocaust and antisemitism while ignoring the demonization of 'racist' Israel and the connection of this false accusation to antisemitism and the murder of Jews in the here and now.

**************

Sections of the Text

A/CONF.211/PC/WG.2/CRP.2

26 December 2008

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MANDATE OF THE WORKING GROUP AS CONTAINED IN

PREPARATORY COMMITTEE DECISION PC.3/9 OF 17 OCTOBER 2008 ENTITLED

"CONTINUATION OF THE PREPARATORY PROCESS FOR THE DURBAN REVIEW CONFERENCE"

Technically reviewed version of the compilation of proposals submitted by delegations at the second

substantive session of the Preparatory Committee under each of the five sections of the draft outcome

document as contained in document A/CONF.211/PC/WG.2/CRP.1 undertaken by the Chairperson-

Rapporteur of the working group

1. Demonizing Israel

SECTION 1:

Review of progress and assessment of implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action by all stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels, including the assessment of contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

A. Sources, causes, forms, and contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (General provisions on DDPA, human rights, human dignity, cultural diversity, multiculturalism, sources, causes, forms, manifestations, political will, obstacles)

1. Reaffirms the DDPA in its entirety and the need to eradicate all manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in all parts of the world, especially in light of developments and challenges that have occurred since the adoption of the DDPA, and to combat those manifestations wherever they occur; (based on para 10 section 1)

...

(Middle East)

30. Expresses deep concern at the practices of racial discrimination against the Palestinian people as well as other inhabitants of the Arab occupied territories which have an impact on all aspects of their daily existence and prevent the enjoyment of fundamental rights, and renews the call for the cessation of all such practices; (para 93 section 5 streamlined and shortened)

31. Reiterates that the Palestinian people have the inalienable right to self determination and that, in order to consolidate the occupation, they have been subjected to unlawful collective punishment, torture, economic blockade, severe restriction of movement and arbitrary closure of their territories. Also notes that illegal settlements continue to be built in the occupied territories; (merger paras 127 section 5 - modified in accordance with DDPA - and 137 section 1 slightly shortened)

32. Reaffirms that a foreign occupation founded on settlements, laws based on racial discrimination with the aim of continuing domination of the occupied territory, as well as the practice of reinforcing a total military blockade, isolating towns, villages and cities from one another, contradicts the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations; (para 72 section 1 shortened, similar para 9 section 4 deleted)

33. Reiterates deep concern about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupation, including refugees and displaced persons, and urges respect for international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, and calls for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region; (merger paras 136, 138 section 1)

34. Re-emphasizes the responsibility of the international community to provide international protection, in particular from racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, for civilian populations under occupation in conformity with international human rights law and international humanitarian law; (para 139 section 1 shortened)

**************

2. Thwarting the war to end terrorism

SECTION 1:

Review of progress and assessment of implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action by all stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels, including the assessment of contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

A. Sources, causes, forms, and contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (General provisions on DDPA, human rights, human dignity, cultural diversity, multiculturalism, sources, causes, forms, manifestations, political will, obstacles)
...

5. Notes that other obstacles hampering progress in the collective struggle against racism and racial discrimination include weak legislation and policies, lack of effective strategies, lack of implementation of international legal framework and commitments, impunity on different grounds - including freedom of expression, counter-terrorism, and national security - as well as an increase in extreme right wing xenophobic political platforms. Hence the need to deal with this menace in all its forms and manifestations with all available tools at our disposal; (merger paras 189, 336 section 1);

...

(Racial profiling, counter-terrorism)

22. Draws attention to the impact of counter-terrorism measures on the rise of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including the practice of racial, ethnic, national and religious profiling; (para 34 section 1)

(Freedom of religion, incitement to religious intolerance, hatred, or violence, defamation of religion, freedom of expression)
...

26. Notes with concern instances of defamation of religions, which manifests itself in generalized and stereotypical association of religions, in particular Islam, with violence and terrorism, thus impacting negatively on the rights of individuals belonging to these religions, including Muslim minorities, and exposing them to hatred and discrimination. Such situations are further aggravated by the imposition of restrictions on the profession of religions, including restrictions on the construction of places of worship and their surveillance; (merger paras 2, 42, 43, 45, 46 section 1)

...

B. Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

...

(Ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities)
...

53. Acknowledges that a most disturbing phenomenon is the intellectual and ideological validation of Islamophobia. When it is expressed against migrants it takes the form of religious-ethnic or religious-racial tones, when it is expressed in the form of defamation of religions, it takes cover behind the freedom of expression and when it is expressed in the form of profiling, it hides behind the war against terrorism. Believes that association of terrorism and violence with Islam or any other religion, including through publication of offensive caricatures and making of hate documentaries, would purposely complicate our common endeavours to address several contemporary issues, including the fight against terrorism and the occupation of foreign territories and peoples; (para 45 section 1)

...

SECTION 5:

Identification of further concrete measures and initiatives at all levels for combating and eliminating all manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in order to foster the implementation of the DDPA and to address challenges and impediments hereto, including in light of developments since the adoption of the DDPA in 2001

...

Action at the national level ...

