zondag 16 november 2008

Zwitserland nodigt antisemitische NGO 'Nord Sud XXI' uit voor Durban II

Waarom Zwitserland een aan Libië geliëerde NGO uitnodigde voor een bespreking ter voorbereiding van de Durban II conferentie over racisme, wil NGO Monitor weten. De organisatie Nord Sud XXI heeft een paar jaar geleden een prijs uitgereikt aan de in Frankrijk veroordeelde Holocaust onkenner Roger Geraudy en is verbonden met de antisemitische Moammar Kadhafi Human Rights Prize (ook een NGO). Nord Sud XXI pleit voor een NGO forum op de anti-racisme conferentie zoals die ook in 2001 plaatsvond, en die uitliep op een antisemitisch haatfestijn waar zelfs de Protocollen van de Wijzen van Zion werden verkocht en Hitler-spandoeken in de grote slotdemonstratie meegedragen. Het antwoord van de Zwitserse ambassade overtuigt niet.

#3 15 November 2008

Dear Ms. Schmutz-Kirgoez,

Thank you for the response to our inquiry (copied  below) regarding the invitation from the Swiss Mission in Geneva to Nord Sud XXI (a notorious Libyan linked NGO that, as documented in detail,  engages in frequent antisemitic attacks) for a discussion regarding the Durban Review Conference  to be held on November 18. In your response, you noted that Nord Sud XXI is one of 3187 NGOs with  ECOSOC status -- a fact with which we have no quarrel.

However, your response failed to note that the Swiss Mission has only invited some 25 of these NGOs for this discussion, meaning that Nord Sud XXI is a highly privileged group with special influence in Switzerland, in contrast to  the over 3160 NGOs with ECOSOC status that have not been invited to this meeting, and will not have the opportunity to present their views of  the upcoming Durban Review Conference.

Therefore, we are again asking you, as the representative of the Swiss government, to explain the relationship with Nord Sud XXI, particularly in the light of the effort to prevent a repetition in Geneva of the hatred and antisemitism displayed by groups such as this in the 2001 NGO Forum of the Durban Conference.

We look forward to your response,

Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg
Executive Director, NGO Monitor

#1 NGO Monitor report: Swiss invitation to Nord-Sud XXI
November 12, 2008

H.E. Walter Haffner
Embassy of Switzerland
P.O. Box 6068
61060 Tel Aviv, Israel

Dear H.E. Mr. Haffner,

NGO Monitor understands that the Swiss Mission in Geneva has invited Nord Sud XXI to join a NGO discussion to be held on Tuesday, November 18, about the Durban Review Conference.

I am attaching a copy of our report about this invitation, which NGO Monitor will be publishing on Monday, November 17, 2008, along with a press release. To avoid errors or misunderstandings, we would appreciate receiving your comments, corrections, or comments on this issue in the next few days.

NGO Monitor (
www.ngo-monitor.org) was founded to provide critical debate and accountability regarding the political activities of non-governmental organizations. We have over 11,000 subscribers, and are frequently quoted in the press, academic publications, by NGO officials and donors, and in governmental and parliamentary discussions.

We look forward to further communication and cooperation on these important issues.

Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg
Executive Director, NGO Monitor


November 11, 2008

NGO Monitor understands that the Swiss Mission in Geneva has invited Nord Sud XXI to join a NGO discussion about Durban to be held on Tuesday, November 18.  Not only is Nord Sud XXI a group that has given an award to a convicted French Holocaust denier (Roger Garaudy, in 2002) and other anti-Semites, but it is a leader of the global campaign for a "NGO Forum" at the 2009 Durban II conference, by which it seeks to replicate the 2001 hatefest.

A number of leading Swiss newspapers have documented how Nord Sud XXI is a front organization for the anti-Semitic Moammar Kadhafi Human Rights Prize. According to Le Temps, "The Kadhafi Prize [for Human Rights] is managed in Geneva by North-South 21, which claims to be an organization for the defense of human rights. . . . It is worth noting that North-South 21 does not want to mention the financial investment of Tripoli in the Geneva center. The organization issues many periodicals and other publications but none mentions the name of the provider of funds..." See "Un deuxième spectacle autour du Prix Kadhafi," Le Temps, 30 août 2000.  See also "Les Noirs demandent réparation pour l'esclavage," Le Temps, 7 août 2001 (describing North-South XXI as "an NGO installed in Geneva and tied to Libya" and discussing a symposium "ordered and financed by Libya through North-South XXI.")

Nord Sud XXI often seeks to disguise and hide its Libyan connections ­ as in a recent letter to the UN here ­ but in other places they admit it.  For example: "Nord-Sud XXI had been mandated to manage the Khaddafi Prize for years, as confirmed by Ahmad Soueissi, Nord-Sud's managing director." Neue Zürcher Zeitung, June 25, 2006. Indeed, the prize's own website admits the connection:  "The [Kadhafi] Prize has other organizations such as the Geneva-based Society of North-South -21 for cultural dialogue..."  Qaddafi was never known for his consistency.

In other words, there is no doubt that Nord Sud XXI is part of (or identical to) the Kadhadi Prize organization, (to follow the details, it is often necessary to look for multiple spellings of the Libyan dictator's name.) And there is also no doubt of the group's hateful actions, which were documented exhaustively in this report by UN Watch, and in a recent Azure essay. Operating under the name of "Nord Sud XXI," it has been leading the global lobbying campaign for a "NGO Forum" hatefest at Durban II ­ see timeline here.

All of which leads to serious questions concerning the role of the Swiss government in courting this notorious GNGO (governmental NGO)? After Qaddafi's son Hannibal was arrested in Geneva this summer for violently abusing his servants ­ and then received the full backing of Libya ­ why is the Swiss government now granting legitimacy to one of this regime's most notorious propaganda organizations? More to the point, why are the Swiss inviting a group that celebrates convicted Holocaust deniers to a planning meeting for the "World Conference Against Racism"? Perhaps the Geneva version of Durban, with Swiss government involvement, will be as hatefilled as the 2001 session, or worse?

#2 Embassy of Switzerland reply

Dear Prof. Steinberg, Dear Dr. Lerner

Thank you for your e-mails which I would like to answer as follows: The Swiss Mission to the UN in Geneva is organizing on a regular base meetings with the various actors of the civil society present in Geneva, among those also a variety of NGO's representing the Jewish community. One of the next meetings will be dedicated to the process leading to the Durban Review Conference taking place in Geneva in April 2009.  Those meetings are open to all NGO's having the ECOSOC status and following the issue, independent of their respective positions. Nord-Sud XXI obtained the ECOSOC status just like 3187 other NGO's and can therefore participate in all multilateral meetings to which this status gives access. Switzerland considers the civil society an important actor in the field of promotion and protection of human rights. Switzerland is therefore engaged in a critical dialogue with many NGO's. An invitation sent to a NGO to participate in a meeting can under no circumstances be interpreted as a support of the position of the respective NGO.

Kind regards,

Monika Schmutz Kirgöz
Deputy Head of Mission

Embassy of Switzerland
228 Hayarkon Str.
P.O. Box 6068, 61060 Tel Aviv

Tel: +972 3 546 44 55 ext. 212/231
Fax: +972 3 546 44 08

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

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