April 14, 2008
35 Lower Marsh
London SE1 7RL
Dear Mr. Mukarji,
The United Nation’s plan to hold the Durban Review Conference in 2009 has created a great deal of opposition. The debate on this event is taking place in the shadow of the 2001 Conference on Racism, which was characterized by the delegitimization of Israel, particularly in the NGO Forum. Beyond the virulent anti-Semitism, this behavior prevented discussion of real discrimination and human rights violations in other parts of the world.
As part of its mandate to analyze the behavior of NGOs, NGO Monitor is documenting the policies of NGOs with ECOSOC Consultative Status regarding their policies with respect to the 2009 Review conference. A growing number of NGOs have signed the joint statement issued by Magenta and the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, outlining core principles related participation at the Durban Review Conference. This text states that, "the global effort to eradicate racism cannot be advanced by branding whole peoples with a stigma of ultimate evil, fomenting hateful stereotyping in the name of human rights". (The text of the document can be found at this website [here], and is attached as a PDF file.)
On this basis, we would appreciate if you could send us information on Christian Aid policy regarding the Durban 2009 Review Conference. In particular, our questions include:
To what degree was Christian Aid involved in the NGO Forum of the 2001 conference, and what conclusions have been drawn from this experience?
If the 2009 Durban Review Conference includes an NGO Forum, would Christian Aid expect to participate? If so, within which guidelines and principles, if any?
Has Christian Aid considered adopting the Magenta/Jacob Blaustein statement on the Durban Review Conference, and if so, with what conclusions?
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with you further, and look forward to your response.
Deputy Director of Government Affairs
+ 972 2 566 1020
Cc: Prof. Gerald Steinberg, Executive Director, NGO Monitor
30 June 2008
Dear Mr. Fink,
Thank you for your letter dated April 10th regarding the United Nations World Conference against Racism in Durban in 2009. Christian Aid is committed to challenging racism and discrimination in all its forms, and as such any issue on this subject is important to us.
In your letter you asked three specific questions, to which I am pleased to respond.
1) Christian Aid did not fund the 2001 World Conference against Racism in Durban. .
We proudly supported the participation of the Dalit Solidarity Network UK, to raise issues of caste discrimination. Conclusions drawn from this experience are that the 2001 Conference provided a useful forum for the discussion of social exclusion faced by Dalits, as well as some other forms of racism and social exclusion. We were not involved in any sessions focused on the Middle East, we did not provide sponsorship for any of our Middle East partner organisations to attend, and are therefore not placed to draw conclusions or to comment on this.
2) Christian Aid does not intend to send a representative of our Middle East programme to the 2009 conference. We may once again provide funding to the International Dalit Solidarity Network or similar partners to attend. Further than this, it will be up to our partner organisations to determine and support their own participation in the conference, as there will be many items on the agenda of importance to organizations working against racism all over the world.
3) Thank you for sharing with us the document written by Magenta and the Jacob Blaustein Institute. Christian Aid is a signatory to the International Red Cross code of conduct, which we are confident fully covers the issues at hand.
I hope that this has been helpful. Please do contact us again if you have any further questions on this issue or any other.
Director, Christian Aid