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ICHR delivered an intervention at the Durban Review Conference

Published in UN

ICHR delivered the following intervention at the Durban Review Conference:


Mr. President,

I thank you for allowing the delivery of this joint statement.  However, I speak with a heavy heart as it seems that many of the problems that occurred during the original Durban Conference have risen once more and will slow the progress towards the elimination of all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, which is of course, why we are all here. 

If parties boycott this event then this group of NGO’s fails to see how correct dialogue and debate can take place.  This is a forum to achieve consensus and consensus can only be achieved when all parties are present; no matter how different their views may be.  We feel that the parties best equipped to respond to some of the more controversial statements made in this forum could have made a valid contribution to the debate had they remained in the room.

People without nationalities and without states, and particularly those under occupation, suffer disproportionately and while this is often attributed to the pursuit of power, land and resources it cannot happen without tacit acceptance of racism by states and by the implementation of racist, xenophobic and intolerant policies.  Those minorities are denied basic and fundamental rights as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and many have lived for generations under oppressive regimes that offer no legitimate chance for people to decide their own fate.

We feel strongly that any aim to eliminate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance should include a stronger reference to the rights of those under occupation than that made in Paragraph 5.  Many peoples, particularly those of Indian Occupied Kashmir, are no closer to realising their right to self-determination than they were during the original Durban conference. It is for that reason that, while on the whole the document reasonably positive, we feel that those least able influence this document - those under occupation - have been denied the voice they so richly needed and deserved at this Durban Review Conference.

The Durban declaration makes it clear that racism and related forms of intolerance are among the root causes that result in the displaced people and eventual statelessness.  It is disheartening to see that, since the first Durban conference, it has become more difficult for those fleeing persecution to reach the places where it may be more readily available.  The more stringent immigration policies that states have introduced in recent years have made it considerably more difficult for those seeking refuge and asylum to find the peace they often so desperately need.

Mr. President I thank you.

Barrister A. Majid Tramboo, Chairman, ICHR


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