UN: When Palestinian Men Beat Their Wives, It’s Israel’s Fault

image - Pillay

In her recent report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay revives the bizarre charge, made by one of her colleagues in 2005, that when Palestinian men beat their wives, it’s Israel’s fault: Continue reading ‘UN: When Palestinian Men Beat Their Wives, It’s Israel’s Fault’

North Korea lies to the world ahead of its UN review

North Korea submitted a report to the UN, ahead of its scheduled review, which whitewashes the widespread and systematic human rights violations committed by the regime’s leadership. Through its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) is set to review North Korea’s record on May 1.

At the 25th HRC session that concluded last week, the Commission of Inquiry on North Korea presented a damning 400-page report, which details “violations of the freedoms of thought, expression and religion, discrimination, violations of the freedom of movement and residence, violations of the right to food and related aspects of the right to life, arbitrary detention, torture, executions and prison camps, abductions and enforced disappearances from other countries as well as crimes against humanity.” A strong resolution which asks the Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court for possible prosecution of its leaders was also adopted.

North Korea denied the detailed report as biased, called the witnesses “criminals” and rejected the report as an “anti-DPRK conspiracy on the part of the United States and its followers” and as a means for Western countries to intervene its internal affairs as well as its sovereignty. During the adoption of the resolution, the North Korean Ambassador told the UN member States “to mind your own business, which means that one needs to see his or her face in the mirror to check how nasty it is before talking about others.”

North Korea submitted its National Report for the UPR which claims that it has cooperated with UN mechanisms (when in fact it consistently blocks access to UN investigators) and that the human rights situation in the country has improved. Below are 10 excerpts from the National Report, which give a false image of “happiness” in the country, when the numerous testimonies of victims tell us otherwise.

Continue reading ‘North Korea lies to the world ahead of its UN review’

Rare: UN High Commissioner details abuses of PA & Hamas against Palestinians

When it comes to UN reporting on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, it is usually the case that Israel is mostly criticized, with a brief reference in the end calling for Hamas to stop firing missiles and rockets against Israeli civilians. However, a recent report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, apart from listing Israel’s alleged violations, it dealt in great detail on the serious human rights violations of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority against their own people, regular Palestinian civilians. Some of the main findings are provided below.

This report also reveals the great protection gap that exists in the UN system with regards to the rights of the Palestinian people, as the so-called Special Rapporteur on Palestine only looks at Israel’s actions and has no mandate to examine violations committed by the PA or Hamas.

One of the dubious parts of the report however was quoting former Special Rapporteur on violence against women Yakin Erturk, who, in 2005, bizarrely blamed Israelis for the  fact that Palestinians maltreat their wives. Scapegoating is an old sport and playing the blame game only finds excuses for abusers not to take action.

Continue reading ‘Rare: UN High Commissioner details abuses of PA & Hamas against Palestinians’

Shaky road to important peaceful protest resolution

In a year that has seen protests in the Ukraine, Venezuela and Turkey, to name but a few, the UN Human Right’s Council resolution, passed on Friday 28 March, on The promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests, tried to safeguard this right.

Yet, despite its significance, its road to approval was paved with difficulties and idiosyncrasies: Continue reading ‘Shaky road to important peaceful protest resolution’

States try to silence UN Watch 18 times, but in vain

UN Watch was very active during the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which just concluded. We delivered a total of 10 statements on a variety of issues and we hosted two family members of human rights defenders who are currently in jail, Julieta Lopez, aunt of Leopoldo Lopez of Venezuela and Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Dr. Wang Bingzhang of China.

UN Watch speakers were interrupted 18 times by states that did not like to hear what we were saying. Most of the time, it was by members of the Human Rights Council who have pledged to “uphold the highest standard of human rights.”

First on the list was Venezuela with 5 interruptions and then were the Palestinian Authority and Saudi Arabia with 3 each. Cuba and Pakistan interrupted UN Watch twice each, and once by Algeria, China and Morocco.  The President stood firm and he allowed the UN Watch speaker to conclude at every occasion.

