New UN Human Rights Chief: Please Come To The Conference

Maybe some countries aren’t going because they know you merely want their news cameras and publicity. Just a guess.

[Reuters] The new U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanetham Pillay, called on Monday for an open debate about racism and religious intolerance, taking aim at countries threatening to boycott a summit on those issues.

In her first speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council, the former International Criminal Court judge said next April’s already-contentious U.N. conference on racism and xenophobia would be impoverished if the United States and others sat it out.

“Let’s not forget that diversity of opinions is often an inherent and welcome characteristic of relationships among peers,” she said.

The United States and Israel walked out of the last big U.N. summit on anti-racism, held in Durban in 2001, saying it had become a forum for anti-Semitism.

Canada has said it will not take part in the follow-up meeting planned for Geneva, and the United States, Britain, the Netherlands and France have said they may stay away if Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians again stands to eclipse all else.


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