World Conference against Racism

The World Conference against Racism (WCAR) has been held three times: in 1978, 1983, and 2001.

2001 Conference

The 2001 conference was held in South Africa under UN auspices in September 2001, ending on September 8.

The conference, entitled "World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance" was ostensibly aimed at eliminated unfair treatment of one group against another.

Some critics charged, it was intended as an attack on Israel. Both Australia and Canada made statements accusing the conference of hypocrisy. For example,

"Canada is still here today only because we wanted to have our voice decry the attempts at this Conference to de-legitimize the State of Israel and to dishonour the history and suffering of the Jewish people. We believe, and we have said in the clearest possible terms, that it was inappropriate - wrong - to address the Palestinian-Israel conflict in this forum. We have said, and will continue to say, that anything - any process, any declaration, any language - presented in any forum that does not serve to advance a negotiated peace that will bring security, dignity and respect to the people of the region is - and will be - unacceptable to Canada." ([1], page 119)

This was the reason that both the United States and Israel withdrew from WCAR. However, other critics have claimed that the United States policy also related to demands for an apology for New World slavery, which they wanted to avoid.

The result was that the conference did little to combat racism, but did allow politicians of various ilks to accuse each other of hypocrisy.


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