It is gratifying that Australia is among the countries that stand firm against the anti-Israel, anti-Western and anti-free speech canards that “Durban 2” promises to bring.
The non-attendance of Australia, USA, Israel, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, Poland and the Netherlands, greatly diminishes the moral significance and strength of any resolution that may emerge from the meeting.
The official press release from Stephen Smith, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs is here.
It includes the statement that “Australia has worked with a range of countries in Geneva these past weeks to promote an acceptable outcome document from the Review Conference and to ensure that the Conference does not see a repeat of the problems that marred the Durban World Conference Against Racism in 2001.
These efforts, the hard work of the Russian Chair and the flexibility shown by many countries, has led to significant improvements in the document to be presented to the Conference on Monday.
Australia, however, cannot support a document which reaffirms the 2001 Durban Declaration and Program of Action in its entirety – as is currently the case. The 2001 Declaration singled out Israel and the Middle East. Australia expressed strong concerns about this at the time. The Australian Government continues to have these concerns. Regrettably, we cannot be confident that the Review Conference will not again be used as a platform to air offensive views, including anti-Semitic views.
Of additional concern are the suggestions of some delegations in the Durban process to limit the universal right to free speech.”
To keep in touch with what’s happening in Geneva for the Durban 2 conference, here are a few useful sites to check out from time to time
Roger L Simon from PajamasMedia who is in Geneva provides a vivid day to day account
UN Watch Blog – good account of specific sessions in Geneva
Eye on the UN – comprehensive site from Anne Bayesfsky