UNRWA’s Chris Gunness Launches McCarthyite Attacks on UN Watch

 

 

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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.

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UN Watch fool Gunness annual reports

Gunness Promised to Fire UNRWA Staff Inciting Antisemitic Violence

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.

 

Report: 12 UNRWA-linked Facebook Accounts Incite Antisemitism & Violence

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 2.12.08 PMGENEVA, 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.”

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UNRWA Officials Who Should be Fired For Posting Violent & Antisemitic Images

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1. AScreen Shot 2015-08-31 at 5.44.11 AMhmed 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.

“Shame them in this world, and a painful punishment in the afterlife.” His UNRWA affiliation is further documented here (and captured here).

Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Ahmed Fathi Bader for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violence and terrorism.

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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 CharScreen Shot 2015-08-31 at 5.25.00 AMter“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.

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Ramy Alshorbasi - Screenshot - Cartoon - Jews laughing milk

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.

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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.

Abed Abuashraf - Screenshot - Cartoon - Israel peeled back to reveal Palestine

Abed Abuashraf - Screenshot - Cartoon - Violent imagery

 

 

Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Abed Abuashraf for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violence and terrorism.

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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.

Munnawar - Screenshot - Cartoon - Celebrating kidnapping and anti-Semitic imagery

 

Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Wael Sallouh for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violence and terrorism.

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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”.

Mohammed A. Elhafi - Screenshot - Cartoon - Violent imagery

Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Mohammed A. Elhafi for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violence and breaches neutrality.

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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.

Nisreen Hmood - Screenshot - Cartoon - Israel eating Palestinians

Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Nasreen Hammoud for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes anti-Semitism and breaches neutrality.

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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.)

Fala Sala - Screenshot - Cartoon - Israel as Palestine

Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Fala Sala for using the name of UNRWA on an account that breaches neutrality.

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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.

Mohamad Essa - Screenshot - Cartoon - Glorifying attack on Rabbis

Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Mohamed Essa for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violence and anti-Semitism.

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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”.

Yousef Matar - Screenshot - Photo of rocket shot from Gaza

Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Yousef Matar for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violence and terrorism.

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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”.

Ahmed Dahdouh - Screenshot - Image - Glorifying violence

Recommendation: UNRWA should fire Ahmed Dahdouh for using the name of UNRWA on an account that promotes violence and breaches neutrality.

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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 (s.mohyaldeen@unrwa.org, belonging to UNRWA official Samer Mohy Al Deen).

UNRWA staff in Syria - Screenshot - Cartoon and UNRWA link - Killing babies and milk

 

Recommendation: UNRWA should terminate all of the staff associated with the “UNRWA Staff in Syria” account, for incitement to hatred and breach of neutrality.

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UNRWA Spokesman Reacts to Evidence of Incitement to Antisemitism and Violence

 

UNRWA posts anti-Semitic cartoons inciting murder of Jews

Ban Ki-moon

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.

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His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon
The Secretary-General
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:

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Continue reading ‘UNRWA posts anti-Semitic cartoons inciting murder of Jews’

Times of London: “Amnesty director’s links to global network of Islamists”

Hussein YAsmin

The Times, August 17, 2015
Andrew Norfolk

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”’

Hillel Neuer at Victoria University in Wellington, Aug.17th

 

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Monday, 17 August 2015, 5.30pm 
Please request attendance by email to law-events@vuw.ac.nz

Updated: Chart of all UNHRC Condemnations

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.

In total, there were 62 condemnations of Israel, and 55 on the rest of the world combined.
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Hah! Confused Hamas leader posts cartoon ridiculing UN’s anti-Israel bias

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:

Naim doubled down, insisting he knew what he was doing: Continue reading ‘Hah! Confused Hamas leader posts cartoon ridiculing UN’s anti-Israel bias’

Double-standards: The Gaza vs. Yemen conflicts

empty unhrc - close-up, very good for twitter

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.