Continue reading ‘States try to silence UN Watch 18 times, but in vain’

UNGA adopts resolution calling on states not to recognize changes in status of Crimea

On March 27, the UN’s General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine.”   The resolution essentially underscored the invalidity of the 16 March referendum held in Crimea, used as justification for Russia’s illegal annexation of the area.  It also called on all States not to recognize any change in the status of Crimea.

Yet, remarkably, 11 States voted against the resolution and 58 abstained from the vote.

Voting Board on Ukraine resolution

Continue reading ‘UNGA adopts resolution calling on states not to recognize changes in status of Crimea’

Resolutions and Voting Results of 25th HRC Session

Condemnatory Country-Specific Resolutions:

Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka (A/HRC/25/L.1/Rev.1)
Sponsors: UK, US, Montenegro, Macedonia, Mauritius
Result: 23 in favor, 12 against (Algeria, China, Congo, Cuba, Kenya, Maldives, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Venezuela, Viet Nam), 12 abstentions

The continuing grave deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/25/L.7)
Sponsors: UK, Italy, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, US, Turkey, France, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar
Vote result: 32 in favor, 4 against (China, Cuba, Russia, Venezuela), 11 abstentions

Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (A/HRC/25/L.9)
Sponsors: Sweden, Macedonia, US, Moldova, Panama
Vote result:  21 in favor, 9 against (China, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Venezuela, Vietnam), 16 abstentions

The situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (A/HRC/25/L.17)
Sponsor: Greece on behalf of the EU and Japan
Vote result: 30 in favor, 6 against (China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, Venezuela, Vietnam), 11 abstentions

Situation of human rights in Myanmar (A/HRC/25/L.21/Rev.1)
Sponsor: Greece on behalf of the EU
Adopted without vote

Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (A/HRC/25/L.36)
Sponsor: Pakistan on behalf of the OIC
Vote result: 46 in favor, 1 against (US)

Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan (A/HRC/25/L.37/Rev.1)
Sponsor: Pakistan on behalf of the OIC
Vote result: 46 in favor, 1 against (US)

Human rights situation in Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (A/HRC/25/L.38/Rev.1)
Sponsor: Pakistan on behalf of the OIC
Vote result: 46 in favor, 1 against (US)

Follow-up to the report of the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (A/HRC/25/L.39)
Sponsor: Pakistan on behalf of the OIC
Vote result: 46 in favor, 1 against (US)

Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan (A/HRC/25/L.40)
Sponsor: Pakistan on behalf of the OIC
Vote result: 33 in favor, 1 against (US), 13 abstentions

Continue reading ‘Resolutions and Voting Results of 25th HRC Session’

UN expert on Chinkin: ‘a basis for questioning the appearance of bias’

Chinkin 1

Application of Christine Chinkin

London School of Economics professor Christine Chinkin is now slated to replace Richard Falk as UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, a position that, despite its title, in fact requires examining only “Israel’s violations of the principles and bases of international law.”

She had applied for the same post back in 2008, and was then shortlisted in second place after Falk.

Her chances improved this time after she served in 2009 as a key author of the infamous Goldstone Report, a document that effectively exonerated Hamas while excoriating Israel.

When Judge Goldstone later retracted the core accusation of the report, Chinkin joined with the two others to accuse him in all but name of misrepresenting facts in order to cast doubt on the credibility of their joint report.

Chinkin first made her name at the UN by serving with Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the HRC’s 2006 inquiry into the deaths of 19 Palestinians killed in Beit Hanoun by errant Israeli shells. It is widely recognized that Chinkin oversaw the work of the panel.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour had initially tried to convince Canadian MP and law professor Irwin Cotler, a former justice minister, to serve on the inquiry. He immediately declined, however citing the one-sided mandate, which “violated the presumption of innocence.”

