U.S. MUST PARTICIPATE IN DURBAN II CONFERENCE
PETITION DEMANDING U.S. PARTICIPATION IN THE APRIL 20-24, 2009 DURBAN REVIEW CONFERENCE, THE FOLLOW-UP TO THE 2001 WORLD CONGRESS AGAINST RACISM (WCAR) Given the long, bloody and painful history of racism in the United States and throughout much of the world and its continued effects today, we are outraged by our governmentâ��s refusal to send an official delegation to the upcoming Durban Review Conference to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, April 20-24, 2009. The banner of the conference reads: "United Against Racism: Dignity and Justice for All." We are dismayed that the U.S. has refused to engage in such a noble process. Organized by the United Nations, The Review Conference sets out to review progress and assess the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA). Adopted by consensus at the 2001 World Conference against Racism (WCAR) in Durban, South Africa, the DDPA is a comprehensive, action-oriented document that proposes concrete measures to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance wherever it occurs, and in recognition that no country can claim to be free of racism, that racism is a global concern, and that tackling it should be a universal effort. Although the DDPA is not legally binding, it has a strong moral value and serves as a basis for advocacy efforts worldwide. We strongly urge President Obama to reverse the decision not to participate in the 2009 Durban Review Conference, and to send an official U.S. delegation to engage fully in this historic gathering and international effort to combat racism, racism discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance throughout the world.