Durban Review Confernce: Oral Intervention on Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance

Islamic Human Rights Commission

23 April 2009

Durban Review Conference.
20 – 24 April 2009.
Agenda item 9.
Mr. President,

IHRC welcomes and respects all work done by the working group in its task of implementation and follow-up of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

IHRC remains angered that many provisions that relate to racism and racial discrimination were removed due to the threat of walk-out by the EU states. This resistance is highlighted in reported deliberations of the working group, and is mirrored by a demonization of the Durban Conference and all its accomplishments and achievements in other fora.  In particular this vilification has targeted anti-racist work at the Durban Review Conference and subsequently has become a racist conference itself, in particular support for the plight of Palestinians has been eroded in this way.

Mr. President, Racism is evil. This behavior does not behove the leaders of any state, neither is it an appropriate response to the achievements of the Durban Conference, neither is it acceptable in a world working towards the elimination of racism and racial discrimination.
IHRC is further concerned that the themes of the Durban Review Conference against racism has not demonstrated their commitment to fight racism. There has been an exponential increase in anti-Muslim discrimination, Islamophobia and other forms of prejudice in the wake of recent international events. Such prejudice has manifested itself in the security discourses of many countries.  

IHRC is one of many organizations that has undertaken rigorous academic research into causes and effects of such narrative.  In survey work undertaken in 1999 in the UK, 35% of Muslims stated they had faced anti-Muslim discrimination, with women and the young reporting much higher rates.

 In 2004, that figure had risen to 80% with little or no gender, age and regional variation.  The implementation of aggressive security policies and laws, effectively amounted to the implementation of racist laws.  The government narrative that has targeted almost exclusively the Muslim community, is effectively incitement to racial and religious hatred.

Mr. President, the UK is not alone or exceptional in this, and we urge that all future intergovernmental deliberations on implementation after the Durban Review Conference reflect these concerns, and support the work done by civil society in pursuit of equality and justice.  

Thank you very much.
The Islamic Human Rights Commission is an NGO in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

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