For a short time The United Nation's Council of Human Rights once again came into focus. At the Council's June session, and on behalf of a NGO, the British historian David Littman intended to read a statement protesting the stoning of women and forced marriages of girls in countries where Shari'a law is practised.
It did not go well because the delegates of Pakistan and Egypt obstructed him by shouting about protocol: "It is an insult to my people's faith to discuss the Shari'a in this forum", said the Pakistani envoy. And his Egyptian colleague seconded: "The Shari'a isn't a matter of discussion here". The Council's Romanian President finally cut off all further discussions of the Islamic "law enforcement" by declaring it irrelevant when debating human rights.
"So, religious feelings can wind up like this", commented Henryk M. Broder about the procedure. "Plainly, one can talk about a 'sneaking Islamization' into public life if it not an insult that one has to restrict oneself in order to live in peaceful coexistence between cultures". But what apparently should be tolerated, says Broder, are "various acts of barbarism to be practiced, such as the stoning of adulteresses, the public hanging of homosexuals and early marriages with child brides, everything seemingly quite in line with the Sharia". And the Council's view is apparently to respect all this "under the label of religious freedom"
The UN Human Rights Council - a subsidiary body of the General Assembly, which does not impose sanctions, but can make recommendations - in June 2006 relieved the 60 years previously established Human Rights Commission of the UN, following increasing criticism : Its resolutions, even the most gory violations by member states and their allies were not rejected or convicted. The former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan finally wanted a replacement for the Commission and facilitated the emergence of the Council. Since its establishment it is in session a bit more frequently and has a few less members, but strongly resembles the former in terms of agenda and procedures.
Officially, the admission criteria are more restrictive, its members should be accountable to human rights of "highest standards" and endorsed by a two-thirds majority and clearly recognizable from "the black sheep". But the majority of council members do mostly what their predecessors already did in the previous model: They are obsessed with Israel, last year alone on 120 occasions and thus twice as often as every other country. In the end its convictions always wind up against the Jewish state.
And now the Council organizes another Durban Review Conference, this time in Geneva, April 2009, some sort of a remake of the badly renowned UN-Anti-racism conference, which took place in the South African city of Durban, September 2001. There - only a few days prior to the 9/11 attack - Israel should be condemned as "a racist apartheid state" - or so was the intention of the participating Islamic countries. The French essayist and author Pascal Bruckner remembers: "They condemned Zionism as equal with Nazism and Apartheid, but also with the 'white rage' which had attempted to 'create a Holocaust of human trafficking, slave trade and colonization in Africa. Israel should disappear completely, its politicians should appear in a Nuremberg-style court and be punished. Anti-semitic caricatures were handed out, copies of Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' were distributed along with ' The Protocols of the Elders of Zion; Under a photo of Hitler one could read that Israel never existed and that the Palestinians would not have payed with their blood if he had been victorious. Some delegates were threatened with violence and some shouted 'kill the Jews'. The climax of this farce was the Sudanese Minister of Justice, Ali Mohamed Osman Yasin, demanding damages for the slave trade, while at the same time his own country shamelessly enslaves people."
They figured out that In the upcoming spring the remake of this tragic comedy will be organized by the Tehran Mullah regime, appointed by the UN. A "Durban 2" conference thus doesn't need to fear the eyes of NGO scrutinizing the UN: with the appointment of Iran to prepare the conference racists will become UN-spokespersons against racism".
The spokeswoman Anne Bayefsky said almost a year ago: "The leading exponents of anti-semitism - be they against individual Jews or the Jewish state as such - are once again given a global platform by the United Nations." The same applies to Libya which holds the preparatory responsibility for the conference: its Qaddafi-prize was given to an outspoken Holocaust-denier like Roger Garaudy.
"It would be a farce - if it wasn't so tragic" wrote Pascal Bruckner, and he added: "Anti-racism in the UN has become the ideology of totalitarian movements meant to advance their own agenda. Dictatorships or notorious half-dictatorships (Libya, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi-Arabia, Algeria, Cuba, Venezuela and so on) adapt to a democratic language and formal legislative standards to counter democracies without questions about themselves." A 'new inquisition' has materialized, according to Bruckner, "which endorses the idea of 'religious defamation' in order to suppress any doubt, especially in Islamic countries."
Therefore Bruckner appealed: "A clear stance is needed in Europe when confronted with this foul play: boycott, plain and simple. Just like Canada decided." It is intolerable "that this lobby of fanatics and tyrants in 2008 - like in the thirties - contains specifically those nations who must be judged by history for not allowing multi-party states and freedom of opinion". By now Bruckner is accompanied by 32 journalists, publishers, scientists and artists from Europe, USA and the Near East, among others Jeffrey Herf, Seyran Ates, Necla Kelek, Ralph Giordano und Matthias Küntzel.
They demand a statement from the member states of the European Union based on Bruckner's appeal for a boycott the "Durban-2" conference and to take initiatives to reform the Human Rights Commission radically. The purpose should be about "democracy, secularism, and the defense of universal human rights against the intended cultural pluralism meant to defend the Islamic Shari'a against individual freedom" according to the appeal. This Durban-follow-up conference is exactly the opposite. Furthermore one can foresee yet another demonizing of Israel - "and the democracies have to stand up firmly against that".
Until February 1.st next year the initiators of the appeal will collect signatures on their website and hand them over to the German government and other EU governments prior to the Durban-2 conference in Geneva. A remarkable initiative worthy of all best wishes for a successful outcome.
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