(Racial profiling, counter-terrorism)

157. Urges States to prohibit by law the practice known as racial profiling and profiling based on any grounds of discrimination recognized under international human rights law and the DDPA, to adopt other necessary measures to eliminate this practice, to provide sanctions for those who violate the law, and to ensure effective redress for victims; (para 101 section 5 slightly modified)

158. Calls on States to ensure that any measures taken in the fight against terrorism do not discriminate, in purpose or effect, on the grounds of race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, nor on the grounds of culture, religion, belief, names, appearance or language, and to ensure that non-citizens are not subjected to racial or ethnic profiling or stereotyping; (merger paras 84, 235, 34 section 1 and 52 section 3)

**************

3. Limiting freedom of expression

SECTION 1:

Review of progress and assessment of implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action by all stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels, including the assessment of contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

...

B. Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

...

(Ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities)
...

53. Acknowledges that a most disturbing phenomenon is the intellectual and ideological validation of Islamophobia. When it is expressed against migrants it takes the form of religious-ethnic or religious-racial tones, when it is expressed in the form of defamation of religions, it takes cover behind the freedom of expression and when it is expressed in the form of profiling, it hides behind the war against terrorism. Believes that association of terrorism and violence with Islam or any other religion, including through publication of offensive caricatures and making of hate documentaries, would purposely complicate our common endeavours to address several contemporary issues, including the fight against terrorism and the occupation of foreign territories and peoples; (para 45 section 1)

SECTION 5:

Identification of further concrete measures and initiatives at all levels for combating and eliminating all manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in order to foster the implementation of the DDPA and to address challenges and impediments hereto, including in light of developments since the adoption of the DDPA in 2001

...

Action at the national level

...

(Freedom of religion, incitement to religious intolerance, hatred, or violence, defamation of religion, freedom of expression)

159. Urges States to take effective measures to address contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and to take firm action against negative stereotyping of religions and defamation of religious personalities, holy books, scriptures and symbols; (para 100 section 5)

...

The international legal framework

(International legislation, soft law, code of conduct)
...

218. Calls for a voluntary ethical code of conduct to be elaborated, in association with the International Federation for Journalists, to address racism in the media and other modern information and communication technologies, while taking into account fundamental issues such as the right to freedom of expression, and to eliminate the projection and perpetuation through the media and new technologies of negative images and stereotypes of African people and people of African descent; (para 96 d) section 5)

**************

4. Creating the Islamic victim

SECTION 1:

Review of progress and assessment of implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action by all stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels, including the assessment of contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

A. Sources, causes, forms, and contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance ...

(Freedom of religion, incitement to religious intolerance, hatred, or violence, defamation of religion, freedom of expression)
...

26. Notes with concern instances of defamation of religions, which manifests itself in generalized and stereotypical association of religions, in particular Islam, with violence and terrorism, thus impacting negatively on the rights of individuals belonging to these religions, including Muslim minorities, and exposing them to hatred and discrimination. Such situations are further aggravated by the imposition of restrictions on the profession of religions, including restrictions on the construction of places of worship and their surveillance; (merger paras 2, 42, 43, 45, 46 section 1)

...

B. Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance ...

(Ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities)
...

53. Acknowledges that a most disturbing phenomenon is the intellectual and ideological validation of Islamophobia. When it is expressed against migrants it takes the form of religious-ethnic or religious-racial tones, when it is expressed in the form of defamation of religions, it takes cover behind the freedom of expression and when it is expressed in the form of profiling, it hides behind the war against terrorism. Believes that association of terrorism and violence with Islam or any other religion, including through publication of offensive caricatures and making of hate documentaries, would purposely complicate our common endeavours to address several contemporary issues, including the fight against terrorism and the occupation of foreign territories and peoples; (para 45 section 1)

...

SECTION 5:

Identification of further concrete measures and initiatives at all levels for combating and eliminating all manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in order to foster the implementation of the DDPA and to address challenges and impediments hereto, including in light of developments since the adoption of the DDPA in 2001

...

Action at the national level ...

(Freedom of religion, incitement to religious intolerance, hatred, or violence, defamation of religion, freedom of expression)

159. Urges States to take effective measures to address contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and to take firm action against negative stereotyping of religions and defamation of religious personalities, holy books, scriptures and symbols; (para 100 section 5)

...

The international legal framework ...

216. Stipulates that national laws alone cannot deal with the issue of defamation or negative stereotyping of religions. A framework is needed to provide guidelines for States - aimed at countering defamation of religions; (merger paras 142, 146 section 5)

**************

Antisemitism and the Holocaust

SECTION 1:

Review of progress and assessment of implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action by all stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels, including the assessment of contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

A. Sources, causes, forms, and contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
...

(Freedom of religion, incitement to religious intolerance, hatred, or violence, defamation of religion, freedom of expression)
...

24. Recognizes with deep concern the global rise in the number of incidents of intolerance and violence against members of religious minorities in various parts of the world motivated by Islamophobia, anti-Arabism, anti-Semitism and Christianophobia; (merger paras 44, 56, 57, 135 section 1)

...

B. Sources, causes, forms, and contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (Holocaust)

29. Affirms that the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of one third of the Jewish people, along with numerous members of other minorities, will forever be a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice; recalls again that the Holocaust must never be forgotten; (merger paras 181, 333 section 1)

...

E. Strategies to achieve full and effective equality, including international cooperation and enhancement of the United Nations and other international mechanisms in combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance ...

(OHCHR, UN system, international and regional organizations, international cooperation, technical assistance or cooperation)
...

100. Welcomes the important initiatives to combat anti-Semitism, hate crimes, racism, xenophobia and discrimination as well as intolerance and discrimination against Muslims; (para 337 section 1)

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