“A global call for concrete action for the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action” – the resolution the UK opposed
In November last year, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted through resolution A/C.3/75/L.50/Rev.1. The resolution commits the UN to:
A global call for concrete action for the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action
The resolution was passed by 124 votes to 12, with 44 abstentions. Among the twelve UN member countries to vote against the resolution was The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland:
The reasons for these countries voting against an anti-racism resolution are not listed. However, while the 2001 “Durban Declaration and Programme of Action” (DDPA), which the resolution also commits to implementing, was heavily watered down following a walk-out of US and Israeli representatives, the DDPA affirms the right of victims of slavery and colonialism to seek reparations and compensation for the wrongs inflicted on them.
A widely-condemned UK government report claimed last week that the discussion of slavery and colonialism was too negative and that a ‘new story’ was needed to emphasise the ‘cultural transformation’ of those subjected to the UK’s colonial actions and enslavement.
The DDPA also affirms the right of Palestinians, as well as Israel, to self-determination and notes that the Conference against racism:
expressed concern about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupation and recognised the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the right to an independent state
A document published by the UN about the declaration and circulated to UN delegates in 2011 notes that ten years after the publication of the DDPA, the Palestinian people continued to suffer from “Israel’s institutionalized discriminatory practices”.
The Labour Black Socialists group issued a statement about the UK’s vote:
LBS members are incandescent after it was revealed that the UK has voted against declaring racism a universal crisis. The UK and other nations continue to block any meaningful actions to eradicate racism and the impacts it has in society today. As a group we will continue to fight racism in its many forms and work with groups and organisations to ensure the fight never ends.
As of November last year, the Tory-run UK – which has just tried to whitewash much of its own racist history – stands against a declaration by the majority of nations against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Unsurprisingly, this news has not featured prominently, if at all, in the UK’s ‘mainstream’ news.
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