Thirdly, earlier this year, we attended the WFD Congress in South Korea. During the congress, there was a General Assembly where we receive updates and vote on things, including the location of the next Congress.
The process is that countries put in their bids, two WFD board
and one WFDYS board member travel to these countries and inspect the sites and interview the nominees, before approving.
This year they also made the decision to provide a recommendation.
This year, three countries bidded – Nigeria in Africa, Norway in Europe and United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Middle East.
In the congress, WFD Board recommended UAE. The UAE won the bid.
However, there were questions about human rights, particularly regarding the 2SLGBTIQA+SB community, commonly referred to as 'Queer.'
21 countries (19 signatories), including Australia, wrote a motion for a request for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to ask questions about the bidding process and to ask all three bidders to answer questions on human rights.
WFD accepted and an EGM was held on Saturday, from 9pm – 2.30am Melbourne time, which was a long night. Our intention was never to have a re-vote, but to clarify things, however we did write the word ‘vote’ in the motion – but it is important to remember that English is a second, third, fourth language for the majority of people in the world.
During this process, the agenda was around topics such as accepting the voting procedures and more.
1. Should the WFD Board be responsible for deciding whether bids meet human rights and then deciding whether they can be approved for voting by the members?
2. Which country would win the next Congress location?
So, that's the summary up to this point.
I had two Board members come to my home to watch together. Two of us voted while one observed. Sherrie Beaver, the vice-chairperson, and Karthik Vijayanandam as an observer joined me for the EGM. The three of us were together all night, and we asked questions.
I would like to bring up a personal comment: there have been a lot of comments and fear about women in UAE, stuff like can women go to UAE? Do they have to attend with a man? Is it safe to go? Can women present? I believe this is Islamophobia. I think this is directly related to a fear or inappropriate beliefs about religion, Muslim, and Islam. This needs to stop. Don't aim to burden women; however, there are a few extremists. Please conduct some research before making public claims and statements about this. That's what I wanted to share with you all.
Let's return to the Extraordinary General Meeting procedure from last Saturday. Three hours prior to the EGM, WFD released an open letter which I will attach. responding to some allegations from Norway in their magazines about the process of the bids and votes in Korea. WFD had tried to respond to them and get them to print a retraction, but apparently were not listened to, which is why they released the open letter.
On the night, Nigeria withdrew their bid, saying that there was
a fair democratic process where the UAE won in Korea. Norway removed their bid because of this open letter from the WFD. This meant UAE was the only country in the running.
Please remember that the Board agreed that we don't want to hold a re-vote. We wanted to ask questions for clarification before accepting that the UAE has won the bid.
So, we voted on two main issues during this process: the WFD and the country's bid. We all agreed that we don't want WFD to accept bids from countries with poor human rights records. We, as members, want to be the ones making this decision, not the WFD. That covers the first part. As for the second part, the country's bid.
We are not allowed and won’t ask for another EGM to happen again. We accept that a democratic process has happened. That is what happened. Does this mean I will ignore any of your objections? No, I welcome your feedback and also continue to relay this to WFD to ensure that the next Congress is successful. Thank you.