Wiesenthal Center Urges Argentina to Announce Its Absence from the Twentieth Anniversary of the Infamous Durban Conference

May 10, 2021

BUENOS AIRES and PARIS - In a letter to Argentine Foreign Minister, Felipe Solá (pictured), the Wiesenthal Center called for a declaration that it will not participate in the 20th anniversary of the infamous 'World Conference Against Racism' held in August 2001 in Durban, South Africa.

Expectations of diplomats and NGOs to establish a roadmap to combat hatred were dashed in the largest public display of anti-Semitism since the defeat of Nazi Germany.

During the conference, in addition to suffering physical attacks, the Durban police chief, on the eve of the Sabbath, declared that he could not guarantee the safety of the representatives of Jewish organizations to walk the three blocks through a demonstration of 20,000 with banners stating "Hitler was right!" distributing Jew-hatred flyers.

To date, the United States, Canada, and Australia have already stated their absence.

“Since the return of democracy, Argentina has rendered the defense of human rights as a government state policy. Except for justice pending for the 1992 terror attacks against the Israeli Embassy and in 1994 against the AMIA Jewish Center, both in Buenos Aires....it became clear that the fight against anti-Semitism was an essential part of its human rights campaign.

Examples are:

  • the 1998 Anti-Discrimination Law
  • the opening of the “Nazi Archives” in 1992 
  • the creation of the INADI (National Institute against Discrimination) in 1995 
  • the signing of the 2000 Stockholm Agreement against Holocaust Denial 
  • Commemoration of the Coexistence in Cultural Diversity Day, on every April 19th, remembering the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 2000 
  • joining the IHRA in 2002 and accepting the status of Full Membership in 2006
  • the repeal in 2005 of the infamous Circular 11 of 1938 that blocked granting visas to Jews fleeing the Holocaust
  • the approval of the Definition of Anti-Semitism during 2016 and, finally, Mr. Minister, your own action for its adoption in Argentina

The Simon Wiesenthal Center urges you to add the important voice of Argentina and declare that it will not attend or participate in glorifying a conference that, 20 years ago, dishonored the United Nations and helped legitimize genocidal hatred against Jewish people everywhere... Attending would be a step backward for the policy of Argentine democracy and would isolate the fight against anti-Semitism from that of human rights," concluded Drs. Shimon Samuels and Ariel Gelblung, respectively, Directors for International Relations and for Latin America of the Wiesenthal Center.

For further information, please contact Dr. Shimon Samuels at +336 09770158 or Dr. Ariel Gelblung at +54 9 11 49695365, join the Center on Facebook, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent directly to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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