HUMAN RIGHTS AMBASSADOR
ARNOLD DE FINE SKIBSTED
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AT THE DURBAN REVIEW CONFERENCE
“UNITED AGAINST RACISM: DIGNITY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL”
Geneva, Thursday 23 April 2009
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Madame High Commissioner,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset I wish to endorse fully the statement by Sweden on behalf of the
This week we are gathered to take stock of the implementation of the commitments
undertaken at the Durban conference in 2001.
The focus of this conference is and should be racism, discrimination, xenophobia and
related intolerance and how to combat this scourge.
Let me therefore begin by saying that it is a deeply worrying paradox that the rostrum
of the conference is being abused to advocate racism and intolerance. I am referring
to the intervention by the president of Iran on Monday.
We could choose to stay silent. But the remarks relating in particular to Israel were so
abominable, so outrageous that we must react.
The intervention must be understood as incitement to hatred. It thus runs counter to
the whole purpose of this conference and the international cooperation to combat
On behalf of my Government I would like to dissociate myself in total from the
intervention made by the president of Iran.
The intervention should not be allowed to divert the focus of this conference to the
detriment of the international cooperation to combat racism and related intolerance.
The many men, women and children that are still subject to racism in all parts and
spheres of life count on us to alleviate their sufferings.
Denmark has from the outset been committed to making the conference a success in
the global efforts to eradicate racism, discrimination and related intolerance.
Numerous efforts to divert the focus of the conference have been made. This includes