Australia pulls out of Durban 3

August 23, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
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Australia has joined in deciding today not to attend the Durban 3 Conference to be held in New York next month.

The Conference, designed to combat racism has been heavily criticised for promoting with Israel especially targeted.

The following statement was made today by a spokesman for the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

“Australia has decided not to attend the High Level Meeting on the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action [Durban III – New York 22 September].

·         Australia remained involved in the early stages of consultations on the High Level Meeting in order to oppose attempts to endorse extreme language or explicit references to the text of the Durban Declaration.

·         But we have not been convinced that the High Level Meeting will avoid unbalanced criticism of Israel and the airing of anti-Semitic views

o   This occurred at the original Durban World Conference on Racism (2001) and the subsequent Review Conference (2009).  Australia did not attend either conference.

·         Nor would Australia be able to support a meeting that chooses to reaffirm the original Durban Declaration, as appears likely.”

The United States, Canada, Israel, Czech Republic, Italy and The Netherlands have already announced they will not be attending Durban III.

The President of the The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Dr Danny Lamm, welcomed the announcement.

He said: “This is a most welcome decision, and one which we have been urging the Federal government to take since November last year. Since that time we have written to and met with both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, and we have said that Australia should take no part in a process that remains irredeemably corrupted by racism and by attacks on Israel’s legitimacy as the State of the Jewish people”.

He added:  “For too long, the UN Human Rights Council, like its predecessor the UN Human Rights Commission, has had its agenda hijacked by the world’s dictatorships which enjoy an automatic majority on the UN General Assembly and many of its organs.   At its founding, the UN was entrusted with the sacred task of securing global peace and justice and promoting human rights but these noble aims have been turned on their head by the decade-long saga of Durban I, II and III.  The tolerance and promotion of antisemitism that featured during Durban I and II have made a hollow mockery of the claim that the Durban process has been about fighting racism”.

Dr Lamm praised Prime Minister Gillard for Australia’s decision to withdraw from Durban III saying: “When a respected middle power democracy like Australia decides to stay away from as high profile an event as Durban III it sends a powerful message to the international community that the UN Human Rights Council and related organs of the UN General Assembly need to clean up their act”.

AIJAC’s Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein added: “ It has become very clear from the preparatory activities that the bias and antisemitism that marred the UN World Conference against Racism 2001 (‘Durban I’) and the review conference held in Geneva in April 2009 (‘Durban II’) are to be affirmed and celebrated, rather than repudiated, at the conference in September. The Australian government has therefore made a principled and courageous decision, as it did at Durban II in 2009, in joining a number of other democratic countries in refusing to be a part of a conference which, sadly, appears certain to make a mockery of the noble principles it is ostensibly dedicated to progressing.”

Comments

3 Responses to “Australia pulls out of Durban 3”
  1. Neil says:

    Who is Gillard scared of?

    What is Gillard scared of?

  2. Paul Winter says:

    Gillard is to be congratulated for her decision that Australia will not attend the Durban III racist antisemitic farce. Congratulations too to the Jewish leadership which must have presented sound reasons for Australia not to attend that mock trial of Israel. One can now be a little more relaxed about Australia’s vote next month on Palestinian statehood, which would by-pass agreements and negotiations. While Rudd’s friendship to the Australian Jewish community is beyond question, his quest for raising Australia’s status in international affairs is misguided if the price for that prestige is the selling out principles that underpin any meaningful status.

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