Canada’s Minister for Immigration Jason Kenney says his country will not participate in the third United Nations conference on racism, called Durban III, next September in South Africa because, he feels, the event is being used to target Israel.”The original Durban conference, and its declaration, as well as the non-governmental activities associated with it, proved to be a dangerous platform for racism, including anti-Semitism,” he said Thursday.
The minister said that Ottawa had “lost faith” in the Durban process, an anti-racism conference that began in 2001 to develop ways to defeat racism.
The anti-racism conference planned for next year was decided upon by a majority vote (121 for and 19 against with 35 abstentions) at the United Nations last week.
At last year’s conference in Geneva, several countries, including Canada, walked out of that meeting after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad alleged that Israel was a genocidal regime built on racism.
Following that anti-Israeli rhetoric, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay (of South Africa) issued a press release condemning the speech. Disagreeing with the boycott, she said the “best riposte for this type of event is to reply and correct, not to withdraw and boycott the Conference.”
A conference document said the assembly recognized the inalienable right of the Palestinians to self-determination and the right to have an independent state.
The first Durban conference was held in South Africa in September 2001, just days before Islamist attacks, using hijacked American passenger planes, on the United States, targeting primarily New York and Washington, were staged.
The Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) welcomed Ottawa’s decision. “On this, they are the international leaders, not the Canadian leader, they’re leading the world,” said Bernie Farber of the CJC, while hoping that other countries, including the United States and European countries, would emulate Canada.