“How could one accept a fact-finding mission with a prior determination of guilt, a kind of Alice in Wonderland inquiry, where the conviction was secured and the sentence passed even before the inquiry began?” Professor Cotler later said in a speech before the council plenary. Continue reading ‘UN expert on Chinkin: ‘a basis for questioning the appearance of bias’’

Yemen on behalf of Arab Group demands appointment of Christine Chinkin, co-author of Goldstone Report

UN Watch has obtained a copy of a new Arab Group letter demanding that the UNHRC replace Richard Falk with Christine Chinkin, co-author of the Goldstone Report

MISSION PERMANENTE DE LA REPUBLIQUE DU YEMEN GENEVE

H.E Mr. Baudelaire Ndong Ella
President of the Human Rights Council
Geneva

26th of March 2014

Excellency,

We are writing to you regarding the nomination of the Special Rapporteur in the OPT. This position was established by the Commission of Human Rights in its resolution E/CN.4/RES/1993/2 (A) of 19 February 1993, which, in detailing the mandate, decided inter alia that the special rapporteur will “report, with his conclusions and recommendations, to the Commission on Human Rights at its future sessions, until the end of the Israeli occupation of those territories” (0P4 (c)).

We would like to draw your attention to the following considerations when appointing the mandate holder:

At the outset, we would like to reiterate the relevant provisions set out in the IB package, in particular paragraph 39, which indicates that the mandate holder appointment should be based on the criteria of (a) expertise; (b) experience in the field of the mandate; (c) independence; (d) impartiality; (e) personal integrity; and (f) objectivity, and paragraph 52, which emphasizes the importance inter alia of broad consultations, in particular through the regional coordinators, in guiding the President of the Council in his/her identification of an appropriate candidate for each vacancy.  Continue reading ‘Yemen on behalf of Arab Group demands appointment of Christine Chinkin, co-author of Goldstone Report’

Peace Now legitimizes Assad at dictator-run UN parley

Assad smile

Israel’s Peace Now, represented by campaigns manager Yaniv Shacham, delivered a speech today at an international conference in Quito, Ecuador, that claims to be about peace, but which is in fact organized by a rabidly anti-Israel UN committee dominated by Syria’s Assad regime and other like-minded murderous, misogynistic and homophobic dictatorships.

Is Peace Now unaware that this latest “UN International Meeting on the Question of Palestine,” taking place today and tomorrow under the innocuous-sounding theme of “Engaging for peace – the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” is run by the UN’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, whose member and observer states include the mass-murdering Syrian Arab Republic, slave-holding Mauritania, women-hating Saudi Arabia, along with tyrannies large and small such as China, Belarus, Cuba, Algeria and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic?

Is Peace Now unaware that its host committee was established in 1975 on the same day as the infamous Zionism is Racism resolution, which Kofi Annan has described as the low point of the UN’s record on anti-Semitism? That it promotes organizations like the one headed by notorious anti-Semite Mahathir Mohamad?

Is Peace Now unaware that its host committee’s year-round reports, meetings, conferences, and publications incite to hatred against Israel? That while claiming to care about human rights, its host has never once condemned the murder of Israeli civilians by rockets, bus bombings or stabbings, and instead legitimizes violence and terrorism?

Why is Peace Now legitimizing a poisonous propaganda exercise run by a syndicate of murderers and rapists?

Palestinians submit updated resolutions to UNHRC

Last week, UN Watch published five unofficial draft resolutions on Israel, drafted by the Palestinians and the Islamic bloc, that had been circulated informally among diplomats at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The following updated texts have now been formally submitted to the Council, for adoption on Thursday or Friday:

  1. Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan
  2. Human rights situation in Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem
  3. Follow-up to the report of the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict
  4. Human Rights in the occupied Syrian Golan 
  5. Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination

 

 

PA tries to stop UN Watch quoting the PA on need to fire Richard Falk

UN Watch testimony to UN Human Rights Council delivered  by executive director Hillel Neuer, 24 March 2014. The speech was interrupted numerous times by the Palestinian Authority, supported with objections by Cuba, Pakistan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Venezuela.

