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GENEVA, October 1, 2015 - Saudi Arabia has managed to block a Dutch-led draft resolution at the UN Human Rights Council that would have dispatched the UN rights office to investigate possible war crimes by the Saudis, Iran-backed Houthis and others, in the conflict in Yemen.
Instead, Saudi Arabia has sponsored its own softball resolution which classifies the entire war — with more than 2,300 killed — as a matter of “technical cooperation.”
“For those asking why it matters when Saudi Arabia wins a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, or when the misogynistic monarchy is chosen to head one of the council’s key committees, now we know,” said Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director. “The fundamentalist regime has just used its power on the UN council to give itself a free pass, and the people of Yemen will continue paying the price.”
For more on the U.S. position, informed by its direct support for the Saudi-led bombing attacks in Yemen, see this AP report.
The UN falsely claims that nothing could have been done to stop the world’s most misogynistic regime from being allowed to head a UN human rights committee that selects experts. In 2003, that’s the same line they tried to push in defense of electing Qaddafi’s Libyan regime — except the American government showed then that in fact it could challenge the system and call a vote. Sadly, Europe refused to join the US (only Canada and Guatemala did), and the rest is history.
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ELECTS CHAIRPERSON AND BUREAU FOR FIFTY-NINTH SESSION
Najat Al-Hajjaji of Libya Elected Chairperson by Secret Ballot
of 33 in Favor and 3 Opposed, with 17 Abstentions
The Commission on Human Rights — meeting this morning under a new procedure two months in advance of its annual six-week session — elected Najat Al-Hajjaji of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya as Chairperson for 2003, along with three Vice-Chairpersons and a Rapporteur.
Ms. Al-Hajjaji was elected by a secret ballot of 33 in favour and 3 opposed, with 17 abstaining among the Commission’s 53 member countries.
The vote, requested by the United States, was unusual — Chairpersons are usually elected by acclamation.
In an address following the ballot, Ms. Al-Hajjaji said among other things that the Commission must send a message that it would deal with human rights in all countries, and not just some of them; that it would take into account in its activities the world’s many different religious, cultural and historical backgrounds; and that among its tasks was to affirm the universality, indivisibility, and complementarity of human rights Continue reading ‘From the Archives: Qaddafi’s Libya wins presidency of UN human rights commission’
Q – What is the UN Human Rights Council’s Consultative Group (CG)?
A – According to the UNHRC’s 2007 Institution Building Package, this is a 5-member committee that performs a key role in the selection of what are now 77 top human rights investigators and advisers serving the Human Rights Council:
47. A consultative group would be established to propose to the President, at least one month before the beginning of the session in which the Council would consider the selection of mandate‑holders, a list of candidates who possess the highest qualifications for the mandates in question and meet the general criteria and particular requirements.
48. The consultative group shall also give due consideration to the exclusion of nominated candidates from the public list of eligible candidates brought to its attention.
49. At the beginning of the annual cycle of the Council, Regional Groups would be invited to appoint a member of the consultative group, who would serve in his/her personal capacity. The Group will be assisted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
50. The consultative group will consider candidates included in the public list; however, under exceptional circumstances and if a particular post justifies it, the Group may consider additional nominations with equal or more suitable qualifications for the post. Recommendations to the President shall be public and substantiated.
51. The consultative group should take into account, as appropriate, the views of stakeholders, including the current or outgoing mandate-holders, in determining the necessary expertise, experience, skills, and other relevant requirements for each mandate.
52. On the basis of the recommendations of the consultative group and following broad consultations, in particular through the regional coordinators, the President of the Council will identify an appropriate candidate for each vacancy. The President will present to member States and observers a list of candidates to be proposed at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the session in which the Council will consider the appointments.
53. If necessary, the President will conduct further consultations to ensure the endorsement of the proposed candidates. The appointment of the special procedures mandate-holders will be completed upon the subsequent approval of the Council. Mandate-holders shall be appointed before the end of the session.
