The Durban Review Conference is the official name of the 2009 United Nations World Conference Against Racism (WCAR), also known as Durban II. The conference ran from Monday 20 April to Friday 24 April 2009, and took place at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference was called under the mandate of United Nations General Assembly resolution 61/149 (passed in 2006) with a mandate to review the implementation of the The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action from the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance which took place in Durban, South Africa.
The conference was boycotted by Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, and the United States. The Czech Republic discontinued its attendance on the first day, and twenty-three other European Union countries sent low-level delegations. The western countries had expressed concerns that the conference would be used to promote anti-Semitism and laws against blasphemy perceived as contrary to the principles of free speech, and that the conference would not deal with discrimination against homosexuals. European countries also criticized the meeting for focusing on the West and ignoring problems of racism and intolerance in the developing world.
Controversy surrounded the attendance of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the conference due to his past statements on Israel and the Holocaust. On the first day of the conference, Ahmadinejad, the only head of state to attend, made a speech condemning Israel as "totally racist" and accusing the West of using the Holocaust as a "pretext" for aggression against Palestinians. The distributed English version of the speech referred to the Holocaust as an "ambiguous and dubious question". When Ahmadinejad began to speak about Israel, all the European Union delegates left the conference room, while a number of the remaining delegates applauded the Iranian President. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed dismay at both the boycotts and the speech.
Durban III, a follow-up conference that took place on 22 September 2011 in New York, was boycotted by the ten aforementioned countries (including the Czech Republic), along with Austria, Bulgaria, France and the United Kingdom.
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