Mr. Falk, in this, your final report, you address the six years of your now-ending term. Were they a success? Let us consider. Did you promote human rights? We could ask the Israeli people. But the terms of your mandate refused to consider their human rights, so we cannot ask them. Let us ask the Palestinian people. We should hear from their sole legitimate representative. Continue reading ‘PA tries to stop UN Watch quoting the PA on need to fire Richard Falk’

UN rights council plans BDS assault on Israel, but Israeli diplomats are on strike

While Israeli diplomats remain on strike, the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council is planning to launch a massive attack on the Jewish state next week in a series of five resolutions that — expressly citing controversial UN official Richard Falk — include new accusations of racism, along with calls to impose “international criminal liability” on businesses with indirect links amounting to “corporate complicity in breaches of international law related to illegal settlements.”

The following draft resolutions, drafted by Syria and the Palestinian Authority, are scheduled to be adopted on March 27-28, at the end of 25th session of the Human Rights Council:

1. Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan

Analysis: replete with inflammatory and one-sided language including new BDS-themed provisions inspired by Richard Falk’s latest report. Continue reading ‘UN rights council plans BDS assault on Israel, but Israeli diplomats are on strike’

UN adopts report praising Saudi Arabia’s human rights record

UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer testified before the UN Human Rights Council today about its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report on Saudi Arabia.

Mr. President, the purpose of this review is to apply scrutiny to every UN member state, in order to promote and protect human rights. Does this report on Saudi Arabia live up to this goal?

Let us consider by reading from the report.

Page 7:

“China commended Saudi Arabia’s efforts to promote economic, social and cultural rights [and] welcomed efforts to promote dialogue and tolerance among religious groups.”

Page 9:

  • “Iraq commended Saudi Arabia’s efforts to promote and protect human rights.”
  • “Jordan commended Saudi Arabia’s efforts to promote and protect human rights.”
  • “Egypt welcomed Saudi Arabia’s work to strengthen the role of women.”
  • “Libya congratulated Saudi Arabia on acceding to conventions and its continued efforts to promote and protect human rights.”
  • “Malaysia welcomed Saudi Arabia’s progress in promoting women’s rights.”
  • “Mauritania welcomed progress towards equality and justice… efforts to enable the participation of women at all levels.

Page 11:

  • “Pakistan welcomed Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protect and promote women’s and children’s rights.”
  • “Somalia welcomed the high priority given to human rights, the harmonization of sharia law and international human rights law and the advancement of women’s rights.”

Page 12:

  • “Sri Lanka welcomed the efforts to promote women’s participation in public life.”
  • “The State of Palestine noted Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protect and promote human rights, [and] praised its accession to several instruments.”
  • “Turkey commended the increased women’s empowerment.”

Mr. President, are these words a fair representation of human rights in Saudi Arabia?

No.

The truth is that there are zero women’s rights, zero religious rights, zero minority rights, zero human rights, in Saudi Arabia. The truth is that Saudi Arabia has an entrenched system of gender apartheid. The truth is that Saudi Arabia should never have been elected as a member of this Council.

Unless the words I have just quoted above are retracted, we urge the Council to reject this report.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

13 March 2014
Human Rights Council
Twenty-fifth session
Agenda item 4
Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Summary

In the present report, the third to be submitted to the Human Rights Council pursuant to Council resolution 16/9, the Special Rapporteur communicates developments in the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran since his third interim report submitted to the General Assembly (A/68/503) in October 2013.

In the report, the Special Rapporteur outlines his activities since the Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur at its twenty-second session. He examines ongoing issues and presents some of the most recent and pressing developments in the State’s human rights situation. Although the report is not exhaustive, it provides a picture of the prevailing situation as observed in the preponderance of reports submitted to and examined by the Special Rapporteur. It is envisaged that a number of important issues not covered in the present report will be addressed by the Special Rapporteur in his future reports to the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council. Continue reading ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran’

Report of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, March 2014

Report of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

11 March 2014 

The present report is submitted in accordance with General Assembly resolution 68/184, in which the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit an interim report to the twenty-fifth session of the Human Rights Council. The report reflects the patterns and trends in the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran and provides information on the progress made in the implementation of the present resolution, including recommendations to improve its implementation. In its resolution 68/184, the General Assembly called upon the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to address the substantive concerns highlighted in the previous report of the Secretary-General and to respect fully its human rights obligations, in law and in practice, in relation to a number of specifically identified concerns. Continue reading ‘Report of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, March 2014′

Again: Venezuela interrupts testimony at UN Human Rights Council

UN Watch Statement to 25th Session of UN Human Rights Council, delivered by Kelsey Truman, 14 March 2014.

