Canadian FM “appalled” by UNRWA schools’ rocket stockpile

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Photo: Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird receiving
UN Watch human rights award, September 2013

BAIRD APPALLED BY REPORTS OF UN AGENCY
HANDING OVER WEAPONS TO HAMAS

July 22, 2014

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement;

“I was appalled to hear reports, one as recent as today, of stockpiles of rockets in a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza.”

“Even more alarming were reports that in the first case, officials with the United Nations returned these weapons to Hamas, a listed terrorist organization, once Israeli officials discovered their location.

“Canada unequivocally calls on the United Nations to launch an immediate independent investigation to determine the facts surrounding these reports.  Canada also calls on the United Nations to ensure that in the second case, no rockets are returned to Hamas.  Anything less than an independent investigation would be absolutely unacceptable.

“If proven true, this would fly in the face of all that the United Nations should stand for as an institution committed to the peace and security of its members.”

Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations states that the UN’s purpose is to:

“…maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.”

Hamas’ Human Shield Tactic as Reported by Foreign Journalists

Hamas’ Human Shield Tactic as Reported by Foreign Journalists

1. The Gaza correspondent of Canada’s Globe and Mail, Patrick Martin, wrote in his article from 20 July: “The presence of militant fighters in Shejaia became clear Sunday afternoon when, under the cover of a humanitarian truce intended to allow both sides to remove the dead and wounded, several armed Palestinians scurried from the scene.Some bore their weapons openly, slung over their shoulder, but at least two, disguised as women, were seen walking off with weapons partly concealed under their robes. Another had his weapon wrapped in a baby blanket and held on his chest as if it were an infant.”

2. Canadian TV correspondent Janis Mackey Frayer tweeted the following on 20 July:

Continue reading ‘Hamas’ Human Shield Tactic as Reported by Foreign Journalists’

UN holds Cuban-sponsored meeting on Private Security Companies

From July 21-25, the UN in Geneva is holding a meeting of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the activities of private military and security companies (PMSCs) This goal of this session, called for by a resolution tabled by Cuba and the African Group, is “to consider the possibility of elaborating an international regulatory framework” for the oversight of private military and security companies. In addition, the agenda also includes another Cuban anti-Western favorite, “the use of mercenaries as a mean of violating human rights.”

During the discussion, the U.S., UK, and EU expressed their opposition to the idea, stating their concern with the lack of effectiveness and appropriateness of an intergovernmental regulatory system for this issue. They were also disappointed with the absence of representation from the business sector at these discussions. The US, though focusing mainly on PSCs rather than on both PSCs and PMCs, gave several other suggestions that they deemed more practical, such as methods for closer scrutiny, oversight, and approval of such companies on a national level and the promotion of appropriate prosecution for those who breach existing laws.

Several others including the African group, South Africa, Pakistan, Cuba, and Senegal argued the opposing view, stating the importance of international governance on this issue. Their reasoning followed that the transnational nature of PMSCs makes that self-regulation and domestic laws alone inefficient as monitors. Additionally, the state of impunity and lack of accountability in which the contractors of PMSCs live make the perpetration of human rights violations all the more possible, speaking again to the need for an internally binding instrument on this issue.

NGO urges UN to condemn ‘global epidemic’ of anti-Semitic incidents

sarcellsRioters in Paris, July 20, 2014.

GENEVA, July 21, 2014 – Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch today called on UN leaders to condemn what it called a “global epidemic” of anti-Semitic attacks, spiraling from Paris to Ankara, in wake of the Israeli army’s Gaza operation to stop rocket fire against its cities.

In Paris, Jewish-owned shops were burned and pillaged last night during a second violent anti-Israel demonstration in two days. Riot police held back a mob of youths who tried to attacks two synagogues in the suburb of Sarcelles.

“When you menace synagogues and when you burn a grocery because it is Jewish-owned, you are committing anti-Semitic acts,” said French interior minister Bernard Cazeneve today.

UN Watch called on UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon and high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay to speak out, citing attacks in several cities, including in Antwerp, Berlin, Boston, Casablanca, Frankfurt, London, Los Angeles, and New York.  (See list of incidents below.)