Continue reading ‘Double-standards: The Gaza vs. Yemen conflicts’

UN rights official who ignored African child rape by French troops resigns; UN Watch reacts

 

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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 congratulates ‘Palestinian Return Centre’ for winning UN status

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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’

UN’s Yemen statement gives free pass to Saudi & Iranian roles in mass killings

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.

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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’

With EU Support, UN Casts Israel as Worst Violator of Economic and Social Rights

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 2.14.00 AMGENEVA, 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.

ECOSOC condemned Israel

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.”

 

Hamas-linked UK group celebrated kidnapping of teens, today set to win UN status

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 6.19.13 PMUN 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

https://twitter.com/TarekHamoud/status/477926302885117952 
[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”

https://twitter.com/TarekHamoud/status/488870858115792896

PRC warns Abbas

[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
#Gaza_wins

 

UN to vote today on admitting antisemitic PRC group, tied to Hamas

 

UPDATE: PRC chair Majed Al-Zeer has just deleted his Facebook post below, after this blog was published. We screen-captured it.

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Above: Antisemitic image posted here on Facebook by Majed Al-Zeer,Chairman of the Hamas-linked Palestinian Return Centre

GENEVA, July 20, 2015 – Regarding a controversial vote scheduled this afternoon at UN headquarters in New York, UN Watch called on the world body’s 54-nation Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to reject the Sudan-sponsored decision by a subsidiary committee to recommend NGO status for a group intimately linked to the Hamas terrorist organization.

The vote today will approve or overturn the June 2nd decision by the 19-nation Committee on NGOs which voted in favor of the application by the Palestinian Return Centre, a Hamas affiliate in Europe, by a vote of 12 to 3.

Hamas 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.

Continue reading ‘UN to vote today on admitting antisemitic PRC group, tied to Hamas’

Resolutions and Voting Results of 29th HRC Session

Condemnatory Country-Specific Resolutions:

The grave and deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/29/L.4)
Sponsors: France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UK, USA
Orally revised
Vote result: 29 in favour (EU, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA), 6 against (Algeria, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Russia, Venezuela), 12 abstentions (India, Pakistan, South Africa)

Situation of human rights in Belarus (A/HRC/29/L.12)
Sponsors: Latvia on behalf of the European Union
Vote result: 21 in favour (EU, Brazil, USA), 8 against (China, Cuba, India, Russia, Venezuela), 18 abstentions (Qatar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, UAE)

Situation of human rights in Eritrea (A/HRC/29/L.23)
Sponsors: Djibouti, Somalia
Adopted without a vote

Ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (A/HRC/29/L.35)
Sponsors: Pakistan on behalf of the OIC
Orally revised
Vote result: 41 in favour (EU, China, Cuba, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, UAE, Venezuela), 1 against (USA), 5 abstentions (Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Paraguay, Macedonia)
Continue reading ‘Resolutions and Voting Results of 29th HRC Session’

PLO’s Draft UN Resolution on Gaza Inquiry is All About the ICC

-Acting via the Islamic group, the Palestinians have just submitted a draft resolution this evening that would have the UN Human Rights Council call on all countries to implement the recommendations of the Gaza inquiry, which effectively means to pursue the investigation and prosecution of Israel’s political and military leaders for “possible” war crimes.

The text, officially sponsored by the 57-strong Organization of Islamic Cooperation chaired by Pakistan, will win an automatic majority from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia and other members of the 47-nation council when it it put to a vote on Thursday or Friday this week. The U.S. will vote No, while the Europeans are likely to either vote Yes or abstain. Continue reading ‘PLO’s Draft UN Resolution on Gaza Inquiry is All About the ICC’

Wife of Jailed Venezuelan Opposition Leader Addresses U.N.

Testimony of Lilian Tintori, wife of Venezuelan opposition leader and prisoner of conscience Leopoldo Lopez, before UN Human Rights Council, 30 June 2015.

Thank you, Mr. President.