Officially, then, the ambassadors who are members of the influential CG serve in their “personal capacity.” In practice, however, for many members it is known that this is hardly the case. Members are in frequent contact with, and generally reflect the views of, their respective regional groups — and in certain documented cases they even abuse their positions on the CG to subvert the integrity of the selection process and advance their own government’s preferred candidates.
Q – How did the Saudi Ambassador get to the CG in the first place?
A – The root cause of the scandal came in in November 2013, when the UN’s elected Saudi Arabia to be one of the 47 members of the Human Rights Council, by an overwhelming majority of 140 votes — meaning, more than two-thirds of the General Assemby supported the misgonystic theocracy. This gave Saudi Arabia key influence at the UNHRC, and elevated its Geneva profile.
Exactly one year later, in November 2014, Kazakhstan — another dictatorship that sits on the UNHRC — sent a letter to the UNHRC president announcing that the Asian-Pacific Group on Human Rights had “nominated” the Saudi ambassador for membership on the CG for 2015.
Less than three months later, in February 2015, the Saudi ambassador was declared to be the Vice-Chairperson of the CG.
Q – How is the Chairperson of the Consultative Group (CG) selected?
A – The UN has never revealed the process of how the CG chooses its head (last year it was called “Chair,” and now it is “Chairperson”), though presumably it is done by the five members of the CG, acting by consensus vote.
Interestingly, the UN human rights office this week, under pressure from world outrage over the Saudi chairmanship, insisted — in a grossly misleading and self-serving statement signed by no person or entity — that countries like Saudi Arabia merely “assumed the chair” on a “rotating basis.” The UN’s attempt to use passive language and render the act automatic was quite deliberate.
This is all confusing, however, given that in 2014 the Chair served for one full year, whereas this year, while the Chilean ambassador Marta Mauras was initally announced as the Chairperson for 2015, she in the end only served for one session when, ahead of the June 2015 session, the CG suddenly “designated” Saudi ambassafor Faisal Trad as the Chairperson, “for this selection cycle.”
There was no explanation why the Chilean ambassador did not sit out the full 2015 term.
Moreover, in September 2015, instead of a new Chairperson appearing for the next selection cycle, it emerged that, for yet another selection cycle, the Consultative Group decided that Saudi ambassador Trad would “continue serving as Chairperson.”
If there is a rotation, why does the CG need to “designate” anyone? Why does the Chilean get announced as the 2015 Chair, then serve only one selection cycle, while the Saudi sits for two?
Saudi Arabia has sponsored its own softball UNHRC resolution on the Yemen conflict in order to supplant a Dutch-led draft resolution that would dispatch the UN rights office to investigate possible war crimes by the Saudis, Iran-backed Houthis and others.
For more on the U.S. position, informed by its direct support for the Saudi-led bombing attacks in Yemen, see this AP report.
Acting in its capacity as chair of the largest group of nations at the UN Human Rights Council, the Islamic Republic of Iran has just submitted a resolution that reaffirms the peculiar notion that adoption of sanctions against another country is a violation of human rights and of international law, known in UN-speak as “unilateral coercive measures.”
Earlier this year, the UNHRC’s infamous Consultative Group, with Saudi Arabia’s Faisal Trad then serving merely as Vice-President, successfully picked Algerian hardliner Idriss Jazairy — famous for his efforts as a former diplomat to enact a UNHRC “code of conduct” to intimidate independent human rights experts — as the new “Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures.”
Jazairy has already accused the U.S. and Europe of being leading human rights violators due to their use of sanctions against countries like Iran and Zimbabwe.
Indeed, many of the resolutions adopted at each session of the UNHRC are sponsored by Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, Algeria, and other non-democracies, and are designed to demonize the West, free market economies, individual rights, or Israel, as part of a strategy to deflect attention from council members who are guilty of subjugating women, trampling religious freedom, persecuting gays, oppressing ethnic minorities and promoting relgious extremism.
Saudi Arabia pledged $1 million to the UN human rights office before it won a seat on the UN Human Rights Council in November 2013, paving the way for its chairmanship — just announced by the UN last week on September 17th — of the influential UNHRC committee that interiews and shortlists candidates to become UN human rights investigators.