“Given the global nature of the contagion, it’s vital that we hear the voice of the UN’s leadership and of its human rights officials, including Ms. Pillay and all of the relevant human rights special procedures and treaty bodies,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based human rights group. 

UN Watch called on Ban and Pillay to echo the words of the OSCE’s 2004 Berlin Declaration against anti-Semitism, which affirmed that “international developments or political issues, including those in Israel or elsewhere in the Middle East, never justify anti-Semitism.”

“Just as the UN has rapidly condemned anti-Islamic films, it must also rapidly condemn physical assaults and threats against Jews, and vandalism of their businesses, homes, and places of worship,” said Neuer.

“For now, regrettably, we’re hearing silence from the UN.”

Continue reading ‘NGO urges UN to condemn ‘global epidemic’ of anti-Semitic incidents’

U.S. urged to oppose Bokova’s bid to head UN post over pro-Hamas bias

GENEVA, July 18 - The independent Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch today called on U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power to oppose the candidacy of UNESCO chief Irina Bokova to replace Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary-General so long as she continues her “selective outrage in support of the Hamas line.”

According to UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, Bokova, the Bulgarian-sponsored candidate for the UN’s top post, has “rushed to aggressively condemn Israel for alleged violations of freedom of the press, yet failed to defend UNESCO’s mandate regarding Hamas’ flagrant violations to basic rights of culture and education” when the terror group placed 20 rockets in an UNRWA school, and launched long-range rockets at Israel from “somewhere near” another school. Continue reading ‘U.S. urged to oppose Bokova’s bid to head UN post over pro-Hamas bias’

Key UN Statements on Current Gaza-Israel Conflict

Monday, July 21

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
Remarks from diplomacy meeting in Cairo, Egypt

“I full understand, fully sympathize the sufferings of the Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza. These restrictions should be lifted as soon as possible so that people should not resort to this kind of violence as a way of expressing their grievances. At the same time, I fully appreciate the legitimate right to defend their country and citizens of Israel. Israel should also be able to live in peace and security without being endangered of their citizens.

I’m asking that Hamas should immediately stop firing rocket. While I understand all how, why Israelis has to respond militarily, but there is a proportionality. And most of the Palestinian people have been – most of the death toll are Palestinian people.”

Continue reading ‘Key UN Statements on Current Gaza-Israel Conflict’

Special Sessions of the UN Human Rights Council

From its inception in June 2006 to date, the UN Human Rights Council has held 20 special sessions. Of the 16 sessions that criticize countries, more than 30 percent have been on Israel. They are examined below.

In addition, in the middle of regular sessions, the HRC has three times convened an “Urgent Debate”: the first one against Israel over the flotilla incident of June 2010, for which the council created the entire urgent debate mechanism itself, and in which a fact-finding mission was created that produced a one-sided report whose conclusions were later refuted by the UN Secretary-General’s own Palmer Commission;  and two on Syria, in February 2012 and May 2013. No other country has been subjected to an urgent debate. Continue reading ‘Special Sessions of the UN Human Rights Council’

Test yourself: Are you pro human rights, or just anti-Israel?

quote for FB

 

“If in the past year you didn’t CRY OUT when thousands of protesters were killed and injured by Turkey, Egypt and Libya, when more victims than ever were hanged by Iran, women and children in Afghanistan were bombed, whole communities were massacred in South Sudan, 1800 Palestinians were starved and murdered by Assad in Syria, hundreds in Pakistan were killed by jihadist terror attacks, 10,000 Iraqis were killed by terrorists, villagers were slaughtered in Nigeria, but you ONLY cry out for GAZA, then you are not pro HUMAN RIGHTS, you are only ANTI-ISRAEL.”

 — Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, July 15, 2014

–> CLICK HERE TO SHARE ON FACEBOOK

 

UNRWA tells reporters to interview Norwegian supporter of 9/11 terror attacks

gilb666

GENEVA, July 14 - UN Watch today called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reprimand a top official in Gaza who is telling reporters to interview a Norwegian doctor and radical Maoist politician who in September 2001 openly supported the “moral right” of Al Qaeda to perpetrate the 9/11 terrorist attacks against thousands of American civilians.