My name is Lilian Tintori and I am Venezuelan. I have the honor to make this declaration on behalf of UN Watch.

IMAG1584Article 2 of the Durban Declaration prohibits all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on political or other opinions.

I am here for all the names I have on my chest and my back. They are tortured, persecuted and killed. My husband Leopoldo Lopez, opposition leader in Venezuela, unjustly in jail, is only one of many cases. I speak in his name and in the name of all those silenced, like Geraldine Moreno, assassinated in close range, and Jose Manuel Carrasco, raped with a weapon in his anus, both by state security forces.

My husband Leopoldo is in jail for speaking out against the human rights violations that occur in our country, the right to life is violated every 20 minutes, homicides last year were above 25,000, inflation, medicine and food scarcity is more that 72%. Leopoldo has been in jail for 16 month, 9 of which in solitary confinement, with inhuman treatment and torture. In 2014, there were more than 3700 arbitrary detentions. I am here as a wife, as a mother that is raising her two children alone.

Continue reading ‘Wife of Jailed Venezuelan Opposition Leader Addresses U.N.’

Legal Expert: UN’s Gaza report “not based on credible military operational expertise”

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Lt. Col. Corn, law professor & former senior law of war adviser for U.S. army, addresses UN Human Rights Council on the report of the Gaza inquiry. Geneva, June 29, 2015.

Thank you, Mr. President. I am Geoffrey Corn, a Professor of Law and the U.S. Army’s former senior expert on the Law of Armed Conflict. I advised an independent JINSA-commissioned Task Force on the 2014 Gaza conflict.

I commend the Report’s recognition that all parties to armed conflict must implement and respect the Law of Armed Conflict. While objective critiques of military operations can contribute substantially to the understanding, implementation, and evolution of theLaw of Armed Conflict, findings and recommendations must derive from credible information, legal interpretation, and operational expertise. Otherwise, any critique risks distorting the essential balance between mitigating the suffering of armed conflict and the dictates of military necessity – one that has defined the law since its inception. Continue reading ‘Legal Expert: UN’s Gaza report “not based on credible military operational expertise”’

U.S. General Blasts Gaza Report in UNHRC Testimony

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 12.08.37 AMMajor-General Michael D. Jones, former Chief of Staff, U.S. Central Command, addressed the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of UN Watch, in the debate on the Commission of Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza conflict. Geneva, June 29, 2015.

Mr. President,

My name is Mike Jones, a retired U.S. Army general officer who, with four other retired U.S. generals, conducted a JINSA-sponsored, but independent, study of the 2014 Gaza conflict. We conducted research, and interviewed Israeli, UN, and Palestinian Authority officials. Our focus was what the U.S. should learn from the conflict, but our report is relevant to the Council.

I am pleased your report acknowledged that all combatants are required to abide by the law, and that Hamas’ and other groups’ indiscriminate rocket fire at Israel was unlawful.

However, it is disappointing that the report fails to condemn these groups for unlawfully failing to distinguish themselves as combatants, as well as purposefully co-locating amongst civilians, knowingly placing them at risk, with absolutely no military necessity to do so.

I am also disappointed that the report, while acknowledging that lawful targeting is a balance between the military necessity and the known risk to civilians, came to conclusions without sufficient information to make a judgment. Specifically, they condemn the IDF for engagements without any information on the IDF’s objectives, military necessity, or known information on risk. Continue reading ‘U.S. General Blasts Gaza Report in UNHRC Testimony’

Col. Kemp tells UNHRC it’s become “tool of Hamas’ murderous strategy”

Address of Colonel Richard Kemp to the United Nations Human Rights Council, debate on report of the Commission of Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza conflict, Geneva, 29 June 2015.

Mr. President, I fought in combat zones around the world during 30 years’ service in the British Army. I was present as an observer throughout the conflict in Gaza.

