David Littman was the recipient of the "Hero of Silence" Order from the Israeli government for his undercover work in getting 530 little Jewish children out of Morocco and into Israel in 1961.
ASSOCIATION FOR WORLD EDUCATION
WORLD UNION FOR PROGRESSIVE JUDAISM
UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL (2nd Session: 19 to 30 October 2009)
Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards
President: Ambassador Idriss Jazaïry (Algeria)
STATEMENT: Representative David G. LITTMAN – Tuesday (@ 5:15pm) 27 October 2009
People under foreign occupation, slavery, genocide, etc.
Proposals on the format and nature of possible complementary standards to be elaborated
(Summary drafted from notes used to deliver a 4th oral statement on 27 October)
[documentation provided below in [ ] brackets & notes were not pronounced in the 2 minutes statement]
Transatlantic Slavery / Arab Slave Trade / Slavery Today
Thank you, Mr President.
We would like to react strongly to what we have just heard from a distinguished African delegate, praising highly the Durban Declaration as a unique text, and stating that Western countries should be reminded constantly of the trans-Atlantic slavery trade and should pay a heavy compensation for what they had done over centuries.
Yes, we should not hesitate to recognise and condemn the horrors that accompanied transatlantic slavery, the Inquisition, imperialism, colonialism and much more too, but it is strange that there is never an attempt to acknowledge what happened elsewhere.
The African Union does not address the infamous Arab Slave Trade, which – as we stated at the Durban II Conference six months ago – was committed against Africans by their Arab conquerors for over a millennium, and this continues today in some countries, especially Sudan. And there was also mass slavery for centuries elsewhere – in the Middle East, and the Balkans by the Ottomans with the Janissaries, and the Barbary Corsairs.*
The African Union, the Arab League, OIC [Organization of the Islamic Conference] and the NAM [Non-Aligned Movement] prefer to ignore these horrors in Africa today in Congo, Sudan, and elsewhere. They stick together and remain ‘united’. We wish to state here again, as we have done over the years, that it is necessary to call a spade a spade and a slave a slave! For many years it was a taboo subject to refer to the slavery of Christians and animists in South Sudan – one was expected, by Sudan**, to refer to ‘abducted persons’ – and now slavery continues in Darfur with the worst form of atrocities, and elsewhere. Why should this subject remain taboo?
Thank you, Sir.
* Documented extensively in Arab, Syriac, Greek, Armenian, Turkish and Indian texts.
** The delegate of Sudan requested a ‘right of reply’ and condemned the speaker for provoking “an insidious discussion.” The president then asked all speakers not to focus on their vision and to accept the mandate of this body and adopt “a convenient approach” – as the Ad Hoc Committee had a specific exercise and “this is not a general debate.” He said that he did not wish to interrupt speakers. The president did not interrupt any speaker and NGOs spoke whenever they wished.