Sweden Boycotts Racism Conference

Sweden has decided not to send any official representatives to the UN conference on racism that will be hold in South Africa. A major problem for many countries was the initial paper which presented issues to be discussed and since only Israel was cited as a violator of human rights it did raise questions as to the composition of those deciding what could be discussed. However, Swedish Integration Minister Nyamko Subini said her country wanted to “send clear signals about what is acceptable, in this case, we are not going to legitimise the non-democratic powers in place at the ministerial level.” She was concerned that opponents of human rights such as President Ahmadinejad of Iran will be a dominant figure at the conference.

Although, one can sympathize with her views, in the marketplace of ideas the best approach is to confront those like the Iranian president who is a hypocrite on human rights by citing in public the continued violations of rights in his country. Similar views could be expressed about religious fanatics in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan who abuse the rights of non-Muslims.