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Archived updates for Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Race Card Played in WIPO Debate Over Future of Director General

According to William New, writing for "Intellectual Property Watch" on October 17, 2007, "the African Group of nations at WIPO raised the stakes in the debate [over WIPO Director General Idris's alleged age misrepresentation on official documents] with a press communiqué calling the attempt mainly by developed countries to get Idris to resign a racist and xenophobic attack."
. . . The communiqué, dated 11 October and reportedly circulated to member governments and bearing no signature, referenced a cartoon it said had been
circulated in Geneva that depicts Idris in a racist way. According to the communiqué, the cartoon showed Idris against a background of a Swiss flag as a black sheep being kicked out of a group of white sheep. This is a reflection of the highly charged political poster used by the far-right Swiss People’s Party of Christoph Blocher, the Swiss justice minister, who campaigns on an anti-immigration platform. Blocher’s poster has contributed to uncommon riots and other violence in the lead-up to the 21 October general election in the country.

“The ultimate message of this cartoon which should be condemned and repudiated by all, as it was with the afore-mentioned campaign poster, is that there can be security in WIPO and Switzerland only when black people are kicked out, since the white sheep kicking Dr. Idris out bears the WIPO logo,” the communiqué said.

The complete African Group Communiqué on Idris is available to IPW subscribers, here.

The "Cincinnatus" WIPO Staff Appeal on Idris (in French and English) has now been signed by 230 employees and is available to IPW subscribers here, with allusion to the humble Roman farmer who, within sixteen day of being chosen a dictator, led a defeat of the Roman army and then resigned his position so that he could return to his fields in order to feed his family. More on "Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus" at, here

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