Gjesteskribent

En rapport fra den Geneve-baserte organisasjonen Un Watch oppsummerer dagsordenen for Durban II, FN`s omstridte oppfølger til anti-rasismekonferansen som fant sted i Durban i 2001 (Durban I). Rapporten belyser et lite utvalg av forslag til resolusjonstekst for Durban II. Libya har formannskapet i planleggingskomiteen, og Iran, Pakistan og Cuba har sete som vise-formenn.

På flere steder krysser planleggingskomiteens forslag til resolusjonstekst EUs røde linjer, som ble uttrykt av Frankrike på vegne av EU i en erklæring til FNs Menneskerettighetsråd 19. september i år. I denne erklæringen heter det at EU vil forkaste forsøk på: 1.) å single ut en region av verden spesielt; 2.) en gjenåpning av Durban I-erklæringen om forbud mot defamering av religion, i den hensikt å pålegge ytringsfriheten restriksjoner og innføre islamske anti-blasfemilover; 3.) å fremme en hierarkisk orden for prioritering av ofre; og 4.) å politisere eller polarisere debatten.

Det dominante budskapet i Durban II-erklæringen er imidlertid (slik den er publisert av FN etter sesjonen 6 til 17 oktober 2008) at USA, Vest-Europa, Israel og andre liberale demokratier – deres prinsipper, institusjoner, politikk og respektive historier og nasjonale identiteter – er spesielt rasistiske, og diskriminerer islam i tillegg. Ytringsfrihet, rikdom, globalisering, sikkerhetstiltak for å bekjempe anti-vestlig terrorisme; alt blir angrepet som årsaker til rasisme, diskriminering og demonisering av islam.

Indeed, the new language seeking to distort human rights law for the
purposes of Islamic censorship makes the Durban II draft even more regressive than the 2001 text.

In particular, the draft—compiled by a committee that includes Libya as chair, and Iran, Pakistan, and Cuba as vice-chairs—focuses on one specific country, Israel, which it portrays as the enemy of humanity, using language lifted verbatim from the notorious 2001 Tehran Declaration.

Earlier this year, French President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged—»without ambiguity»—to withdraw the EU from the Durban II process if the 2001 excesses repeated themselves and the EU’s concerns were ignored. His presidency of the EU, and ability to act on the pledge, concludes on December 31, 2008.

FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY:

You have spoken about the Durban conference. I will tell you: The Durban conference in 2001 led to intolerable excesses from certain states and numerous NGOs that turned the conference into a forum against Israel. No one has forgotten. A follow-up conference is planned for 2009. Mr. President [of the CRIF], you asked me a question. I will answer very frankly. France will not allow a repetition of the excesses and abuses of 2001. Our European partners share France’s concerns. France will chair the EU in the final months preceding the review conference. I say to you: if ever our legitimate demands are not taken into account, we will disengage from the process. I think my answer is unambiguous.

Source: Nicolas Sarkozy au diner annuel du crif, February 13, 2008.

Den gjennomgående tendensen er forsøk på å sidestille etnisitet (rase) med religion og nasjonal identitet eller preferanse med rasisme og ytringsfrihet beskrives gjentatte ganger som et hinder for å bekjempe rasisme og islamofobi. Men også legitim politisk og intellektuell motstand mot multikulturalisme blir utlagt som en grunnleggende årsak til rasistisk vold:

Dette er noe av innholdet i Durban II-erklæringen, etterfulgt av Un Watchs korte kommentarer. Nøkkelformuleringer i de foreslåtte resolusjonstekstene er uthevet:

Note that some of the most worrying trends since 2001 include racio-religious profiling and discrimination, defamation of Muslims, their faith and beliefs, incitement to religious hatred and its concomitant effects on multiculturalism, national and international peace and stability as well as human rights of the affected communities. (Par. 26, Section 1.)

«Defamation of Religion» (Re-opening 2001 Declaration). Claims «defamation of Islam» is one of most worrying trends since 2001. Omits mention of the September 11 terrorist attacks that occurred in week after adoption of 2001 Durban declaration.

Agrees that defamation of religions cannot be dissociated from a profound reflection on the trends of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance that are developing in the current political and ideological context. (Par. 27, Section 1.)