Earlier today, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness reached out to journalists with the following Twitter post: Great interviewee @ Shifa Hosp Gaza right now Prof Mads Gilbert +4790878740 call him 4 fatality & cas figs and atoms RT”

“It’s an outrage that a supposed UN relief organization — which receives tens of millions of dollars from U.S. and European taxpayers — is promoting a radical politician who has openly supported the murder of American civilians,” said Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch.

“We urge UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reprimand Mr. Gunness, and to put a stop to the cynical misuse of UN relief funds to promote the Hamas terrorist agenda.”

Dr. Mads Gilbert is well known in Norway as a far-left political activist who, according to Norwegian news reports, openly supports “bloody” revolutions. He joined the Workers’ Communist Party (AKP), now known as the Red party, in the 1970s, and in 2009 ran as the 14th-ranked candidate on the Red party list for elections in Troms. The party calls for revolution to “disarm the bourgeoisie.”

gilbert-dagbladetGilbert provoked a front-page scandal in Norway (see image, right: Norwegian doctors ADVOCATE TERROR attack”) when he expressed support for the 9/11 attacks in an interview with Norway’s Dagbladet newspaper, on 30 September 2001.

First the newspaper quotes his support for a colleague’s pro-terrorism position:

I advocate the moral right of the people you call terrorists to attack the United States, as a legitimate response to 25 years of wars of aggression, mines, starvation and embargo, says surgeon Hans Husum, University Hospital of Tromsø. He is supported by physician Mads Gilbert.

Then Gilbert makes his own views crystal clear:

Dagbladet: Do you support a terrorist attack on the United States?
Gilbert: “Terror is a poor weapon, but the answer is yes, within the context I have mentioned.”

Dagbladet
: You understand that this will create reactions?
Gilbert: “Yes, that’s to be expected. The white world does not understand that it is possible to see such an act in a different perspective.”

 

Palestinian UN rep: “Each and every missile launched against Israel constitutes a crime against humanity”

In an astonishing moment of candor, the Palestinian representative to the UN Human Rights Council — in explaining the high risk of Palestinians being indicted if the International Criminal Court acquires jurisdiction – has admitted that “each and every” Palestinian missile now being launched against Israeli civilian centers constitutes “a crime against humanity”; that, by contrast, Israel’s own response actions in Gaza “followed the legal procedures” because, as Hamas spokespersons admitted on TV, “the Israelis warned them to evacuate their homes before the bombardment; but, however, “as for the missiles launched from our side, we never warn anyone about where these missiles are about to fall or about the operations we carry out.”

The extraordinary admissions by Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi came in a July 9th interview on Palestinnian TV. Below is video and transcript by MEMRI.

Interviewer: The popular demand is to appeal to the International Criminal Court and to sign the Rome Statute. The demand is to do this immediately. To what extent is this realistic? You are our representative in all the international organizations. What can we gain from such a step, and could we ourselves be indicted?

Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi: I am not a candidate in any Palestinian elections, so I don’t need to win popularity among the Palestinians. The missiles that are now being launched against Israel,  each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity, whether it hits or misses, because it is directed at civilian targets. What Israel does against Palestinian civilians also constitutes crimes against humanity. OK?

Continue reading ‘Palestinian UN rep: “Each and every missile launched against Israel constitutes a crime against humanity”’

Canada Rejects UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Criticism of Israel’s Response to Rocket Attacks from Gaza

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Photo: Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird receiving UN Watch award in September 2013

 

Canada Rejects UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Criticism of Israel’s Response to Rocket Attacks from Gaza 

July 12, 2014 – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“Canada rejects UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s uncalled-for criticism of Israel’s response to rocket attacks from Gaza. Focusing her comments on Israel is neither helpful nor reflective of the reality of this crisis.

“There must be no moral equivalence between Hamas, a listed terrorist organization, and its blatant disregard for human life, and the liberal democratic State of Israel’s duty and obligation to defend its people from cowardly and indiscriminate attacks. Continue reading ‘Canada Rejects UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Criticism of Israel’s Response to Rocket Attacks from Gaza’

Sudan defends its abhorent human rights record

Before a UN committee, Sudan tried to whitewash its human rights record and deny well-documented abuses in the country.