From the Saudi pre-election submission:
42. Should Saudi Arabia be selected as a member for the period 2014-2016, it pledges to continue to support tirelessly the work of the Human Rights Council. It will continue to adhere to Human Rights Council resolutions, cooperate with its mechanisms and actively participate in its work during its regular and special sessions and in the session of the Social Forum.
43. Saudi Arabia furthermore affirms its commitment to:
• Continue to shoulder its humanitarian responsibility to protect and promote human rights at the national level by enacting legislation and establishing mechanisms that strengthen the institutional framework for human rights, and by adopting best practices in the field of human rights;
• Support the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights by contributing $1 million over a period of five years, starting 2012, in order to enable the Office to carry out its work and activities, including work referred to it by the Human Rights Council;
• Support the human rights bodies and mechanisms of the United Nations and cooperate constructively with them, particularly the Human Rights Council and its subsidiary mechanisms, including the universal periodic review mechanism, so as to ensure their continuation and success. These bodies provide assessments of the human rights situation in the world that call on States to cooperate with one another and benefit from each other’s experience, and constitute a single forum for dialogue among States that is conducive to the exchange of best practices and experiences in the field of human rights;
• Cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the specialized agencies of the United Nations with regard to meeting the country’s training needs in the protection of human rights, building national capacity and identifying additional ways of protecting and promoting human rights.
As chair of the UNHRC Consultative Group, the Saudi government has access to unique information and influence. Certain members of the powerful consultative group have in the past used their positions to unfairly privilege their preferred candidates.
Most famously, Morocco’s ambassador in 2014, according to a leaked cable, faxed to his ministry a confidential document outlining the entire interview procedure and questions that Houria Es-Slami, a candidate from Morocco, would be asked.
Coincidentally, we are certain, Ms. Es-Slami then succeeded in obtaining the consultative group’s top ranking, and now sits on the UN working group on disappearances.
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) September 19, 2015
UN Watch is outraged that the UN Human Rights Council chose Saudi Arabia, despite its abysmal record, to play a key role in picking the world body’s global human rights monitors on violence against women, arbitrary detention and the independence of judges. For our full statement, click here. Continue reading ‘Saudi chair of UNHRC panel vetted experts on women’s rights, arbitrary detention, independence of judges’
Left: Faisal Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Geneva,
has been elected Chair of the UN Human Rights Council
panel that appoints independent experts. Right: Michael Møller,
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.
GENEVA, September 20, 2015 – U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and EU foreign minister Federica Mogherini should condemn and work to reverse the appointment of Saudi Arabia as head of a key UN Human Rights Council panel that selects top officials who shape international human rights standards and report on violations worldwide, said UN Watch, a non-governmental watchdog organization based in Geneva.
“It is scandalous that the UN chose a country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS to be head of a key human rights panel,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. “Petro-dollars and politics have trumped human rights.”
“Saudi Arabia has arguably the worst record in the world when it comes to religious freedom and women’s rights, and continues to imprison the innocent blogger Raif Badawi,” Neuer added.
“This UN appointment is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief, and underscores the credibility deficit of a human rights council that already counts Russia, Cuba, China, Qatar and Venezuela among its elected members.” Continue reading ‘Again: Saudi Arabia Elected Chair of UN Human Rights Council Panel’
Above: Antisemitic image posted on Facebook by Majed Al-Zeer,
Chairman of the Hamas-linked Palestinian Return Centre,
which today us hosting an UNRWA official at its Geneva panel.
He deleted it after exposed by UN Watch.
GENEVA, September 17, 2015 - UN Watch urged UNRWA, the relief agency for Palestinians, not to legitimize a Hamas front group known as the “Palestinian Return Center” (PRC) and to stop its Brussels-based representative Elena Mancusi-Materi from addressing a panel event organized today at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“By legitimizing a known Hamas front group, this incident only underscores the serious questions raised recently about UNRWA’s neutrality in light of its failure to discipline at least a dozen UNRWA officials who, as documented in our report, are spreading racial hatred and inciting to terrorism on the Internet,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the non-governmental Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch.