«Defamation of Religion» (Re-opening 2001 Declaration). Conflates religion with race. Cites «defamation of religions,» a notion that has no basis in, and is inconsistent with, international human rights law. Attempt to grant UN legitimacy to Islamic anti-blasphemy provisions.

Acknowledges that the most disturbing phenomenon is the intellectual and ideological validation of Islamophobia. When it is expressed against migrants it takes the form of religo-ethnic or religo-racial tones, when it is expressed in the form of defamation of religions, it takes cover behind the freedom of expression and when it is expressed in the form of profiling. It hides behind the war against terrorism. Believes that association of terrorism and violence with Islam or any other religion including through publication of offensive caricatures and making of hate documentaries would purposely complicate our common endeavours to address several contemporary issues including fight against terrorism and occupation of foreign territories and peoples. (Par. 30, Section 1.)

«Defamation of Religion» (Re-opening 2001 Declaration). Attempt to grant UN legitimacy to Islamic anti-blasphemy provisions. Muslims as greatest victims, and as targets of Western racism.

Urges States to take serious steps to address the contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and in this context to take firm action against negative stereotyping of religions and defamation of religious personalities, holy books, scriptures and symbols. (Par. 100, Section 5)

«Defamation of Religion» (Re-opening 2001 Declaration). Attempt to import Islamic anti-blasphemy prohibitions into international human rights law.

National laws alone cannot deal with the rising tide of defamation and hatred against Muslims, especially if such trends are spreading to the grass root communities. A framework is needed to analyze national laws and understand their provisions. This could then be compiled in a single «universal document» as guidelines for legislation – aimed at countering «defamation of religions». (Par. 142, Section 5)

«Defamation of Religion» (Re-opening 2001 Declaration). Attempt to import Islamic anti-blasphemy prohibitions into international human rights law.

Calls upon the Durban Review Conference to provide guidelines for States taking into account the assessment of various Durban follow up mechanisms as well as the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance on the issue of defamation or negative stereotyping of religions. (Par. 146, Section 5)

«Defamation of Religion» (Re-opening 2001 Declaration). Attempt to import Islamic anti-blasphemy prohibitions into international human rights law.

…[O]ne of the principal reasons fomenting the tide of racism is the growing increase in the right wing extremist political discourse, including in some of the most liberal and pluralistic societies. This trend has led to the deepening of the racist tendencies in those societies through propaganda against immigrants and promotion of cultural and religious superiority doctrines. Immunity granted to such acts has led to denial of basic human rights to the affected communities including their right to freely practice and preserve their religious and cultural identities. Effective legislation is needed at the national, regional and international levels to curb these tendencies as well as to ensure relief to the victims. (Par. 80, Section 5)

Censorship (Re-opening 2001 Declaration). Advocates censorship in Western democracies. Ignores extremist incitement by radical Islamic, left-wing and other groups.

That permissible limitations on the exercise of the right to freedom of expression are elaborated and, where appropriate, incorporated into national legislation. (Par. 96c, Section 5)

Censorship (Re-opening 2001 Declaration). Calls for new laws to restrict free speech.

Acknowledge that intellectual and political resistance to multiculturalism is one of the root causes of the resurgence of racist and xenophobic violence. Rejection of diversity has led to negation of the very humanity of the immigrants, foreigners and minorities. The most serious manifestation of racism is the democratic legitimization of racism and xenophobia in the guise of defending ‘national identity or preference’. No country, religion or minority should be discriminated on the grounds of its race, colour and creed. (Par. 25, Section 1)

Politicization. Equates national identity with racism. Describes legitimate alternatives to multiculturalism (e.g., integration) as root cause of «racist violence.»

Calls upon the Durban Review Conference to demonstrate the political will to confront those phenomena, and acknowledges that a failure of the Durban review process would, above all, pave the way for intensification of worrying racist and xenophobic trends, namely, the upsurge in racist violence and the political use of racism and its intellectual legitimization. (Par. 227, Section 1)

Politicization Portrays Libyan-led, anti-Western conference as necessary to combat racism.

Indicating that the process of globalization is a driving force whose benefits should be distributed equally in all countries, and expressing the resolve to prevent and offset the adverse effects of this process, which can include poverty, underdevelopment and cultural homogenization. (Par. 300, Section 1)

Politicization. Attacks globalization. Issue not relevant to racism.