Mr.  President, during the 2014 Gaza conflict, Hamas, to its eternal shame, did more to deliberately and systematically inflict death, suffering and destruction on its own civilian population, including its children, than any other terrorist group in history. Continue reading ‘Col. Kemp tells UNHRC it’s become “tool of Hamas’ murderous strategy”’

UN: “No comment” on Saudi cash-for-HRC-seat scandal

The UN won’t comment on the scandal, revealed by UN Watch, that Saudi Arabia used money and UN votes to buy itself a seat on the UN Human Rights Council:

UN Watch’s blog post on Saudi Arabia’s secret quid pro quo deals with Russia and other states is here.

Leaked cables: Saudi Arabia & Russia traded votes for UNHRC seats

Saudi Putin

By Hillel Neuer

Now in its 29th session, we are asked by many to believe that the UN Human Rights Council is a serious, effective and credible body.

Leaked Saudi cables, however, document what we knew all along: that despite the UNHRC’s official membership criteria —  “the candidates’ contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights and their voluntary pledges and commitments made thereto” — dictatorships strike backroom deals to elect each other onto the 47-nation body, in Kofi Annan’s words, “not to strengthen human rights but to protect themselves against criticism or to criticize others.”

Amid the trove of Saudi diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks are at least a dozen that explain how the Saudis bought their seat with money, and by bartering their UN votes. Continue reading ‘Leaked cables: Saudi Arabia & Russia traded votes for UNHRC seats’

In Defense of Naming and Shaming: High Commissioner Zeid

Zeid_Hussein

I am often told in this chamber, in our debates, that I should not be “naming and shaming” member states. Somehow the naming is, or has become, the very shame itself. This is a disfigurement of the truth, which we must now reset.

The shame comes not from the naming: it comes from the actions themselves, the conduct or violations, alleged with supporting evidence or proven. The greatest factory of shame is the blanket denial of human rights. The denial of the right to life shames unreservedly. Killing on a massive scale, shames stunningly, and inexhaustibly. The denial of the right to development also shames. The denial of human dignity shames. Torture shames. Arbitrary arrests shame. Rape shames.

We name; the shame of States, where it exists, has already been self-inflicted. The loss of face for the affected countries has come well before OHCHR raises its independent voice. We say what we believe to be the truth, on behalf of victims. We have no monopoly over truth, but we believe our contentions can be supported by fact.

— UN High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, statement to UNHRC, June 15, 2015

Hillel Neuer tells UN: “Why did you reward Iran & Saudi Arabia with top posts?”

Testimony today by UN Watch Executive Director before the 29th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Thank you, Mr. President. The High Commissioner spoke of the need to end impunity. Yet what we are witnessing here at the United Nations is this: Countries that commit gross and systematic violations of human rights are not only given immunity, but they are actually rewarded with high positions.

When member states are silent, the High Commissioner must lead. We urge him to consider, and we ask:

Why is it that Saudi Arabia, which subjugates women, which just expelled a student from university because she lowered her veil on a female-only schoolbus, is rewarded by the UN with a seat on this Human Rights Council? Continue reading ‘Hillel Neuer tells UN: “Why did you reward Iran & Saudi Arabia with top posts?”’

“Israel’s war was just,” reports Australian general after mission on Gaza conflict

Israel showed care in a just Gaza war

The Australian, June 1o, 2015

By Major-General Jim Molan (Ret.)

molan jimWe sat in the Israeli kibbutz 800m from the closest Gaza Strip buildings. Four Israeli women told ­stories of life during Operation Protective Edge, the 50-day conflict last year between Israel and Hamas, of the rain of rockets and mortars, 15 seconds’ warning, days in shelters and of a four-year-old child killed by shrapnel.

The rockets impacted on every aspect of life but the effect of finding one of the many sophisticated tunnels dug over several years at the very door step of the kibbutz for Hamas fighters to kill civilians more precisely and personally was an even greater shock. Continue reading ‘“Israel’s war was just,” reports Australian general after mission on Gaza conflict’

Key Preliminary Findings of the High Level International Military Group on the Gaza Conflict

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Key preliminary findings on the 2014 Gaza Conflict by a high level international military group as submitted to the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry, which is expected to issue its report next week. 