“UNRWA received more than $600 million from the U.S., the UK, and the EU in 2014 alone,” said Neuer. “Where is the accountability?”
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh recently congratulated the PRC for managing to win UN status as a NGO, despite all the leading democracies on ECOSOC voting against them, including the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Australia, Italy and Austria.
The PRC and its leadership have extensive, documented ties with Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union, Canada, Israel, Japan, and the United States, and, its armed wing is designated a terrorist organization by Australia and the United Kingdom. PRC leaders also celebrated the Hamas kidnapping of three Israeli teens, cheered Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, and threatened “punishment” for PLO President and Hamas rival Mahmoud Abbas.
Just two years ago, Egypt killed 1,000 people in one day. Now they seek a seat on the UN Security Council. Of course, they will get it. The vote at the UNGA is next month.
GENEVA, September 11, 2015 - The United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom were asked today to take action at a UN session that opens on Monday to suspend Venezuela from its membership on the world body’s 47-nation Human Rights Council, in reaction to the controversial Caracas verdict of 13 years in jail issued yesterday against opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, and over other “gross and systematic violations of human rights.”
The draft resolution (HTML version) was submitted today to the four influential UNHRC member states by the Geneva-based non-governmental organization UN Watch, which recently invited Mr. Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, to address the council.
The text calls for the dispatch of an independent commission of inquiry to Venezuela, and for the suspension of Venezuela from the council, which has a precedent in the UNHRC’s 2011 ousting of Libya’s Gaddafi regime from its membership.
“Venezuela’s verdict, following a trial that denied basic due process to the defendant, is a travesty of justice that exemplifies the Maduro government’s gross and systematic violation of its own citizen’s basic rights and freedoms,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.
“When the jailer of a human rights hero is allowed to sit as a world judge of human rights, it’s like having a pyromaniac as the town fire chief. It’s absurd, and casts a shadow upon the reputation of the United Nation as a whole,” said Neuer.
The U.S., France, Germany or the UK will now have time to consider and, if they choose, to revise the text, hold informal consultation with fellow member states and observer states, and then submit it formally to the council by September 28th. Voting on resolutions begin on Oct. 1.
Venezuela would likely be backed by Russia, China, Cuba, and several other dictatorships on the council, but Neuer said that a majority or plurality could be found “if democracies act in concert.”
A decision of the Council to suspend Venezuela would then need to be ratified by the UN General Assembly in New York, which is likely to ensue once the action enjoys sufficient support from the Geneva-based Council.
The suspension could later be reversed if Venezuela is found to be in compliance with the resolution and its obligation as a UNHRC member to uphold “the highest standards of human rights.”
UN Watch and the Situation of Human Rights in Venzuela
UN Watch was founded in 1993 by the late civil rights leader Morris Abram, and has been a leading voice for human rights in Venezuela, providing a global platform to relatives of Mr. Lopez, to former political prisoners, dissidents, human rights advocates, student leaders, and democracy protest organizers. UN Watch organizes the annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy with 20 other NGOs.
June 30, 2015
GENEVA, Sept. 11, 2015 - The following proposed resolution to suspend Venezuela from the United Nations Human Rights Council, was submitted today by UN Watch to the following member states for them to table it at the UNHRC session opening on 14 September 2015: the United States, France, Germany, and the UK.
Draft Resolution for the
United Nations Human Rights Council
30th Session, September 14-25, 2015
Situation of Human Rights in Venezuela
The Human Rights Council,
Guided by the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and recalling the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments,
Reaffirming that all Member States have an obligation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and the duty to fulfil the obligations they have undertaken under the various international instruments in this field,
Gravely concerned that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has severely restricted freedom of expression, prosecuted government critics, inhibited the activities of human rights organizations, and undermined the independence of its judiciary, thereby creating a chilling effect amongst the general public and media at large within Venezuela, Continue reading ‘Draft UNHRC Resolution to Suspend Venezuela from its Membership’
By virtue of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, and the UN Charter, the U.S. Federal Court has ruled that “the UN is immune from suit unless it expressly waives its immunity.”
