U.N. diplomats watch Gaza reruns, no time for victims in China and Iran

The diplomats at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva have simply not found any time this summer to help the peaceful protesters being gunned down by state-sponsored forces in Iran and China.

The human rights chambers are effectively mothballed until the next mandatory session in September.  Neda got shot? Uighurs are being slaughtered on the streets? Sorry, I’ve got a lunch-time appointment for water-skiing in Lake Geneva with two of my buddies from the Non-Aligned Movement.

Only one thing, over the past 2 days, did manage to capture the commissioners’ attention, and draw them into the Palais des Nations: watching reruns on a giant screen of the Gaza hearings recently conducted by the council’s Goldstone Mission, where Palestinians, enjoying all the freedom of speech guaranteed by the watchful eye of the Hamas regime,  testified about Israeli brutality.

Among the diplomats who came to observe the reruns were those from Russia, Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Iran, the Palestinian territories, Bangladesh, along with a few others from South America, Asia and even a couple from Western Europe. If Goldstone’s public hearings were unprecedented and questionable, the larger-than-life reruns organized by his Mission were doubly so.

Since the entire video was fully available on the U.N.’s website, accessible from the comfort of each of the diplomat’s desktops (and already broadcast live by certain TV networks), what was the purpose of the whole event?

For those seeking reassurances that the Mission will avoid politicizing its work, the past two days will come as a great disappointment.

See the Mission’s official notice below.

_______________________ 

UNITED NATIONS FACT FINDING MISSION ON THE GAZA CONFLICT

Fax: (41-22) 928 9003, Telephone: (41 22) 928 9205, E-mail: factfindinggaza@ohchr.org

UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict
Screening of Gaza Public Hearings at the Palais des Nations
Room XVI, A Building, 16 – 17 July 2009

On 6 and 7 July 2009, the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict heard testimonies given in Geneva by people from Israel and the West Bank, as well as other experts.

The Geneva hearings session was preceded by public hearings conducted in Gaza City on 28 and 29 June 2009, during which the Mission heard testimonies by people from Gaza.

The aim of the public hearings, which are a part of the Mission’s investigations into the December 2008 – January 2009 Gaza conflict, was to enable victims from all sides in the conflict as well as experts on its impact and consequences to speak directly to the international community about their experiences.

On Thursday 16 and Friday 17 July 2009, the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict will screen at the Palais des Nations the public hearings conducted in Gaza City. Diplomatic Missions, United Nations agencies, bodies and departments, Non-Governmental Organisations accredited to the United Nations in Geneva, UN accredited media and members of the public with UN grounds passes are invited to view the screening of the Gaza hearings in Room XVI on the fifth floor of “A” building on 16 & 17 July. The screening will take place from 11 am to 4 pm on both days.

A webcast of the public hearings in Gaza and Geneva is also available at the following web address: http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=041.

The mandate of the Fact Finding Mission is to provide an independent investigation into all violations of International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law in the context of the 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009 military operations in Gaza, whether they took place before, during or after those dates.

Geneva 14 July 2009

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