IINZ welcomes NZ withdrawal from Durban IV

September 10, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Four more countries have joined the growing list of nations boycotting the ceremonies to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Durban declaration. They are Italy, Croatia, Cyprus and New Zealand.

NZ Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta

This brings the total number of nations boycotting the event to sixteen. The others are Bulgaria, France, Israel, the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, the UK, Hungary, Austria, Netherlands and the Czech Republic

The countries currently boycotting the ceremonies have all pointed to concerns that there will be a repeat of such antisemitic and anti-Israel activities. There were at previous anniversaries of the Declaration.

A spokesperson from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in said today, Thursday, that his country, “remains strongly committed to combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,” “Consistent with our long-standing position, New Zealand will not attend the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration conference in New York on 22 September 2021.”

According to the Croatian news service Vecernji, that nation has decided not to take part in the Durban IV conference due to what it described as continued, “antisemitic attitudes and the linking of conferences to anti-Israel propaganda and the promotion of intolerance.”

The U.N. will hold the official ceremonies for the opening of its 76th session this month. Events have also been planned at the same time for the “celebration” of the 20th anniversary of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, and of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action.

The Durban Declaration was supposed to be a condemnation of racism and antisemitism. But as is usual with the U.N., many delegates at the conference tried to turn it into another declaration equating Zionism with racism and accusing Israel of genocide. And there were even Holocaust deniers in attendance.

When the French announced that they would not be participating, French President Emmanuel Macron’s office issued a statement saying, “Concerned by a history of antisemitic remarks made at the UN conference on racism, known as the Durban Conference, the President of the Republic has decided that France will not participate in the follow-up conference to be held this year.”

When, in June, the U.K. announced its decision not to participate in the event a government spokesperson stated, “Following historic concerns regarding antisemitism, the UK has decided not to attend the UN’s Durban Conference anniversary event later this year.”

The Israel Institute of New Zealand has welcomed the news that New Zealand will not be attending ‘Durban IV’ on 22 September, convened by the UN General Assembly to mark the 20th anniversary of the Durban Conference.

The inaugural 2001 Durban Conference was marked by ugly displays of intolerance, antisemitism, and baseless claims against the Jewish state, contrary to its stated purpose of combatting racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. The Durban process was used to promote racism, intolerance, antisemitism and Holocaust denial, and to deny Israel’s right to exist.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been reported as saying “New Zealand remains strongly committed to combatting racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Consistent with our long-standing position, New Zealand will not attend the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration conference in New York on 22 September 2021”.

New Zealand has taken a strong stand in past years in opposing the antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment that has become synonymous with Durban.

In 2011 Prior to Durban III, Foreign Minister Murray McCully explained, “When the World Conference Against Racism was held in Durban, South Africa, seven years ago it was extremely contentious. It gave rise to expressions of anti-Israeli views which undermined its focus on genuine anti-racism initiatives… I am not satisfied that the wording emerging from preparatory discussions will prevent the Review Conference from descending into the same kind of rancorous and unproductive debate that took place in 2001.”

Hundreds of concerned New Zealand citizens wrote to Foreign Minister Mahuta urging her to take a stand against racism by not attending the events. We are dismayed that it took so long for her to make a decision but we are pleased that the government has come to the right decision in refusing to support the flawed Durban process.



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