Likewise, the Appeal Court in The Hague ruled that “the UN has been granted the most far-reaching immunity, in the sense that the UN cannot be brought before any national court of law in the countries that are a party to the Convention.”
Faced with compelling evidence of UNRWA personnel inciting to anti-Semitism and violence, spokesman Chris Gunness has responded with a campaign of attacks against UN Watch, reminiscent of the smear campaigns of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy.
UNWRA spokesperson Chris Gunness promised to fire UNRWA officials who promote antisemitic violence, a pledge that will be put to the test this week as UN Watch submits detailed evidence of such incitement to the United Nations.
Gunness’ comments were made in response to information documented two weeks ago by the blogger Elder of Ziyon.
Gunness’ comments, recorded at 4:00 in the video above, from August 19, 2o15:
If there are allegations, and if this is true, it is indeed a very big problem, and we will deal with it. Where we find credible allegations of neutrality violations among our staff, we investigate and where it’s appropriate we take disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. And that process is audited by our major donors, with the United States and the European Union who are the biggest suporters of Israel on the international stage.
GENEVA, September 1, 2015 - UN Watch released a new report today documenting 12 different Facebook accounts operated by UNRWA officials (see images below) that openly incite to antisemitism and terrorism, and urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNRWA chief Pierre Krähenbühl to terminate the responsible officials, condemn the offending posts, and establish a commission of inquiry, comprised of representatives of top donor states (see chart at right), to investigate the culture of impunity for perpetrators of racism and incitement that pervades UNRWA.
“The pattern and practice of UNRWA school principals, teachers and staff members posting antisemitic and terror-inciting images suggests a pathology of racism and violence within UNRWA that must be rooted out, not buried, as UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness has attempted to do by calling for boycotts of newspapers or NGOs that report these incidents of hate,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental Geneva watchdog organization.
“The UN must recognize that these disgusting posts, published on Facebook accounts run by people who identify themselves as UNRWA officials, constitute a gross violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits “incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence,” said Neuer.
“Enough of the UNRWA strategy of impunity, denial and deflection. It’s time for the perpetrators to be held to account. They must be fired — immediately.”
UNRWA Officials Who Should be Fired For Posting Violent & Antisemitic Images
1. Ahmed Fathi Bader, identifying himself as a Deputy School Principal at UNRWA (screenshot), posted the photo above (screenshot) and praised the murder of “a group of collaborators with the Jews,” an incident strongly condemned by Amnesty International and other human rights groups, saying how much it “pleased” him.
Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Ahmed Fathi Bader for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violence and terrorism.
2. Mohammed Abu Staita, who identifies himself on Facebook as working for UNRWA (captured here), posted the cartoon above (screenshot) on November 8, 2014, depicting a hook-nosed, black-clad, ultra-Orthodox Jew, with long Chasidic earlocks and a black hat stamped with a Star of David, cowering behind a tree, as the tree alerts an excited, gun-wielding Palestinian to the Jew’s presence.
(The Islamic legend depicted above features in Article 7 of the Hamas Charter: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews and kill them, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”)
Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Mohammed Abu Staita for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violence and terrorism.
3. Ramy Alshorbasy, who identifies himself as a teacher at UNRWA (captured here), last month posted the above anti-Semitic photo (screenshot), in which a cabal of cackling ultra-Orthodox Jews, crudely stereotyped with claws and earlocks, laugh at the fate of Palestinian babies.
Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Ramy Alshorbasy for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violent anti-Semitism and terrorism.
4. Abed Abuashraf, on the same Facebook account where he identifies himself as an UNRWA official (screenshot), advocates peeling Israel off the world map, to be violently replaced by a Palestinian state, in the two images (captured here and here) that he posted below, on July 10 and 13, 2014.
Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Abed Abuashraf for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violence and terrorism.