On Wednesday, July 9th, the Human Rights Committee reviewed the human rights situation in Sudan. Sudan, among the 168 States party to the ICCPR, is required to submit regular reports to the Committee of 18 international independent experts in order to analyze its implementation of the ICCPR’s provisions.

The issues that were highlighted by the experts as being particularly worrying in Sudan were the death penalty, torture, female genital mutilation, Sharia law and child soldiers. One specific recent case mentioned was that of Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian sentenced to death for apostasy. Overall, the main concern was the State’s laws’incompatibility with international human rights.

Isameldin Abdelgadir, Sudan’s Deputy Justice Minister, presented the report and sang praise of his government’s commitment to improving compliance with international human rights law. The defensive response to the experts’ observations consisted mostly of absurd statements that denied the existence of such glaring issues in the countries. The Sudanese delegate said that “there is no discrimination against women”and that “all rights are enjoyed on an equal footing regardless of sex, ethnicity or religious beliefs.” Another delegate from Sudan responded that “we invite the woman who asked the question to come to Sudan and see the good situation of the status and safety of women in Darfur.”

Continue reading ‘Sudan defends its abhorent human rights record’

ICJ Advisory Opinion Relied on Founder of “Gaddafi Human Rights Prize”

gaddafi prize home

On the 10th anniversary of the PLO-requested World Court advisory opinion that declared Israel’s security barrier illegal, and which declared that Israel could not invoke the right of self-defense, it’s worth recalling one of the opinion’s most underreported flaws: its reliance on the findings of UN official Jean Ziegler — founder and 2002 winner of the “Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights” — as a credible source of fact and law. (ICJ Opinion, p. 190)

The court invoked the Swiss clown as an expert only two years after Ziegler went to the annual Tripoli ceremony for the Gaddafi regime to place the human rights award around  his neck, something he completely denied until UN Watch found the video. See Ziegler getting the prize at minute 1:22:

ILO on Auto-Pilot against Israel

The ILO issued a deeply flawed, misleading and misrepresentative of realities report on the Palestinian territories.

Last month, at the 103rd session of the International Labour Conference, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN agency dealing with labor issues, presented their 2014 report on “The situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories.” The report, however, is deeply flawed, misleading and misrepresentative of realities on the ground.

The report puts sole responsibility for the economic hardships, poor working conditions, stalled growth and deteriorating markets of the Palestinian’s economy on the Israeli “occupation.” The report echoes the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, who proclaims, with simplicity, “The economic situation is really difficult, and the main reason is the Israeli occupation.”

  • The ILO report holds only one party responsible for “Barriers to economic development in the West Bank” – Israel.
  • The report blames Israel for the “Deepening of Gaza’s six-year siege [which] paralyses [the] economy.”
  • In a section titled “Rising tensions and violence,” the report discusses in depth violence against Palestinians throughout the West bank. This includes discussions of:
    • “Violent acts and intimidation by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property.”
    • “Serious concerns are being expressed that occupation and settler activity is leading to a dangerous culture of impunity.”
    • “In addition to settler violence, there is a worrying trend of violence linked to confrontations between Israeli armed forces and Palestinians.”
    • “A recent United Nations report notes that Israeli settlement-related activities and settler violence are at the core of most of the violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the right to freedom of movement, work, health, education, housing and an adequate standard of living (UN, 2014b).”

Continue reading ‘ILO on Auto-Pilot against Israel’

Syria in denial on denying women’s rights

Syria told a UN Committee that women’s rights in the country are excellent and rapes never happen.

On Friday, July 4, the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) reviewed women’s rights in Syria. Syria, among the 188 States that are subjected to the scrutiny of the Convention, is required to submit regular reports to the 23 independent experts to evaluate the implementation of the Convention in the country.

The five hour session began with a presentation of a report from Ms. Kinda Al-Shammat, the Syrian Minister of Social Affairs, highlighting the actions taken by the Syrian government to combat harmful stereotypes, illiteracy, lack of support for rape victims, and other forms of discrimination against women.