Human Rights Council Must Listen to the Victims


Thank you, Mr. President. Today we ask: How can this Council protect the rights of the Universal Declaration — the right to life, to equality, to freedom of religion and speech, the right to be free from torture and slavery?

One way is by recognizing the heroes who inspire activists the world over for the cause of human rights.

That is what UN Watch did just a few weeks ago, across the street, at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights. For the sixth year in a row, we organized this annual civil society forum, together with twenty other non-governmental human rights groups from around the world.

Hundreds of dissidents, activists, diplomats, journalists and students participated, helping to place urgent situations on the world agenda. The summit heard from courageous dissidents and activists, many of them former political prisoners, who embody the founding human rights virtues of the United Nations.

Julietta Lopez of Venezuela delivered an urgent message from her nephew, jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. [Venezuela interrupted on a point of order, and attacked UN Watch; the chair defended the speaker's rights and gave the floor back to UN Watch.]

Dr. Rakhshinda Perveen examined women’s rights in Pakistan. Biram Dah Abeid spoke of his struggle to end slavery in Mauritania.

Naghmeh Abedini pleaded for the release of her husband, Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is in jail in Iran for exercising his freedom of religion. Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, who tried to defend women in China from forced abortions, received the Geneva Summit Courage Award.

Finally, Annick Cojean from Le Monde spoke of her recent book , which documents how  thousands of women and girls, including students on campus, were violently raped, over decades and on a systematic basis, by Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

We urge everyone to listen to her testimony, which is available at www.genevasummit.org, especially the many countries who, during the Council’s UPR review of Libya, had praised Gaddafi’s record on women’s rights. These include Belarus, DPRK, Iran, Jordan, Myanmar, Qatar, Sudan and Yemen.

Mr. President, When this Council listen to these courageous voices, and take action for victims worldwide?

On strike: Israel asks UN to delay report

MFA strike

Israel is asking the United Nations Human Rights Council to delay next week’s scheduled adoption of a report on the country’s human rights record because its diplomats are on strike and have suspended all contacts with the UN.

UN Watch has obtained a copy of the letter sent yesterday by Israeli ambassador Eviatar Manor to UNHRC president Baudelaire Ndong Ella:

“Dear Mr. President,  I regret to inform you that the labor dispute involving the staff of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and its Diplomatic Representations continues.”

“As a consequence of the labor dispute, and as communicated to all International Organizations and Missions in Geneva in a Note Verbale on 5 March 2014, all contacts by the Permanent Mission of Israel with the UN, other International Organizations and Permanent Missions are suspended until further notice.”

“The right to resort to labor action including the right to strike is a basic human right and should be respected by both our colleagues and international civil servants.”

“In light of the above mentioned and in order to proceed and fully complete the process of Israel’s UPR in a spirit of cooperation, I request a postponement of the adoption of Israel’s UPR Report to a later date. I will inform you as soon as possible of our resumption of normal work.”

Clash at UN Assembly: Venezuela Objects as Aunt of Jailed Opposition Leader Calls for Urgent Human Rights Council Debate

UN Watch circulates draft resolution for urgent debate and commission of inquiry
GENEVA, March 7, 2014 – Venezuela’s representative to the UN Human Rights Council vociferously objected today when the aunt of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, speaking on behalf of the non-governmental human rights group UN Watch, called on the 47-nation body to convene an urgent debate on the escalating situation and to dispatch a commission of inquiry. Click here for text and video.

