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Statement by Ms. Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on speech by President of Iran at Durban Review Conference

The following comments may be ascribed to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay:

"I utterly deplore the speech of the President of Iran delivered this afternoon at the Durban Review Conference against racism.

I condemn the use of a UN forum for political grandstanding. I find this totally objectionable.

Much of his speech was clearly beyond the scope of the Conference. It also clearly went against the long-standing UN position adopted by the General Assembly with respect to equating Zionism with racism.

The best riposte for this type of event is to reply and correct, not to withdraw and boycott the Conference."

Geneva, 20 April 2009