GENEVA: (Agencies: 21/4/2009): The United Nations anti-racism meeting in Geneva adopted a resolution that participants applauded as an improved basis for action against racism and xenophobia.
The adoption of the resolution by the committee that coordinates the conference ended months of negotiation in which contentious clauses were removed referring to Israel and the Palestinians and attempting to make defamation of religion an offense against human rights.
The conference will formally adopt the document on Friday but it is now no longer open to debate or amendment, diplomats said.
The announcement sidelined the split over the speech by the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday attacking Israel as a racist state. The speech prompted the Czech Republic, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union, to walk out of the conference and left United Nations officials and diplomats fearful the fallout from that speech might derail the proceedings.
The United States and more than a half-dozen other nations boycotted the conference out of concerns that it would become a platform for attacks on Israel.
Navi Pillay, the United Nations human rights commissioner said the program of action adopted by the first conference on racism in 2001 had suffered setbacks from challenges ranging from increased and complex migration to terrorism and some of the measures countries have used to counter it.
She said the new document contains valuable additional elements that “reinvigorates the political commitment” to implementing the 2001 plan. It highlighted the increased suffering of many different groups from racism and related intolerance, she said.
In this context, his Excellency Mr. Saif Albuainain the assistant secretary of state expressed Qatar’s support to all nations around the world in their on-going struggle against racism and racial discrimination.
He also voiced Qatar’s grave concern due to the escalating incitement against Arabs and Muslims in some countries-a phenomenon that has manifest itself since, what has become known in the world press as, the 9/11 events in the United States. Addressing the meeting, earlier in the day, Mr. Albuainain described Israeli practices in the occupied territories as part and parcel of the phenomenon of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
Israel faced further denunciations from Arab speakers, including the Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki, for “racist” policies toward Palestinians and the occupied territories.