The United States has announced it will not attend the Durban III summit in New York, citing the unfair demonisation of Israel as the reason, and the anti-Semitic, anti-American themes often present there. Given that the EU claims to oppose anti-Semitism and xenophobia, could the Commission comment on whether it will follow the Obama administration’s lead and boycott the event? If not, why not?
Joint answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Ashton on behalf of the Commission
Written questions : E-005944/11 , E-005945/11 , E-005946/11
The European Union firmly rejects and condemns all manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including on the basis of religion or belief. These phenomena are incompatible with the values upon which the EU is founded.
The EU is determined to address these problems through sustained action. To combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance within its own borders, the EU and its Member States have adopted and initiated various measures, including legislation, awareness-raising activities, data collection, and provision of financial support to civil society’s projects.
The EU also continues its cooperation with all relevant international actors worldwide, and considers that organisations such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the OSCE make a significant contribution to the fight against racism and racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. The EU also mainstreams the fight against discrimination in its international cooperation strategies, and, through its European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, gives financial support to a wide range of civil society organisations in their work against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) is the universal foundation for the efforts to prevent, combat and eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and the EU has repeatedly called on all states that have not yet ratified or fully implemented the Convention to do so.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa.
Concerning the high-level meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate this anniversary, to be held in September 2011 in New York, the EU has constructively and in good faith engaged in the negotiations for the modalities of the event. The negotiations on the modalities were concluded on 3 June and the modalities were formally adopted on 13 June 2011. The EU hope is that the meeting is successful in commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and strengthening international resolve to combat racism and xenophobia, and that it is not hijacked by partisan agendas. The EU believes that it is important that voices of moderation are heard as we prepare the event; therefore the EU has promoted modalities of the High Level GA meeting that can provide for a sober and dignified event and be the basis for a broad participation.
No decision as to the eventual EU participation in the event has yet been taken.