The UK has voted against a resolution welcoming the Durban Declaration presented at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), underlining that “regrettably, for far too long, the UN has downplayed the scourge of antisemitism”.
Foreign Secretary Rt. Hon. Liz Truss MP confirmed the UK’s position on Twitter today, stating: “The UK is committed to tackling antisemitism and racism around the world. Our statement with Australia on why we could not support resolution presented at the @UN_HRC. Pleased to be supported by friends including European allies”.
Simon Manley, the UK’s Permanent Representative in Geneva, delivered a joint statement on behalf of the UK and Australia, in relation to the UNHRC resolution titled ‘From rhetoric to reality: a global call for concrete action against racism, xenophobia and related intolerance’.
The statement underlined: “We do not agree with the multiple references to the Durban Conference, given the historic concerns over antisemitism. And we can not accept the references to the Durban Review Conference or the positive language welcoming the recent commemorative event in New York”.
It added: “The UK and Australia did not attend the recent 20th anniversary commemorative event for the Third World Conference Against Racism. There were reportedly nearly 40 states who, like us, made the decision not take part”, emphasising, “we think we all need to ask ourselves, why so many states stayed away and how we can move forward”.
The statement concluded: “Racism should be tackled in all its forms and, regrettably, for far too long, the UN has downplayed the scourge of antisemitism. This must end. The UK is clear that we will not attend future iterations of the Durban Conference while concerns over antisemitism remain. We therefore wish to call a vote on the resolution before us and will vote against the draft text before us”.
Read the full statement here.
In June, the UK Government announced that the UK will not be attending the United Nations Durban IV conference on 22nd September.
The event marked the 20th anniversary of the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. Israel was the only country identified as racist during the original 2001 conference, with Israel and the United States walking out of the summit after the revival of charges equating Zionism with racism.
The US, Canada and Australia previously announced that they will not be participating in the 20th anniversary conference. Before the UK’s announcement, CFI raised concerns about the Durban IV events directly with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, urging the UK to boycott it.