5. Wael Sallouh, who identifies himself as working for UNRWA on his Facebook page (screenshot), posted the photo below (also here) on June 16, 2014, to celebrate the kidnapping, four days’ prior, of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas terrorists. The cartoon shows a Palestinian prisoner taunting a frightened and sniveling Israeli guard by holding up three fingers, the symbol used last year by Palestinians to celebrate the abduction of the Israeli boys, who were later found murdered.
Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Wael Sallouh for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violence and terrorism.
6. Mohammed A. Elhafi, who identifies himself on Facebook (screenshot) as an employee at UNRWA, posted this photo (below and here) condoning violence, on December 31 2011, in which the word “Fatah” is written so as to incorporate a rifle. The Arabic caption underneath includes an exhortation to violence: “long live revolution”.
Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Mohammed A. Elhafi for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violence and breaches neutrality.
7. Nasreen Hammoud, who on her Facebook page (screenshot) says that she works for UNRWA, uploaded this cartoon (captured here and below), to Facebook on August 2, 2014. Israel, characterized by a man wearing a bib emblazoned with a Star of David, is seen feasting on a helpless Palestinian child with the aid of a U.S. Star-Spangled fork, and drinking his blood. Concern about this post has already been documented elsewhere, yet it remains active.
Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Nasreen Hammoud for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes anti-Semitism and breaches neutrality.
8. Fala Sala, identifying himself on Facebook (screenshot) as a teacher at UNRWA schools, posted the image below on May 15, 2014, in which Israel and the Palestinian territories are depicted as one State of Palestine. (Image also visible here.)
Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Fala Sala for using the name of UNRWA on an account that breaches neutrality.
9. Mohamad Essa, who identifies himself as an UNRWA employee on his Facebook page (screenshot), posted the cartoon below (also captured here) on November 18, 2014, glorifying a gruesome terrorist attack on a Jerusalem synagogue of the same day. Two Palestinian men entered the crowded synagogue of Kehilat Bnei Torah, killing four worshipers at the scene while a further victim, a Druze Israeli police officer, died of his wounds in hospital.
Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Mohamed Essa for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violence and anti-Semitism.
10. Yousef Matar, a Human Resources Assistant at UNRWA according to his Facebook (screenshot), posted a photo (below and also here) on July 10, 2014, expressing support for an attack in which a rocket was launched towards Israel from Gaza. In another post, he uploaded a picture (screenshot) condoning violence, reminding Palestinians of their “duty” of “resistance”.
Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Yousef Matar for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violence and terrorism.
11. Ahmed Dahdouh identifies himself on his Facebook page as an employee of UNRWA (screenshot). On April 24, 2012, he uploaded an image of a hooded figure hurling a rock (captured here), as shown below. The caption makes numerous mention of “revolution”.
Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Ahmed Dahdouh for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violence and breaches neutrality.
UNRWA Institutional Pages
12. In the image below, the Facebook page of UNRWA Staff in Syria portrays Jews or Israelis as baby-killers, with a black figure marked by a Star of David shooting a baby in Gaza, under the headline “Stop Killing Babies.” UN Watch has captured the image here.
Though Chris Gunness’ strategy is to claim all such pages to be “impostors,” UNRWA has given tacit if not official approval: the page was founded in 2013, and is well-known with a following of 16,000 people; it lists the official UNRWA website of unrwa.org as its website; and an official UNRWA email address (email@example.com, belonging to UNRWA official Samer Mohy Al Deen).
Recommendation: UNRWA should terminate all of the staff associated with the “UNRWA Staff in Syria” account, for incitement to hatred and breach of neutrality.
UNRWA Spokesman Reacts to Evidence of Incitement to Antisemitism and Violence
Interested to find out more about UN Watch's political & financial affiliations since its establishment. Can anyone advise? RT
— Chris Gunness (@ChrisGunness) August 26, 2015
— Chris Gunness (@ChrisGunness) August 25, 2015
Following is a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, with a copy to U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and the ADL, sent today by the Geneva-based non-governmental organization UN Watch.