PDF of Report & Cover Letter to UNHRC

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HIGH LEVEL INTERNATIONAL MILITARY GROUP
THE GAZA CONFLICT IN 2014

From 18th – 22nd May 2015, the High Level International Military Group, made up of 11 former chiefs of staff, generals, senior officers, political leaders and officials from the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Holland, Spain, Italy, Australia and Colombia visited Israel for a fact-finding mission on the 2014 Gaza conflict. We were led by General Klaus Naumann, former Chief of Staff of the Bundeswehr and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, the most senior officer in the Alliance, and Giulio Terzi, former Foreign Minister of Italy. Also in the group were Ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper, formerly US State Department Ambassador at Large for war crimes issues; and Mr Rafael Bardaji, former National Security Adviser to the Government of Spain.

This was part of a longer term project by our group, whose principal concern is how civilian lives can be protected and military forces can fight effectively when operations must be conducted in a densely packed civilian area. We will be producing a full report this autumn.

Continue reading ‘Key Preliminary Findings of the High Level International Military Group on the Gaza Conflict’

UN Racism Expert Condemns Antisemitism – But It Is Not Enough

In his regular report (A/HRC/29/46) to the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council on contemporary forms of racism, the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Mutuma Ruteere, focuses on the issue of racial profiling, which in his view affects primarily people of African descent and Middle Eastern origin. However, in his second report (A/HRC/29/47) that will be presented to the same HRC session, the Special Rapporteur addresses the issue of the resurgence of neo-Nazi ideologies.

Muslim and Jews, as well as the Roma communities are the minority groups suffering the most from stigmatization and violence in their respective countries, as pointed out by the Special Rapporteur. Political leaders have used the constant stigmatization of certain “vulnerable groups,” especially during austerity periods to justify “high unemployment rates, cuts in social benefits and increasing poverty.”

Continue reading ‘UN Racism Expert Condemns Antisemitism – But It Is Not Enough’

Beheadline goes viral

Saudi executioner sword

Was the alleged typo in our viral headline “Saudi Lose Bid to Behead of UN Human Rights Council” intentional, or not?

Autocorrect will do just the darnedest things when the word “Saudi” is in context?

One thing is sure: the faux typo caught the attention of the world’s leading news agencies, whose reporters posted it all over Twitter — turning a global spotlight on Saudi Arabia’s shockingly cruel system of gross and systematic human rights abuses.

The buzz sparked a feature debate on Twitchy.com, which concluded: “Amazing UN Watch ‘typo’ regarding Saudi Arabia ‘has to be on purpose’.”

Here’s Henry Tricks, regional bureau chief in Mexico City of The Economist: Continue reading ‘Beheadline goes viral’

“Saudi Arabia Withdraws Its Alarming Candidacy,” reports Tribune de Genève

Pressure caused Saudi representative to backtracked, yet tensions remain

Translated from Tribune de Genève, June 8, 2015

By Alain Jourdan

Facing with an outcry over its candidacy, Saudi Arabia finally renounced its bid for the presidency of the Human Rights Council. Riyadh asked its representative to the UN in Geneva, Faisal bin Hassan Trad, to shelve his ambitions. The diplomat, who took up his post in 2014, had been campaigning for several weeks in the Asia group to become its candidate and secure his tenure as head of the Human Rights Council when the presidency rotates in 2016.

Despite this decision, the “puzzle” remains unsolved, commented a European diplomat. Finding someone to succeed the German Joachim Ruecker in the Asia group promises to be complicated to say the least. The position of president has great symbolic value. The effect would be disastrous for the Council if a representative were appointed from a country that is clearly at odds with the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Continue reading ‘“Saudi Arabia Withdraws Its Alarming Candidacy,” reports Tribune de Genève’