Stress the need of raising global awareness about the repercussions, manifestations and consequences of all the racist practices of the occupying powers and any of their acts that stem from racist ideology. (Par. 63, Section 1)

Politicization (Anti-Israel, Anti-Western). Coded censure of Israel (the only country
named elsewhere as «occupying power») and possibly the United States.

Draws attention to the impact of counter-terrorism measures on the rise of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including the practice of racial, ethnic, national and religious profiling. (Par. 19, Section 1.)

Politicization (Anti-Western). Links counter-terrorism to racism, in transparent reference to U.S. and other Western democracies. By contrast, omits mention of hatred that fuels terrorism.

Recognize that colonialism and slavery have been the prime sources and manifestation of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the people of Asian decent were victims of colonialism and continue to be victims of its consequences. (Par. 15, Section 1)

Politicization (Anti-Western). Exclusive focus on particular history of Western colonialism. Ignores worse forms of racism that led to the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, and the current genocide in the Darfur province of Sudan.

Noting that some of the other obstacles hampering progress in the collective struggle against racism and racial discrimination include: weak legislation and policies, lack of moral, educational and practical strategies, non-implementation of international legal framework and commitments by some, persisting impunity on different grounds such as freedom of expression, counter terrorism or national security as well as sharp increase in the extreme right wing xenophobic political platforms. (Par. 60, Section 1)

Politicization (Anti-Western). Attacks free expression, counter-terrorism, and national security as pretexts for impunity» and «obstacles hampering progress» against racism.

…the effect which national legislation to combat terrorism has had on the implementation of the Convention, particularly on identity, entry and residence checks of foreigners, the right of asylum and extradition. When examining periodic reports, the Committee has expressed its concern about reported cases of «Islamophobia» following the 11 September attacks. Furthermore, while taking note that the criminal legislation of some States includes offences where religious motives are an aggravating factor, it has regretted that incitement to racially motivated religious hatred is not outlawed. The Committee has recommended that States give early consideration to the extension of the crime of incitement to racial hatred to cover offences motivated by religious hatred against immigrant communities. (Par. 53, Section 3.)

Prioritizing Victims. Special treatment for Islamophobia. Mentions September 11 attacks and hatred, yet ignores hatred that fueled the attackers and which continues to fuel other terrorist attacks around the world.

Calls upon States to pay attention to the serious nature of incitement to religious hatred such as anti-Semitism Christianophobia and, more particularly, Islamophobia, and to promote the fight against those phenomena by strengthening interreligious and intercultural dialogue concerning the common ethics of all religions and by adopting legislation aimed at ending impunity in this respect. (Par. 143, Section 1)

Prioritizing Victims. Subtle attempt to impose hierarchy of victims with Muslims at the top.

Reaffirm that a foreign occupation founded on settlements, its laws based on racial discrimination with the aim of continuing domination of the occupied territory, as well as its practices, which consist of reinforcing a total military blockade, isolating towns, cities and villages under occupation from each other, totally contradict the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and constitute a serious violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity, a form of genocide and a serious threat to international peace and security. (Par. 57, Section 1; identical text at Par. 11, Section 4.)

Singling Out Israel. Thinly veiled vilification of Israel. Revives worst demonization language of Feb. 2001 Tehran Declaration, by repeating its Art. 20 verbatim. Language similar to 2001 NGO Declaration (Arts. 98-99) that was condemned by High Commissioner Mary Robinson. Inflammatory accusations against Israel constitute gross violation of EU red line on singling out countries.

Reiterates its concern about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupations, urges respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law and calls for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the
region. (Par. 114, Section 1)

Singling Out Israel. Violates EU red line on singling-out countries.

Notes that the Palestinian people continue to be denied the fundamental right of self determination. In order to consolidate the occupation, they have been subjected to unlawful collective punishment, torture, economic blockade, severe restriction on movement and arbitrary closure of their territories. Illegal settlements continue to be built in the occupied territories. The Review Conference must look into the human rights situation and urge member states to implement the provisions of DDPA with a view to bring lasting peace in the Middle East. (Par. 115, Section 1)

Singling Out Israel. Advocates using Durban II conference to condemn Israel.

