Recruited. Wiesel
Photo: AP
Natan Sharansky
Photo: Yotam Frum
Sharansky, Wiesel to help counter 'Durban II' conference
Human rights groups enlist help of prominent members of Jewish community and survivors of torture ahead of next week's divisive UN conference on racism

WASHINGTON - Prominent members of the Jewish community and survivors of racially-motivated torture from Africa, Cuba and Burma have joined an unprecedented campaign, led by a coalition of 40 human rights groups from around the world, to present human rights and discrimination issues that the world community should address when they gather next week.


Known as 'Durban II,' the conference is to be held in Geneva next week.


The events will be held alongside demonstrations various Jewish groups are expected to hold in protest of the conference's agenda, which is expected to be anti-Israeli in nature.


One of the organizations behind the summit is UN Watch.


Established 15 years ago, UN Watch's mission is to monitor the performance of the United Nations "by the yardstick of its own charter". UN Watch is heading a coalition of numerous non-governmental organizations that will attempt to prevent Iran, Cuba and other countries from hijacking the conference's agenda.


Prominent members of the Jewish community, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Eli Wiesel, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy and former prisoner of Zion and Israeli minister and Natan Sharansky are expected to attend a number of events that will be held on the sidelines of the 'Durban II' conference, which will kick off on Sunday.


As part of the effort to raise public awareness to the issues of discrimination and racially-motivated torture, an event dubbed the "Geneva Summit for Human Rights, Tolerance and Democracy" will be held a day before the "Durban II" conference convenes.


Invited speakers include survivors of the genocide in Rwanda and former dissidents from Iran, Cuba and Myanmar.


In addition, a Holocaust memorial service, organized by the Jewish Community of Geneva is set to be held on Monday at Geneva's Palace of Nations.


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