Oral Intervention: Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia , follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

Islamic Human Rights Commission

17 June 2009.

Human Rights Council.
11th Session. 17 June 2009.
Agenda item 7.

Mr. President.
Among the Islamic Human Rights Commission’s (IHRC) chief concerns about the recent Durban Review Conference (DRC) was that it failed effectively to address serious, contemporary manifestations of racism, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance that have emerged or intensified since 9/11. These include Islamophobia, racial or religious supremacism, and discriminatory “anti-terrorism” measures such as the “stop and search” policy recently introduced in the UK.

The IHRC found the Durban Review Conference dominated by unproductive, often acrimonious, wrangling that too often prevented substantive civil society engagement on issues that included state sponsored racism, occupation, discriminatory practices and their spurious justifications.

For the victims of such policies, many of whom traveled from across the globe to attend the DRC, this proved to be a deeply disappointing, indeed often shocking, experience. For many of those who followed the DRC’s proceedings from afar they appeared to be the product of political agendas that routinely fail to address constructively issues whose resolution is critically important to us today.

The fault lines exposed during the DRC mirrored familiar global divisions on a host of important issues ranging from the economic dominance of Western states, the shameful and lasting legacies of colonialism and imperialism, the failure of those states most able to do so to secure just and lasting resolutions where these are entirely possible, and the persistence of unchallenged xenophobia and discrimination across ethnic, religious and cultural boundaries worldwide.

Mr. President, in conclusion we regret that we found the DRC little more than a self-defeating exercise in self-censorship, the primary effect of which was to guarantee the continuation of unacceptable policies and attitudes in the interest of maintaining the global status quo.

Thank you.

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

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