His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon
The United Nations
New York, NY 10017
23 August 2015
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
UN Watch is gravely concerned that the UN’s special relief agency for Palestinians, which received some $400 million from the U.S. last year in exchange for its signed promise to refrain from supporting terrorism and to uphold neutrality, is nevertheless disseminating crude, anti-Semitic caricatures on the Internet that incite to the murder of Jews. We respectfully demand that you take action immediately to remove the images, apply accountability to the highest levels of UNRWA, and apologize.
We call your attention to two of the ten first items appearing on the UNRWA Facebook page of the Rameh school, based in the Jaramaneh camp outside Damascus, which are cartoons celebrating Palestinian car attacks against Israeli Jewish civilians.
One of the cartoons posted by UNRWA resorts to classic anti-Semitic imagery, depicting a hook-nosed ultra-Orthodox Jew dressed in black, with a Star of David marked on his black hat:
The Times, August 17, 2015
A senior employee of Amnesty International has undeclared private links to men alleged to be key players in a secretive network of global Islamists, The Times can reveal.
The charity was unaware that the husband of its director of faith and human rights featured in documents released after a criminal trial at which connections were revealed between British supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Arab Islamists accused of plotting to overthrow a Gulf state.
Yasmin Hussein was also linked to a Yorkshire-based aid agency that was banned by Israel for its alleged funding of Hamas terrorism; and criticised by colleagues for holding a private meeting with a Muslim Brotherhood government official during an Amnesty mission to Egypt, and staying overnight at his family’s home.
Ms Hussein, 51, was until recently the charity’s head of international advocacy and among its leading voices at the UN, where the organisation seeks to operate a strict policy of not siding with any government or political party. Continue reading ‘Times of London: “Amnesty director’s links to global network of Islamists”’
Following is the currently updated chart, compiled by UN Watch based on United Nations data, of all UN Human Rights Council resolutions that condemn specific countries, from its creation in 2006 until today. Our analysis does not count the majority of resolutions that praise countries or merely address “technical” issues.
A clearly confused Hamas leader today defended his posting of a caricature, originating from The Israel Cartoon Project, which ridicules the immorality of the UN’s anti-Israel bias.
The confusion by Dr. Basem Naim was pointed out by UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer:
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) August 9, 2015
Naim doubled down, insisting he knew what he was doing: Continue reading ‘Hah! Confused Hamas leader posts cartoon ridiculing UN’s anti-Israel bias’
UNHRC Response to Saudi Killing of Nearly 1,900 Civilians in Yemen
With its standing agenda item on Israel, one-sided reports, biased mandates, the UN Human Rights Council in its 10 years of operation has condemned Israel more times that the rest of the world combined.
Thus, while the 47-nation body convened an emergency session into Israel’s response to Hamas rockets last summer, condemned Israel for alleged war crimes in at least two separate resolutions while giving Hamas a free pass, and created a massive commission of inquiry headed by a paid PLO legal adviser, it has done absolutely nothing in response to the Saudi bombardment of Yemen and killing of civilians.
However, the latest statement on Yemen by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which as part of the Secretariat is supposed to be non-political and respect the “highest standards of integrity” (UN Charter, Art. 101), illustrates that the UN’s civil service fails its professional obligations, and follows the line of the politicized Council.
If anything, the moral and legal case for Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen is far weaker than Israel’s case for responding to Hamas in Gaza.
GENEVA, July 22, 2015 – The resignation of a top UN rights official who admitted she did nothing after receiving reports of child rape by French soldiers in Central African Republic — because she was “distracted” by budget cuts — underscores the dire need for greater accountability at the world body, said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental Geneva watchdog agency that measures the performance of the world body by the yardstick of its own charter.
“Not only did Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri fail to act,” said Neuer, “but she was part of a coterie of top UN officials who punished the only member of her office who sounded the alarm, veteran staffer Anders Kompass, by firing him.” Continue reading ‘UN rights official who ignored African child rape by French troops resigns; UN Watch reacts’
Hamas leader in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh congratulated the Palestinian Return Centre for winning UN status and “stressed the vital role played by the PRC in the legal and political arena,” revealed Israeli representative David Roet, during Monday’s debate at the UN ahead of the vote.
