21 April 2009
21 April 2009
World Jewish Congress head wants UN to shine the light on human rights abuses everywhere
The president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) has criticized the continuing misuse of the United Nations Durban Review Conference and called on the UN to make its fight against racism and intolerance effective instead of providing a platform for human rights abusers. Upon leaving Geneva on Tuesday, Ronald S. Lauder said: "Ahmadinejad's speech was shocking, but even more shocking is the indifference and even support that ensued from this," he said. "On Tuesday, speakers continued to attack Israel unfairly, and the conference has certainly not got back on track as many had hoped, despite yesterday's wake-up call."
Lauder said that this raised fundamental questions about the format of this conference and the attitude of UN officials dealing with problems racism and intolerance around the world. "This conference will do nothing good in terms of fighting these scourges. The United Nations and its many bodies need to do better, much better, because the victims of racism need their help. UN officials need to lend an ear to what victims have to say, not just to representatives of governments, some of which represent the perpetrators of crimes," he pointed out.
"It is unfortunate that many-nonaligned countries, including in Africa, that have genuine issues on racism, are in danger of being sidelined by the efforts of Islamic countries to hijack this conference. If the UN does not want Ahmadinejad to succeed, it needs to change its structures, listen to what real experts on racism have to say, and the problems they face. If it wants to be relevant, the UN also needs to shine the light on human rights abuses everywhere in the world and not avoid conflict with those who are trying to cover them up," the WJC president declared.
The World Jewish Congress is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 92 countries. Founded in Geneva in 1936, the WJC serves as the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people to governments and international organizations. For the Durban Review Conference, the WJC is part of the International Jewish Caucus, which also comprises the following organizations: Anti-Defamation League, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, B'nai B'rith International, CEJI: A Jewish Contribution To An Inclusive Europe, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, European Jewish Congress, European Union of Jewish Students, Jewish Human Rights Coalition (UK), NGO Monitor, Simon Wiesenthal Center, South African Jewish Board of Deputies, Women's International Zionist Organization, and the World Union of Jewish Students.
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