Express deep concern at the plight of Palestinian refugees and displaced persons who were forced to leave their homes because of war and racial policies of the occupying power and who are prevented from returning to their homes and properties because of a racially based law of return, and recognize the right of return of the Palestinian refugees as established by the General Assembly in its resolutions, particularly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, and call for their return to their homeland in accordance with and in implementation of this right. (Par. 116, Section 1.)

Singling Out Israel. Attacks Israel’s raison d’etre as the Jewish homeland, as recognized by the United Nations and League of Nations. Violates EU red line on singling out countries.

Re-emphasize the responsibility of the international community to provide international protection for the Palestinian people under occupation against aggression, acts of racism, intimidation and denial of fundamental human rights, including the rights to life, liberty and self-determination. (Par. 117, Section 1)

Singling Out Israel. Palestinians as victims of alleged Israeli racism. Violation of EU red line on singling-out countries.

Recognize Jerusalem as a city of reverence and religious sanctity for three major religions of the world and call for an international effort to bring foreign occupation, together with all its racial practices, to an end, especially in holy shrines dear to the three religions. (Par. 305, Section 1)

Singling Out Israel. Israel’s protection of religious freedom and shrines in Jerusalem described as «racist». Taken verbatim from 2001 Tehran Declaration, Art. 19. Violation of EU red line on singling-out countries.

Etter at resolusjonsteksten for Durban II ble kjent, har debatten gått høyt i flere europeiske land. Spesielt fordi problematikken også omfatter FNs Menneskerettighetsråd, der udemokratiske land og/eller stater som i praksis bryter samtlige menneskerettighter i dag utgjør et klart flertall. Det er Menneskerettighetsrådet som har utnevnt planleggingskomiteen for Durban II. Ledende europeiske intellektuelle og politikere har tatt til orde for en boikott av den kontroversielle konferansen, mens Canada formelt trakk seg allerede i januar. Senest i forrige måned gjorde også den danske utenriksministeren Per Stig Møller det klart at enten trekker OIC (Organisasjonen av islamske stater) den foreslåtte resolusjonsteksten tilbake, eller så trekker Danmark seg.

Norske politikere og medier har imidlertid ikke vært interessert eller engasjert i debatten om utviklingen i FN generelt og Menneskerettighetsrådet og Durban-konferansen spesielt. I mai i år forsøkte derfor Fremskrittspartiets utenrikspolitiske talsmann Morten Høglund å ta opp spørsmålet med regjeringen i en interpellasjonsdebatt på Stortinget:

Svaret fra utenriksminister Jonas Gahr Støre må sees i sammenheng med at Norge stiller til valg som kandidat i det diskrediterte Menneskerettighetsrådet i 2009:

Jeg er av den faste oppfatning at verdenssamfunnet i MR-rådet har fått et instrument som kan gjøres slagkraftig. Så er det opp til verdens politiske ledere å bruke instrumentet. Det skjer ikke automatisk. Vi må faktisk jobbe for det. I dette arbeidet vil vi ikke sitte på gjerdet, men delta aktivt i forsvaret av en internasjonal rettsorden. Vi velger altså den canadiske strategien framfor å stå utenfor. For å oppnå resultater kan vi ikke bare snakke med dem vi er enige med.

Vi må også bringe det noen vil kalle «verstingene» inn i det internasjonale normskapende arbeidet, sette søkelys på dem. Vi skylder verdens millioner av undertrykte å stå opp for deres rettigheter. For meg er dette solidaritet i praksis. Det å utebli kan jeg i dagens situasjon vanskelig se ville sende et slikt budskap. Vi vil være med og ta ansvar for en bedre verden. Vi må ha målet klart for oss og lete etter de politiske mulighetene. Menneskerettighetsrådet er, sine innebygde svakheter til tross, en slik mulighet.