However, the report failed to acknowledge any fault among the Syrian government itself. In a 2012 report, Human Rights Watch shared the story of witnesses and victims who testified to the sexual abuse of women and girls as young as 12 at the hands of the military and other pro-government forces during home raids. Similarly, a 2012 report from the BBC quoted a woman formerly held in a military detention center in Damascus who described the “daily rape” committed against girls while other girls were forced to look on. At the 2012 Geneva Summit, Hadeel Kouki described unspeakable violations of women’s rights in the country.

Continue reading ‘Syria in denial on denying women’s rights’

The Proliferation of “Human Rights”- A Dictator’s Best Friend

This month at the UN saw the discussion of three seemingly “human rights” declarations – one on the Right to Peace, one on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, and one on the Right of Peoples and Individuals to International Solidarity. But why are they unable to garner consensus? And why do so many democracies criticize them either for their lack of clarity, or their outright uselessness?

In a UN meeting on the Right to Peace, several democracies expressed concerns that trying to define such a right would possibly be dangerous to human rights, that it is too vague, that in fact the Right to Peace cannot be recognized as either an individual right or as a collective one, and that it does not reflect any international principles enshrined in the UN Charter.

In a meeting on the Right of Peasants, similar concerns were expressed. The EU stated that it is not convinced that a declaration is the best way forward, that the existing normative framework is sufficient to protect human rights and that the problem is one of implementation. South Korea also had “strong reservations” on whether it was really needed.

The Declaration on International Solidarity is no more promising, containing an array of watery phrases like:

Continue reading ‘The Proliferation of “Human Rights”- A Dictator’s Best Friend’

UN rights council meets on Syrian-backed “right to peace” initiative

rt to peace

 

A Syrian-backed declaration on the “right to peace” is what a UN working group is seeking to draft during a week-long meeting at the UN Human Rights Council which opened yesterday in Geneva.

While all 193 UN member states can attend the sessions of the working group, only some 30 are attending, along with another 20 NGO activists.

Key backers of the “right to peace” include Cuba and Syria. One of the goals of such human rights violators is to erode the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle, which calls for the international community to intervene in instances of extreme human rights violations such as genocide.

The “right to peace” aims to shield the perpetrators. UN Watch has exposed how this “right” is used to shield dictatorships like Syria and to give legitimacy to terrorism. Continue reading ‘UN rights council meets on Syrian-backed “right to peace” initiative’

UN Racism Expert Condemns Holocaust Denial

Unlike its discredited predecessor, the Human Rights Council has not passed one single resolution condemning antisemitism. (The Commission on Human Rights used to condemn antisemitism in 3 separate resolutions each year. Not much has changed since our 2004-2007 The United Nations and Anti-Semitism Report Card.)

Yet, in a recent welcome development, Mr. Mutuma Ruteere, the UN’s expert on racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, had some tough words for antisemites across the world. In his most recent report, the expert dedicated an entire section to “Countering Holocaust denial and the distortion of History” and included another section outlining successful methods for combating neo-Nazis and skinheads.

In particular, the report explicitly defines and denounces modern Holocaust denial. The report defines Holocaust denial as 1) denying six million Jews were killed during the Second World War; 2) professing the Nazis had no official policy or intention to exterminate Jews; and 3) extermination and concentration camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau never existed.

The expert explains that while the Holocaust “is one of the well-documented events in recent history,” Holocaust denial is driven directly by antisemitism and as a tool for advancing the conspiracy of Jewish world domination. This antisemitism, the expert continues, also manifests in overtly antisemitic events and actions such as a full military funeral of an SS officer, a celebration of a Nazi military victory, and the promotion of antisemitic views by a comedian [alluding to French "comedian" Dieudonne] and other public personalities.
Continue reading ‘UN Racism Expert Condemns Holocaust Denial’

Rights Group Welcomes ‘Landmark’ UN Vote Creating Inquiry on Eritrea Abuses

Rights Group Welcomes ‘Landmark’ UN Vote Creating Inquiry on Eritrea Abuses 

Eritrean delegation interrupted testimony by Eritrean human rights dissident brought by UN Watch

GENEVA, June 27, 2014 – Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch welcomed the Human Rights Council’s “landmark” creation of a commission of inquiry into human rights abuses in Eritrea, in a resolution that was adopted by consensus today at the 47-nation body.

