08 September 2008

At the Palais: The New High Commissioner

This afternoon the Center for Inquiry delegation arrived at the Human Rights Council and met up with Roy Brown of the International Humanist and Ethical Union. Roy and our other allies are wondering how the new President of the Council will treat his predecessor's procedural ruling prohibiting the discussion of religion by NGOs. The Center for Inquiry's first joint statement, in response to the new High Commissioner's address, will be read tomorrow by David Littman of the Association for World Education. Well, he will begin reading it. Chances are he will not be allowed to finish.

We missed the opening address by the new High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay. A telling extract, on the troubled Durban II world conference on racism, scheduled for April 2009: "I do not believe that 'all or nothing' is the right approach to affirm one's principles or to win an argument. Should differences be allowed to become pretexts for inaction, the hopes and aspirations of the many victims of intolerance would be dashed irreparably."

She not referring to the controversial declaration produced by the August 2008 Durban preparatory meeting in Abuja, Nigeria--which inveighed against freedom of expression and breathed not a word about Darfur. Instead, she was chastising the U.S., Canada, France, U.K. and Israel, for threatening to boycott the April meeting if it appears like it will degenerate into more politicking by the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned states.


philip said...

Keep fighting the good fight, Austin. You do so on behalf of many people who are not able to thank you.

Kate said...

What he said.