• Sweden edition
 
Sweden to boycott UN racism conference

Sweden to boycott UN racism conference

Published: 18 Apr 2009 11:56 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Apr 2009 11:56 GMT+02:00

Sweden will not send any ministerial officials to the UN conference on racism in Geneva on Monday, said Swedish Integration Minister Nyamko Sabuni.

“This has been a difficult and problematic negotiation that has certainly become more constructive and positive in the last week, but we have decided that Sweden will not be participating at the ministerial level,” she said.

In the days leading up to the conference, there have been intense discussions between, grossly oversimplified, “east and west” regarding differences over issues such as freedom of expression vs. religious freedom, the Holocaust and colonialism.

In the last week, the negotiations have led to the drafting of a document that has been seen by the conference as a success, according to Sabuni. But nevertheless, Sweden refuses to participate in a meeting where individuals such as the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has taken controversial stances on many of the issues, will be present. This is due to worry that it will be a repeat of the last conference on racism – which was chaotic – eight years ago.

Civil servants might still participate, depending on how the discussions unfold.

When asked by TT if she thought it might send a conflicting message to those powers who will come face-to-face with the EU during these negotations, Sabuni answered in the affirmative.

“Yes, and if you read the document right now, it wouldn't be a problem. But the document is open and as a country, we must send clear signals about what is acceptable. In this case, we are not going to legitimize the non-democratic powers in place at the ministerial level in Durban,” she said.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

14:08 April 18, 2009 by byke
I am not surprised sweden wont send an official considering the amount of breaches sweden makes on human rights.

Maybe sweden should look at its own breaches first before taking the high horse.
19:29 April 18, 2009 by ConnieLeePortman
Good decision Sweden!

Geneva conference taken over by radical Islamic countries who don't understand what is freedom of speech ,freedom of religion, human rights, etc
19:40 April 18, 2009 by Brtahan
Good , because its no use to speak about freedom of rights religion etc with people of no brains like Iran Government. Byke the one who wrote the first comment go to other countries and see the discrimination then speak about sweden here they are 1000 years more develop then then the middle east countries. there might be some verbal discrimination her and they prefer swedes more in certain things but it wont reach that they will kill because you are black, or different religion, or gay etc, like in iran.
21:04 April 18, 2009 by me_i_sverige
Good, this conference is just going to be a propaganda site for those countries where there is no absolute human right. I support Sweden decision.

Mr Byke, Can you show us some breaches on human rights made by Sweden? or, are you one of the so-called fake asylum-seeker rejected!!
00:16 April 19, 2009 by CanadianEh
Well no surprise there, Sweden looks like it's finally coming out of its neutral shell. But then again maybe they should send someone, maybe the delegates they send will be able to teach the rest of the country about how to socialise properly with human beings. What is the defintion of Freedom for one person may mean something else to someone else. There are too many arrogant people that do not understand how the world works but then again you've chosen the right country to be in, Sweden, where everyone looks at the shoes they wear instead of the people they have to live with....
08:01 April 19, 2009 by shpongle
Yes because Canada is doing so well with the diplomacy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aARtclbEMGs

Have fun over there though. Accused for being racist and intolerant by the most racist and intolerant countries in the world always makes good comedy though.
08:50 April 19, 2009 by CanadianEh
Response to "shpongle" I never said Canada was perfect. There are racist in Canada and there is currently a government that mimics the Bush administration. But then again every country including Sweden are Racist when it comes to profiling individuals because of race, reliegeon, and creed. Here are Sweden's examples...

http://www.thelocal.se/18536/20090330/

http://www.thelocal.se/18156/20090312/

However we need to looks past these differences and educate the public to battle these infringements on rights, and that's why this confference was set up by the UN. If you don't go you won't learn... Get it
09:48 April 19, 2009 by Peanuts
Just like a right wing government appropriate an Integration Minister who is really intolerant. It saves so much work.
09:49 April 19, 2009 by shpongle
lets put things into perspective.

On 23 January 2008, Canada stated it would not participate in the Durban Review Conference

On 19 November 2008, Israel announced it would boycott the Durban Review Conference.

On 27 February 2009, the United States announced it would boycott the conference

On 5 March 2009, Italy

On 12 March 2009, Australia's Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, said in the federal parliament that Australia would join Israel, Canada, the United States and Italy in withdrawing from the United Nations-sponsored conference if the draft documents were not revised. “If we form the view that the text is going to lead to nothing more than an anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic harangue and an anti-Jewish propaganda exercise, Australia will not be in attendance,” Smith said

On March 14 the German federal government was considering a boycott of the conference.On April 16 Nooke stated at this point it was very unlikely that Germany would attend the Durban conference. [17]

On 16 March 2009, the European Union stated it would boycott the conference unless major changes were made to its declaration.[18] Britain said it would not attend unless the draft showed a "change in direction.

On 17 March 2009, Yuri Boychenko, chairman of the group responsible for drafting the conference's declaration, issued a draft that omitted any reference to the Palestinian territories or to defamation of religion. (i guess we'll see what effect this will have for hte participations)

On 18 April, it was revealed that the government of Sweden would boycott the conference, sending no ministers to the event. A spokesman said that such a presence would "legitimize undemocratic forces," adding that the country might send a lower level delegation

On 19 April, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith announced that Australia would be boycotting the conference.