Immediately following the clash, UN Watch submitted to U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton a draft letter that would convene an urgent debate on Venezuela, as well as a draft resolution to condemn Venezuela’s violations of human rights, suspend the government of president Nicolas Maduro from the Human Rights Council, and create a commission of inquiry. Continue reading ‘Clash at UN Assembly: Venezuela Objects as Aunt of Jailed Opposition Leader Calls for Urgent Human Rights Council Debate’

UN’s musical chairs: Richard Falk’s wife is top nominee for Human Rights Council post

Hilal Elver photo

By HILLEL NEUER

As UN chief Ban Ki-moon today joins foreign ministers from around the world in Geneva to inaugurate a month-long session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, he should tell the 47-nation body to stop a controversial appointment that will expose itself to ridicule.

The secretary-general is surely looking forward to the upcoming exit of Richard Falk, the council’s pro-Hamas investigator of “Israel’s violations of the principles and bases of international law.”

More than once, Ban had to take the extraordinary step of condemning one of his organization’s own human rights experts — Falk — for spreading “preposterous” 9/11 conspiracy theories. After six years, term limits finally require Falk to go.

Yet it turns out that Falk may not really be leaving after all: the Human Rights Council is set to appoint his wife and closest collaborator to a similar post at the end of the month, days after Falk makes his final presentation to the plenary.

According to a UN document circulated in Geneva, Hilal Elver — a Turkish academic on law and climate change who has been married to Falk for the past 18 years, co-authoring many of his articles — is rated first among three nominees to become the council’s next “Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.” Continue reading ‘UN’s musical chairs: Richard Falk’s wife is top nominee for Human Rights Council post’

Top lawmakers, rights activists, NGOs call for suspension of Russia, China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia from UNHRC

Campaign to Suspend China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia from the United Nations Human Rights Council

WHEREAS every human being is guaranteed the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948;

WHEREAS, in contempt of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, gross and systematic violations of human rights have been and continue to be perpetrated by the governments of China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia, as documented in evidence collected by United Nations Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies, human rights experts and non-governmental organizations; Continue reading ‘Top lawmakers, rights activists, NGOs call for suspension of Russia, China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia from UNHRC’

‘For Russia, protection of human rights and freedoms is a basic priority,’ FM Lavrov tells UNHRC after being elected new member

Sergey Lavrov

Statement by H.E. Mr. Sergey V. Lavrov,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of
the Russian Federation

at the high-level segment of the
25th session of the UN Human Rights Council

Last year Russia was once again elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council by an overwhelming majority. We appreciate this support which we view as an acknowledgement of our country’s constructive approach to this sphere of multilateral cooperation.

For the Russian Federation, the protection of human and civil rights and freedoms is a basic priority enshrined in its Constitution. As President Vladimir Putin has stressed, the relevant provisions of Russia’s fundamental law establishing these rights and freedoms are unalterable, We continue to work on developing civil society and improving the standards of living of our people.

Continue reading ‘‘For Russia, protection of human rights and freedoms is a basic priority,’ FM Lavrov tells UNHRC after being elected new member’

Tomorrow: Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to address top UN rights body as its newest elected member

U.N. Secretary-General Ban shakes hands with Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov as they pose for a photograph at the U.N. headquarters in New York

GENEVA, March 2 - Despite Russia’s aggression in Ukraine in open breach of the UN charter and international law, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is scheduled to visit Geneva tomorrow to address the United Nations Human Rights Council, as Moscow takes its seat for the first regular session since being elected as a new member of the 47-nation body. Click here for High Level speakers’ schedule.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will give the opening speech, followed by Human Rights Council president Baudelaire Ndong Ella, General Assembly president John Ashe, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

Samantha Power is slated to represent the U.S. , which has yet to confirm President Obama’s nominee for ambassador to the Geneva council.  

Other new members to take their seats on Monday are China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. Venezuela and Pakistan joined last year.

“Hypocrisy on this scale undermines the credibility of the human rights council and of the United Nations as a whole,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch.

“The UN’s top human rights body is supposed to protect victims and hold the world’s worst perpetrators to account, not turn them into judges and prosecutors.”