The resolution “strongly condemns” the Eritrean authorities for perpetrating “widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

“It speaks volumes that thousands of Eritreans are fleeing every month to escape their country’s grave abuses,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

“Today’s resolution sends the message that the time has arrived to seek minimal human rights accountability from the Eritrean government.”

“Let’s not forget that Eritrea is one of the few countries without any reporting on the human rights situation from within, and a complete lack of access by international human rights observers, rendering monitoring of human rights conditions on the ground extremely challenging,” said Neuer.

Continue reading ‘Rights Group Welcomes ‘Landmark’ UN Vote Creating Inquiry on Eritrea Abuses’

Resolutions and Voting Results of 26th HRC Session

Condemnatory Country-Specific Resolutions:

The continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/26/L.4)
Sponsors: UK, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Germany, USA, Jordan, Qatar, France, Kuwait, Italy
Orally revised  to reflect the role of chemical weapons in Syria
Vote Result: 32 in favor, 5 against (Algeria, Russia, Cuba, China, Venezuela), 9 abstentions (India, Ethiopia, Pakistan).

Situation of human rights in Eritrea (A/HRC/26/L.6)
Sponsor: Somalia
Result: Adopted without a vote  as orally revised. (China, Pakistan and Venezuela disassociated from consensus.)

Situation of human rights in Belarus (A/HRC/26/L.14)
Sponsor: Greece on behalf of the European Union
Vote Result: 24 in favor, 7 against (Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, Viet Nam),  16 abstentions

 

Non-Condemnatory Country-Specific Resolutions:

Technical and capacity- building assistance for South Sudan in Human Rights (A/HRC/26/L.32)
Sponsor: South Sudan
Result: Adopted without a vote.

Cooperation and assistance to Ukraine in the field of human rights (A/HRC/26/L.15)
Sponsor: Ukraine
Vote Result as orally revised: 23 in favor, 4 against (China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela), 19 abstentions

Renforcement de capacités et cooperation technique avec la Côte d’Ivoire dans le domaine des droits de l’homme (A/HRC/26/L.39)
Sponsor: Ethiopia for the African Group
Result: Adopted without a vote.

Continue reading ‘Resolutions and Voting Results of 26th HRC Session’

Rights group urges countries to vote today for landmark UN inquiry on Eritrea abuses

GENEVA, June 26, 2014 – Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch called on all 47 member states of the Human Rights Council to vote in favor of creating a landmark commission of inquiry into human rights abuses in Eritrea, as proposed in a draft resolution, sponsored by Somalia, that is slated for a vote today.

(See resolution A/HRC/26/L.6, “Situation of human rights in Eritrea,” listed on today’s Order of the Day.)

 If adopted, the resolution would “strongly condemn” the Eritrean authorities for perpetrating “widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The text cites arbitrary and extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, the use of torture, arbitrary and incommunicado detention without recourse to justice, and detention in inhumane and degrading conditions. Continue reading ‘Rights group urges countries to vote today for landmark UN inquiry on Eritrea abuses’

Mother of Kidnapped Israeli Teenager Neftali Frankel Addresses UN

UN Watch invited Rachel Frankel, the mother of 16-year-old Israeli-American kidnap victim Naftali Frankel, who was one of three boys abducted on June 12th, to address United Nations Human Rights Council this morning to appeal for international support of the boys’ safe return. (See video of her speech. Transcript after the jump).

UN Watch also facilitated meetings for the three mothers with international officials, including UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri.

Continue reading ‘Mother of Kidnapped Israeli Teenager Neftali Frankel Addresses UN’

UN’s Dictatorships Fail to Stop “2014 Catalog of UN Inaction on Global Rights Abuses”

Testimony before the UN Human Rights Council delivered today, 19 June 2014, by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, under Agenda Item 3, “Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development.”

