Archive for the ‘Reports from Geneva’ category

Holocaust Denial Yes, Clown Noses No

April 21, 2009

Being a head of state has its privileges. One is the ability to commandeer a global podium and say whatever you want.

If you’re an NGO, not so much. The European Union of Jewish Students, and perhaps other Jewish student groups, have lost their accreditation to the Durban Review Conference for standing up to Ahmadinejad in the corridors of the Palais des Nations yesterday. (The now-famous clowns who protested in the assembly hall were actually from the French Union of Jewish Students, but that distinction seems to have been lost on the conference secretariat.)

Signs, placards, and costumes are apparently against UN rules. Of course, so is calling for the eradication of another member state, but no one seems particularly eager to enforce that one.


Mahmoud’s Day in the Spotlight

April 20, 2009

The bad news:

  • Ahmadinejad still thinks that Israel shouldn’t exist, and that the world should urgently act to eradicate it. These views led at least a handful of delegates to applaud.
  • He was allowed to speak first at the general debate — “to accomodate the schedules of visiting dignitaries,” wink, wink — making him into a keynoter of sorts.

The good news:

  • He was greeted by hundreds of protestors.
  • Most or all of Europe — and, reportedly, Morocco — walked out. And his speech was roundly condemned as the nasty bit of hate-mongering that it was.

What Durban II Should Have Been…

April 20, 2009

Kudos to the crowd over at AJC’s UN Watch, which was a key part of the diverse coalition that put together yesterday’s Geneva Summit for Human Rights, Tolerance, and Democracy — a gathering of dissidents and human rights activists speaking out for dispossessed minorities around the world.

Among the key speakers: Ashraf El Hagog, the Palestinian doctor who was imprisoned, tortured, and sentenced to death in Libya for supposedly infecting children with AIDS. UN Watch had previously brought him in to speak at the UN — and this happened.

Also, check out Zvika Krieger’s reflections over at The New Republic.

Fighting the Ban on “Defamation of Religions”

March 25, 2009

Reuters reports on a campaign underway in Geneva, in which AJC’s UN Watch is centrally involved, to combat efforts to ban the “defamation of religions” at the Human Rights Council, and in the Durban process.

Breaking: New Draft Outcome Document

March 17, 2009

The new draft outcome document of the Durban Review Conference — the text that has been the subject of all those negotiations, and which has up until now contained all of the offensive language — has just been released. Check it out below. On a quick glance, the references to Israel and the Palestinians, and to “defamation of religions,” seem to have been removed. AP report here.

View this document on Scribd

Report from Geneva: EU on Durban

March 3, 2009

AJC’s UN Watch has a round-up of what various EU nations said — and didn’t say — about Durban in today’s high-level Human Rights Council session. Germany, along with Luxembourg and Portugal, is rather mild.