UN racism conference continues with resolution already in hand
The United Nations Durban Review Conference on racism entered its third day Wednesday with delegates having already adopted by consensus the outcome document which calls upon all states to fight racism, intolerance and discrimination,
The declaration was adopted Tuesday afternoon after no state attending the conference in Geneva voiced objection to the text, which was drafted over several months and included compromises to satisfy as many governments as possible.
The conference, known as Durban II, was being boycotted by 10 states, including the United States, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
Durban II is a follow up to the first UN racism conference held in the South African city of Durban in 2001 and aims to review the progress in addressing the issues raised at that conference.
The gathering in Geneva got off to a bumpy start on Monday when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in an opening speech, used divisive language against Israel and prompted a walkout by European diplomats.
All the Europeans, except for the delegation of the Czech Republic, which currently holds the European Union presidency, eventually returned.
UN officials were Wednesday hoping that with the declaration having been adopted and no further speeches expected to cause such disruptions, the conference would continue until Friday, focusing on the trouble states are facing in combating various forms of discrimination and the plight of victims of racism.
In Tehran, Ahmadinejad on Wednesday again called Israel a racist regime and repeated other remarks made against the Jewish state. He said the adoption of the Durban II outcome document was a defeat for Israel.
Sweden, speaking on behalf of the EU presidency, praised the final declaration saying it promoted fighting racism while protecting freedom of speech.