Mr. President,

The members of this Council have been mandated by the international community to protect victims of human rights violations around the world.

Is the Council living up to its mandate?

Let us consider the most fundamental of all human rights—the right to life—by examining what has happened in the world, over the past 12 months:

July 2013, Turkey: Doctors report that in the Gezi Park protests, police killed 5 people, wounded 8,163 and used chemical riot control weapons against more than 10,000.

August, Egypt: Authorities crush the sit-in held by supporters of deposed president Morsi, killing 1,000 people.

September, Iran: One month after President Rouhani’s inauguration, amid promises of human rights reforms, Iranian officials ignore UN appeals, and hang a record 50 individuals.

Did the council respond with any resolutions, urgent debates, or inquiries to determine the facts, and hold perpetrators accountable? No. Its response was silence.

October, Afghanistan: Terrorists bomb a minibus, killing 14 women and a child who were on their way to celebrate a wedding.

November, Libya: Militia kill 31 during protests in Tripoli, injuring 235.

December, South Sudan: BBC reports mass ethnic killings, including 200 shot by security forces.

January, Pakistan: 236 civilians killed by terrorist attacks.

This Council’s response? Silence.

February, Ukraine: Police kill 75 protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square.

March, China: Activist Cao Shunli, who was arrested for trying to travel to Geneva and participate this Council, mysteriously dies in prison.

 April, Iraq: 750 Iraqis killed, 1,541 injured by terrorism.

May, Venezuela: Troops arrest 243 student protesters and kill one of their own, bringing the death toll to 42 since the start of the opposition protests.

Finally, June — a few weeks ago – in Nigeria: Boko Haram massacres 200 civilians while still holding the 276 school girls it abducted in April…

At this point Mr. Neuer’s testimony was interrupted by points of order claiming that the content was outside of the agenda item, and requesting the Chair to stop him from speaking. Venezuela said Neuer was “out of order,” echoed by Cuba, China, Iran, Pakistan, and Egypt, the latter saying that the subject matter of the speech was “inappropriate.” Mr. Neuer’s right to speak was, however, defended by representatives of the U.S. , France, Ireland, Canada, Norway, and Britain. The Chair read out the relevant rules of procedure, and gave the floor back to UN Watch.

Mr. President, if it “inappropriate” to speak about the urgent need to take action for victims of human rights violations around the world, then why are we here?

Thank you, Mr. President.

UN Watch Interactive Dialogue with UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea

Testimony by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, June 18

Thank you, Madam Rapporteur.

UN Watch commends the Special Rapporteur for her report, which documents gross and systematic violations of human rights in Eritrea . We fully support renewal of your mandate, and greatly appreciate your vital work. Continue reading ‘UN Watch Interactive Dialogue with UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea’

UN Elevates Syria: Business as Usual

Testimony before the UN Human Rights Council, delivered by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, 18 June 2014, during the Interactive Dialogue with the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry on Syria. 

Mr. President, what the Commission of Inquiry has just described is a living hell. Faced with continuing reports of Syria’s mass murder, torture, rape, and gassing of civilians by chemical weapons, how is the United Nations responding?

With notable exceptions, this inquiry being one, the UN’s policy toward Syria can be described in three words: business as usual.

Consider the following. In November 2011, well into Syria’s atrocities, UNESCO elected the Syrian regime—unanimously—to its human rights committee.

I ask the commission: what message did the UN send, when—up until only a few  months ago—it allowed the Assad regime to sit as a judge of petitions submitted by human rights victims from around the world?

But Mr. President, it didn’t stop there. On February 20th of this year, as Syria’s Juhayna news trumpeted with glee, that country, that mass murdering regime, was “unanimously re-elected as Rapporteur of the UN Special Committee on Decolonization.”

In fact, as we meet, that committee—with Syria as its Rapporteur—is in session this week in New York, debating the future of Gibraltar, the Falklands, Bermuda, French Polynesia and New Caledonia. Continue reading ‘UN Elevates Syria: Business as Usual’

Today: UN to Hear from Venezuelan Protest Leaders, Cuban Dissidents

Testifying: Venezuelan student protest leaders Eusebio Costa & Alejandro Teppa; and Angel Carromero, driver in the suspicious crash that killed legendary Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá

GENEVA, June 17, 2014 – For the first time ever, the UN will hear testimony from leaders of the Venezuela protest movement, as well as from the survivor of the suspicious car crash that killed legendary Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya.