The information undermines PRC’s strenuous denials that it has any ties to Hamas. See full story below. Continue reading ‘Hamas congratulates ‘Palestinian Return Centre’ for winning UN status’
Congratulations to the UN human rights office for the long statement below on the suffering in Yemen that makes only one fleeting mention of the Saudi role, and no mention at all of the Iranian role. Once again, the world’s worst abusers of human rights are given a free pass.
Yemen Briefing Note by Rupert Colville, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
21 July 2015
Intense fighting has continued in Yemen, with at least 165 civilians, including 53 children and 23 women, killed between 3 and 15 July. Another 210 were injured during this period. The majority of the casualties are reported to have been caused by air strikes, but civilians are also regularly being injured and killed by mortar fire and in street fighting. The total death toll since 26 March is now at least 1,693 civilians, with another 3,829 injured. Continue reading ‘UN’s Yemen statement gives free pass to Saudi & Iranian roles in mass killings’
GENEVA, July 22 – The UN’s 54-nation Economic and Social Council singled out Israel as the only violator of economic and social rights in the world, by a resolution adopted on Monday by a majority of 42 states including all EU members.
Only Australia and the U.S. opposed, with abstentions by Honduras and Panama. Eight countries were absent.
The text excoriates Israel for such crimes as “destruction of homes and properties, economic institutions and agricultural lands and orchards in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as in the occupied Syrian Golan”; of the “exploitation of natural resources”; and of “the dumping of all kinds of waste materials in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, which gravely threaten their natural resources.”
The EU-backed resolution mentions Hamas 0 times.
Syria was mentioned 13 times — but only to condemn Israel for alleged violations against “the Syrian citizens of the occupied Syrian Golan” whose family members reside in “their mother homeland, the Syrian Arab Republic.” The murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad is not condemned or even mentioned once.
No other country is singled out for condemnation at this year’s ECOSOC’s annual session.
After the introduction of the resolution by South Africa, the Syrian Ambassador took the floor and accused Israel of facilitating terrorist attacks against Syrian cities and civilians. Assad’s envoy condemned the Jewish state for “destroying the soil of the Golan, exploiting its resources, burning its products and other racist policies.”
GENEVA, July 20, 2015 - A majority of countries and nearly all of the democracies on the 54-nation ECOSOC refused to support the NGO application of the “Palestinian Return Center” amid evidence of the group’s entanglement with the Hamas terrorist organization, yet a plurality of only 16 countries, including dictatorships like China, Sudan and Zimbabwe, managed to successfully propel the PRC’s application forward.
Leading democracies were among the 13 who voted to reject the PRC’s bid, including the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Greece, Austria, and Finland. Others opposing the alleged Hamas front group included Albania, Botswana, Croatia, and Estonia. Another 18 countries abstained.
UN Watch revealed today that the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), a Hamas-linked group vying to win UN status today, celebrated the Hamas kidnapping of three Israeli teens, cheered Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, and threatened “punishment” for PLO President and Hamas rival Mahmoud Abbas.
Tweets from the official account of Tarek Hamoud, executive director of the London-based PRC, include:
1. PRC Cheers Hamas Kidnapping of Israeli Teens
[UPDATE: PRC chief Tarek Hamoud has just deleted this tweet today after this blog post was published. Screen capture of the tweet, however, is at the top.]
Above: On July 14, 2014, two days after the Hamas kidnapping of three Israeli teens, PRC posted this symbol of three fingers to cheer the abduction of the boys who were later discovered to have been murdered.
A group that celebrates kidnappings violates the peace and human rights principles of the UN Charter and should not be granted NGO status.
2. PRC Threatens PLO President Abbas with “Punishment”
[UPDATE: PRC chief Tarek Hamoud also deleted the above tweet today after this blog post was published. Our screen capture of his tweet, however, is above.]
Above: PRC chief Tarek Hamoud threatens PLO President Mahmoud Abbas (featured on right next to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu) with “punishment.” The translation reads:
Grim, humiliated faces agreeing to hate #Gaza and fight it. The faces are different but the crime is one, and the punishment will be the same