Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Garrett on Durban II

It was hard to miss President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's hijacking of a conference that was supposed to lead to an end of racism. Representative Scott Garrett released a very strong statement condemning both Ahmadinejad and the tone of Durban II:

“The Durban II Conference is not a peaceful platform for transcending racial and cultural intolerance; it’s a forum for hatred targeted at the United States, Israel and Europe. This is clearly illustrated in the comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who today labeled Israel as an oppressive entity.

“The participants of this conference will likely ignore the ongoing persecution of people in places like Darfur, Liberia, and the Congo—even though their suffering is in part fueled by ethnic discrimination. In addition, the participants aren’t likely to oppose the oppression of women or religious minorities across the globe.

“As thousands of innocent people continue to be victims of ethnic discrimination, I find it shameful that the United Nations would waste an opportunity to hold a conference that could have raised awareness about ongoing atrocities. Instead of an open and frank discussion about promoting freedom and equality, this facade promotes intolerance.

“I applaud President Obama for choosing to boycott Durban II and I am pleased that Canada, Israel, Australia, Italy, and several other countries have made the same decision. I now urge my colleagues in the U.S. Congress to join me in going one step farther.

“A few weeks ago, I re-introduced a bill that would prohibit U.S. funds from going towards the Durban Review Conference. We currently finance 22 percent of the total U.N. budget, on which there are no usage restrictions. I believe that one of the best ways to achieve U.N. accountability is by making sure that we put our money where our mouth is and prohibit the use of U.S. funds to spread hatred. Hopefully, we can encourage the U.N. to see that this conference actually harms global efforts to advance freedom.”

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