Despite having a notoriously corrupt judiciary and no rule of law, Russia is planning to submit a draft resolution the council on “judicial integrity.”

Russia’s foreign ministry, quoted by Tass, announces: “The draft resolution is aimed at strengthening international guarantees to make justice fair and unbiased.

Moscow is also deeply concerned about ensuring respect for principles at the council: “We believe that the UNHRC activity should be based on equal interstate cooperation.”

“All interested parties should give up double standards in this aspect,” the ministry said.

UN Whistleblower: Head of World Intellectual Property Agency Stole Employees’ DNA Samples

miranda brown

The Whistleblower: Dr. Miranda R. Brown

gurry

 WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry, also Australian

GENEVA, February 28, 2014A senior UN official alleges that Francis Gurry, the Australian head of the world body’s intellectual property agency, engineered the theft of personal items from employees to extract DNA samples, and then covered it up by intimidation and by suppressing attempts to investigate it, according to a legal complaint filed recently at a UN tribunal in Geneva.

The allegations are expected to hurt Gurry’s chances for reelection next week as director-general of the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a bid already weakened amid controversy over his role in running what a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers described as “a secret program to ship high-end computers and other electronic gear to North Korea and Iran.”

Gurry’s competitors in next week’s contest to head WIPO are his colleague, deputy director-general Geoffrey Onyeama from Nigeria, and two ambassadors, Alfredo Suescum of Panama, and Jüri Seilenthal of Estonia.

Led by California Democrat Zoe Lofgen, 12 members of the U.S. Congress have urged Secretary of State John Kerry to oppose Gurry’s candidacy, saying his tenure harms “the interests of the United States and its large community of innovators.”  Continue reading ‘UN Whistleblower: Head of World Intellectual Property Agency Stole Employees’ DNA Samples’

Ali al-Ahmed at the 2014 Geneva Summit for Human Rights

al-Ahmed

Saudi dissident and human rights activist, Ali al-Ahmed, spoke out against the Saudi monarchy’s crimes at the 6th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

Full speech at the 02:02:27 mark:

Extracts:

 

William Browder at the 2014 Geneva Summit for Human Rights

William Browder pic

William Browder, the man behind the US legislation ‘The Magnitsky Act,’ spoke on government corruption in Russia at the 6th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

Full speech at the 55:12 mark:

Extracts:

Biram Dah Abeid at the 2014 Geneva Summit for Human Rights

Biram Dah Abeid pic

Biram Dah Abeid, a Mauritanian human rights defender and the President and founder of the anti-slavery NGO, Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in Mauritania (IRA), denounced the Mauritanian government’s ‘slave code’ at the 6th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

Full speech below at the 02:59 mark:

Extracts:

Chen Guangcheng at the 2014 Geneva Summit for Human Rights

Chen Guangcheng pic

Blind Chinese dissident and recipient of the 2014 Geneva Courage Award, Chen Guangcheng, spoke on the importance of human rights activism against Chinese governmental oppression at the  6th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

Full speech below at 02:54:13 minute mark:

Extracts:

  • “It doesn’t matter if you’re in Tokyo or Washington DC., you can help activists and those who are oppressed to fight for human rights.”
  • “The problem is that we do not have enough confidence. If we do this China will change…I am sure that China will change and that I will be able to get back to China.”

James Kirchick at the 2014 Geneva Summit for Human Rights

Kirchick

Journalist and foreign correspondent, James Kirchick, spoke on Russia’s state-controlled media and intimidation of foreign press at the 6th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

Full speech below at the 02:00:21 mark:

Extracts:

Potkin Azarmehr at the 2014 Geneva Summit for Human Rights

Potkin Azarmehr pic

Iranian journalist and activist, Potkin Azarmehr, spoke on Iran’s state-controlled media at the 6th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

Full speech below at 02:13:19 minute mark:

Extracts:

  • “The reason that state TV is such a high priority for authoritarian states is because they want to control information.”
  • “We have to stand up against the lies of authoritarian states around the world.  They may have the budget for propaganda, but we have the truth on our side.”