The support in the west for this conference does seem overwhelming , doesn't it.
09:53 April 19, 2009 by RoyceD
I hardly think not representing yourself at an international conference is making a statement... I would have thought sending someone to voice your concerns is far more productive and is why we elect governments in the first place.
09:59 April 19, 2009 by shpongle
" but we have decided that Sweden will not be participating at the ministerial level,”

"Civil servants might still participate, depending on how the discussions unfold"

Unfortunatly these kind of things aren't exactly like casual discussion a bbq
16:33 April 19, 2009 by Mzungu
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has stirred outrage by repeatedly calling the Holocaust of the Jews a "myth", is the only prominent head of state so far scheduled to attend. <BBC> He does like to hear himself talk, a great opportunity beckons!

*at least tax payers will get off lightly*
18:16 April 19, 2009 by Iraniboy
Who talked about Iranian President in Swedish authorities? It seems to be only The Locals' paranoia!!

The funny part is that Ahmadinejad is still balmed for questioning Holocaust but nobody is blamed for recent massacres in Palestine and Lebanon and nobody is blamed when Israeli PM threaten to attack Iran!! Double Standards comes to mind.
18:53 April 19, 2009 by Kind Man
Some losers talks shits and call it freedom of speech did u know that? If not then look at yourself once again coz you sound like one of them who call Islamic countries radical.

Radical is those countries who make bombs, jetfighters, guns, and supports war and killing of innocent women who dies by these weapons in palastine,Afghanistan Iraq m m.
19:16 April 19, 2009 by glamshek
There is a huge communication gap between the West and the East. If a gay is a proud for the West, it is considered as an insult in the East. For all of this, such conferences provide a good platform to discuss things and minimize the gap. Sweden must go. If you do not have the logic, you run away as coward or attack as coward. So we do not expect this from a country that makes tall claims of Human Rights, Freedom of speech etc.
19:20 April 19, 2009 by glamshek
Do not run or attack like cowards. If you have a point, go and make it. If you cannot then accept the point of your opponent. Becoz you may not have it.
19:37 April 19, 2009 by voidplay
Way to go Sweden ... hear no evil from the axis of evils, there would be no CNN to cover your ass so better not go there and loose face. Anyway Uncle SAM is gonna spank you if you dare too.

Anyway it is very funny with people calling N.Korea childish for not throwing away its only trump card (N.Weapons.) and at the sametime hailing major power for being too sissys, to attend a world conference.
14:30 April 20, 2009 by jacks
Looks like a wise decision..

Probably, it might prove more rewarding for Sweden to focus on similar issues within own territory.
19:15 April 20, 2009 by shpongle
well, this was a huge success. who would've thought.
19:48 April 20, 2009 by voidplay
Refusing to participate in a dialog === fear of being criticized (Sweden, USA, UK)

= refusing to negotiate (Iran, N.Korea)

I wonder if the leadership in Iran and N.Korea are stronger and mature than these elected representatives.
Today's headlines
Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off TV
Grossed out Ica woman at Easter dinner. Screengrab from Ica

Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off TV

A Swedish supermarket has decided to withdraw its Easter commercial, after Christians complained it made a mockery of communion - "They crossed the line." Sweden's advertising watchdog will now look into the case. READ () »

Dismemberment killer gets sentence cut
The search and rescue operation in northern Sweden. File photo: TT

Dismemberment killer gets sentence cut

The 22-year-old man convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend in northern Sweden had his sentence reduced on Wednesday, in part due to his "peculiar personality". READ () »

School gas leak sends 25 to hospital

School gas leak sends 25 to hospital

An elementary school in southern Sweden was evacuated on Wednesday and dozens of pupils were taken to hospital after the smell of gas spread through the rooms. READ () »

Swedes vote for country's nicest cock
The Flymen Church weathercock in all its newly gilded glory. Photo: TT

Swedes vote for country's nicest cock

A Swedish churchwarden has reacted with joy upon finding out the parish has Sweden's nicest weathercock. READ () »

Greens push rich tax to finance schools
Per Bolund of The Greens. File photo: TT

Greens push rich tax to finance schools

Sweden's third largest party The Greens revealed its shadow budget on Wednesday, targeting schools and youth employment. High earners would have to pitch in more. READ () »

Holiday status updates 'not a burglary risk'
Ibiza, you say? File photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Holiday status updates 'not a burglary risk'

Mythbusting Swedish researchers have found no link between gushing about your upcoming holiday online and returning to an emptied house. They told The Local that a trip to Ikea could be much more dangerous. READ () »

Woman charged after accusing beggar of theft
The people in this picture are not those from the story. Photo: TT

Woman charged after accusing beggar of theft

A woman in Gothenburg who accused a beggar of robbing her has been charged with fraud and false accusations. READ () »

Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
Photo: Kungahuset

Swedish royals set baptism date for princess

Sweden's royal family has set the date for the baptism of Princess Leonore. READ () »

The Local List
Evidence Game of Thrones is set in Sweden

Evidence Game of Thrones is set in Sweden

With Swedish Game of Thrones fans frothing at the mouth at the season four premiere, The Local revisits its list of ten reasons why the hit books and show are (probably) based in Sweden. READ () »

'Baffling' Swedish raid on German sub makers
The Kockums Malmö shipyard and FMV headquarters. Files: TT

'Baffling' Swedish raid on German sub makers

After the Swedish military raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp, a military expert tells The Local why recent Russian aggression means Sweden's Saab needs to take control of national submarine production. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
Advertisement:
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
Society
'Blondes have more brains': Swedish study
TT
Society
VIDEO: Leaked 'Save Slussen' film goes viral
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching, March 28-30
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

737
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com