The hearings on human rights in Venezuela and Cuba, organized by a NGO coalition as an official event inside the United Nations Human Rights Council, will take place today in Geneva, Tuesday, June 17th. Continue reading ‘Today: UN to Hear from Venezuelan Protest Leaders, Cuban Dissidents’

UN to hear testimony of foul play in Cuban dissident’s death

Angel Carromero, driver in the suspicious crash that killed legendary Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá, to address UN Human Rights Council

Angel Carromero (inset) survived the crash that killed Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá
only to be accused by the Cuban government of vehicular homicide

GENEVA, June 16, 2014 – As world figures continue to call for an independent investigation into the July 2012 car crash that killed Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá, Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch is bringing Angel Carromero – the Spanish politician who drove the car that many allege was targeted by Cuban security agents – to testify before diplomats, rights activists and journalists at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Carromero’s first-ever presentation at the UN will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, June 17th, on a panel that will also featuring Cuban poet and former political prisoner Regis Iglesias.

UN Watch is organizing the event as part of a coalition of human rights groups that include the German NGO International Society for Human Rights, Iniciativa por Venezuela, Human Rights Foundation, Humano y Libre, and Directorio. Continue reading ‘UN to hear testimony of foul play in Cuban dissident’s death’

Why HRW’s Ken Roth won’t condemn the kidnapping of Israeli children

In contrast to the UN secretary-general and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the head of Human Rights Watch is refusing to unequivocally condemn Thursday’s kidnapping of Israeli teenagers, emphasizing instead that they attended school in an “illegal settlement,” and demanding that his critics first condemn an unrelated event from a month ago, the alleged IDF killing of masked rock-throwers.

After repeated appeals from Twitter users for HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth to end his silence on the abductions, Roth finally responded with this carefully-constructed tweet: Attending school at illegal settlement doesn’t legitimize apparent kidnapping of Israel teens. They should be freed.”

But why would Roth even bother to mention that the youths — two of them aged 16 — studied in an “illegal settlement”? Continue reading ‘Why HRW’s Ken Roth won’t condemn the kidnapping of Israeli children’

Upcoming UN Summit of Venezuelan Dissidents Raises Ire of Caracas

UN Human Rights Council event on June 17 to examine Venezuela crackdown; National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello says gathering seeks to “discredit” government

cabello_campano

GENEVA, June 15, 2014 –  The head of the Venezuelan parliament was one of several top Caracas officials to lash out at an upcoming gathering of Venezuelan dissidents at the United Nations Human Rights Council, where the government’s violent repression of protests is expected to come under intense scrutiny.

The first-ever UN summit of Venezuelan dissidents, which will draw together ambassadors, UN officials, and rights activists, is being organized by the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch, with the co-sponsorship of Iniciativa por Venezuela, Human Rights Foundation and Directorio.

The event will take place this Tuesday, June 17th, at the Palais des Nations headquarters of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. (To request interviews, contact UN Watch).  Continue reading ‘Upcoming UN Summit of Venezuelan Dissidents Raises Ire of Caracas’

Today: Senate to finally confirm new US rep to UN Human Rights Council

Today at 5:30 pm the U.S. Senate is expected to finally confirm the appointment of a new American ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council.

Keith-Harper

From Indianz.com:

The Senate is set to vote on yet another historic nomination for Indian Country. Keith Harper, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, has been nominated to serve as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council. If confirmed, he will be the first member of a federally-recognized tribe to serve in an ambassador-rank post. According to the Senate floor schedule, Harper’s nomination is due to considered at 5:30pm on June 2. Harper will first need to survive a cloture vote, which requires at least 51 votes, before he gets to a final vote.

From U.S. Senate Executive Calendar: Continue reading ‘Today: Senate to finally confirm new US rep to UN Human Rights Council’