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Thursday, June 16, 2011 The decision by the Obama administration not to participate in the World Conference Against Racism, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, also known as Durban III, is both unwise and shortsighted and demonstrates again abandonment of its leadership role on this global issue. The US Human Rights Network reaffirms its plans to participate in Durban III and urges the United States to reconsider participation in this critical conference.

 

In justifying the decision, administration officials stated that the previous two Durban conferences had become platforms for intolerant and anti-Semitic views held by some participants, and that even showing up for Durban III would be tantamount to supporting those views. That position, however, assumes that the U.S. and other nations have no ability to influence any of the many possible outcomes at the conference and therefore should not try. “Leadership requires engagement,” says Kali Akuno, USHRN co-director. “Failure to participate because some people may hold objectionable opinions is to avoid the responsibilities of leadership.”

 

The administration’s decision raises serious concerns about its commitment to racial justice, as the Durban Process is one of the few international mechanisms designed to combat racial discrimination. While the administration offered assurances that the U.S. remains committed to the global fight against racism at home and abroad, no one has suggested a concrete alternative to Durban.  Pulling out of the conference may be an easy and expedient way to temper political criticism at home and abroad, but without some alternate strategy in place, the gesture is a hollow one at best.   

 

The conference, scheduled to be held in New York City on September 22, commemorates the 10-year anniversary of the first Durban conference against racism. The Durban process is intended to assess and advance the implementation of the measures established by the Durban Declaration and Program of Action, which was adopted by the 2001 conference. “The Durban Process breaks new ground in addressing the structural roots of racism and racial discrimination, and provides the most comprehensive framework yet created for addressing the ongoing ills of this social malaise,” says Akuno.

 

Durban III also seeks to promote the universal ratification and implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), an international treaty ratified by the U.S. in 1994. The USHRN has been an advocate of demanding U.S. compliance with the treaty and calls on the Administration to adopt a comprehensive national plan of action to ensure effective implementation of CERD.  The USHRN submitted a comprehensive shadow report in 2008 to the U.N. committee that monitors compliance with CERD by signatory states and will coordinate civil society shadow report submissions for the 2012 review of U.S. compliance.

 

The USHRN strongly supports and will fully participate in Durban III. The Network will be hosting a number of educational and advocacy activities during the conference to promote positive outcomes, highlight the Year of People of African Descent, and press for full compliance and implementation of CERD. The Network strongly encourages the Obama Administration to reverse its decision not to attend and to make all efforts to demonstrate its full commitment to combating racial discrimination and xenophobia in the United States and throughout the world. 

 

From: KA <kaliakuno@gmail.com>


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Replies to This Discussion

 

 

"The Network strongly encourages the Obama Administration to reverse its decision not to attend and to make all efforts to demonstrate its full commitment to combating racial discrimination and xenophobia in the United States and throughout the world. "

 

While Obama bombs Libya back into the stone age, Yemen, and continues to ignore Haiti in it's time of need after the devastation of being earth quaked and Clinton, central banked, supports other imperialist actions towards Africa and other non white Nations in support of the US INC Empire who seeks world domination, why would you even want such trash to attend and profess to support justice and non discrimination when their actions say otherwise?

The United Nations is a sham. why not just come on out and call a spade a spade?

 

 

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