Theme 1: Sources, cause, forms and contemporary manifestations of racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance
Theme 2: Victims of racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance
Theme 3: Measures of prevention, education and protection aimed at the eradication of racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance at the national, regional and international levels
Theme 4: Provision for effective remedies, recourses, redress, [compensatory] and other measures at the national, regional and international levels
Theme 5: Strategies to achieve full and effective equality, including international cooperation and enhancement of the United Nations and other international mechanisms in combating racism, racial discrimination, [and] xenophobia
The Conference featured, most prominently, an NGO Forum that focused a disproportionate share of its attention and condemnation on the policies and alleged transgressions of Israel and the United States. Members of the Palestinian Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, also known by the acronym LAW (Land And Water), were on the Conference steering committee and played a key role in narrowing the focus of both the NGO Forum and the overall Conference mainly to Israel, America, and Jews.
At the NGO Forum, Jewish delegates were verbally and physically harassed. The Forum featured sales of the 19th Century anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, as well as numerous displays of flyers that asked (approvingly), "WHAT IF HITLER HAD WON?" Featured speakers repeatedly compared contemporary Israel to apartheid South Africa. The Forum culminated in the production of a WCAR NGO Forum Declaration, which was finalized on September 3, 2001 and made the following assertions:
Having made the foregoing charges against Israel, the NGO Forum called for all participating nations to help bring about: (a) "an increased awareness of the root causes of … Israel’s belligerent occupation and systematic human rights violations as a racist, apartheid system, through relevant UN agencies working closely with international civil society networks to widely disseminate information including educational packs for schools and universities, films and publications"; (b) "the launch of an international anti-Israeli Apartheid movement as implemented against South African Apartheid through a global solidarity campaign network … and [an end to] the conspiracy of silence among states, particularly the European Union and the United States"; (c) "a policy of complete and total isolation [by the international community] of Israel as an apartheid state as in the case of South Africa, which means the imposition of mandatory and comprehensive sanctions and embargoes, the full cessation of all links (diplomatic, economic, social, aid, military cooperation and training) between all states and Israel"; and (d) "condemnation of those states who are supporting, aiding and abetting the Israeli Apartheid state and its perpetration of racist crimes against humanity including ethnic cleansing, acts of genocide."
The secondary agenda of the WCAR was to extract Western cash as compensation for slavery, the slave trade, colonialism, and the vaguely defined "economic and political exclusion" of various peoples. Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi inadvertently revealed a central purpose of the Durban Conference when he offered his opinion on who should pay reparations for slavery: "The whites must pay." American NGOs likewise supported reparations from Western nations for the historic transatlantic slave trade and developed resolutions that condemned only the West for its past slaving activities.
The NGOs further endorsed a resolution denouncing free market capitalism as a "fundamentally flawed system."
Because of the aforementioned, disproportionate attacks on Israel and the United States, both of those countries pulled their delegations from the WCAR. Australia and Canada each made statements accusing the Conference of "hypocrisy." The Candian statement read, in part, as follows: "Canada is still here today only because we wanted to have our voice decry the attempts at this Conference to de-legitimize the State of Israel and to dishonor the history and suffering of the Jewish people. We believe, and we have said in the clearest possible terms, that it was inappropriate -- wrong -- to address the Palestinian-Israel conflict in this forum. We have said, and will continue to say, that anything -- any process, any declaration, any language -- presented in any forum that does not serve to advance a negotiated peace that will bring security, dignity and respect to the people of the region is -- and will be -- unacceptable to Canada."
In April 2009, a second WCAR (commonly referred to as "Durban II) was held in Geneva, Switzerland.