Gahr Støre kan ikke lenger vise til det canadiske eksemplet. Canada valgte å boikotte Durban II fordi den bryter med landets anti-rasistiske prinsipper, og man ønsker følgelig ikke å gi legitimitet til FNs konferanse. Ett sted går det en grense. Frp vil gjerne vite om det også går en grense for den norske regjering og har stilt et spørsmål til utenriksministeren via Stortingspresidenten:

Stortingspresidenten uttaler til Aftenposten 1. november i år at deler av FN-systemet kan bli et hinder i kampen for ytringsfriheten. Den danske utenriksministeren har gjort det klart at Danmark vil trekke sin støtte til FNs Rasismekonferanse neste år dersom Organisasjonen av Islamske Stater opprettholder forslaget om at religionskritikk er det samme som rasisme. Støtter utenriksministeren uttalelsen fra Stortingspresidenten og vil Regjeringen følge Danmarks eksempel for å verne om ytringsfriheten?

Begrunnelse:

FNs første rasismekonferanse som ble avholdt i den sørafrikanske byen Durban i 2001, ble et ensidig angrep på ytringsfriheten iscenesatt av land som Syria, Libya og Iran under påskudd av respekt for islam. Durban 2 er en oppfølging av denne konferansen og vil bli avholdt i Genève i Sveits i april 2009.

Stortingspresident Thorbjørn Jagland understreket nylig på PEN-seminaret at den forrige rasismekonferansen i 2001 ble en festival i kritikk av vestlige verdier og at det aldri må tillates at oppfølgerkonferansen i Genève blir en gjentakelse av dette.

Den forberedende erklæringen til Durban 2 går imidlertid kort ut på at Vesten er rasistisk og diskriminerende overfor islam. Norge må ikke tillate at historien gjentar seg i 2009 og stille klare betingelser for deltakelse på konferansen. USA og Canada har allerede gitt beskjed om at de trekker seg fra konferansen. Frankrikes president har uttalt at han ikke vil akseptere en gjentakelse av 2001 og fremsatte på vegne av EU i september et forslag om at man i prosessen rundt Durban 2 ikke vil akseptere at man igjen tar opp formuleringene fra 2001 som i realiteten kriminaliserer religionskritikk.

Det har foreløpig ikke kommet noe svar fra utenriksministeren på hvor Norge står i forhold til EU og andre naturlige allierte i denne saken.


New UN Watch report: Shattering the red lines: The Durban II draft declaration

Pinlig presse-Norge

Les også hvordan International Humanist and Ethical Union vurderer situasjonen i FN og FNs Menneskerettighetsråd, samt opptakten til anti-rasismekonferansen Durban II:

«The recent success of the OIC in having both the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly adopt resolutions «combating defamation of religion» means that even though the General Assembly resolution was non-binding, states who wish to do so now have international approval to enact new laws against defamation of religion (blasphemy laws to you and me) and to keep existing blasphemy laws in place.

Following these successes the Islamic States have opened two new battlefronts. We hear from colleagues close to the source that one of the OIC’s leading strategists has suggested a shift of focus from defamation of religion (now that that battle has been won internationally) towards incitement to religious hatred. The OIC is now pushing for new measured to combat «Islamophobia» – a catch-all accusation against anyone who dares criticize any aspect of Islam by equating them with hate-mongers. The OIC sponsored an expert seminar just last week in Geneva to review the need for new limits to freedom of expression following «the new wave of anti-Muslim sentiment» since 9/11. At that meeting several OIC delegates highlighted the lack of a level playing field in Europe, where Holocaust denial has become a criminal offence, yet insulting the prophet of Islam can go unpunished, and where «freedom of expression has become instrumentalised» to incite hatred of Muslims.

The second battlefront is the Durban Review Conference. The absence of several key delegations from the DRC makes it all the more likely that the OIC and its allies will succeed in their attempts to have the conference adopt resolutions on new «concrete measures» to combat racism «including Islamophobia», such as imposing further limits on freedom of expression.

The Algerian delegate speaking this week at the DRC preparatory committee called for the final document from the conference to «integrate into its field of action new forms of racism such as Islamophobia, racial profiling, and discrimination targeted at migrants».

Some countries, however, have finally woken up to the threat. France, speaking on behalf of the European Union, pointed out that «no region of the world is free of the scourge of racism», and that it is vital to preserve the consensus achieved in Durban – a clear warning to states not to go it alone by pushing for new measures targeting the West – «and not to spoil this opportunity by seeking to restrain freedom of expression or other fundamental rights».