If a government has violated your freedom of speech, opinion, thought, conscience, assembly or association, you can file a complaint with the human rights committee of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
There’s only one catch, as indicated in this recent UNESCO booklet: one of the judges deciding your case will be the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Despite UN Watch’s year-long campaign of 55 parliamentarians, human rights and religious groups calling for Syria’s expulsion — following UNESCO’s inexplicable election of the murderous regime to a committee that rules on individual human rights complaints worldwide – the dictator-dominated agency and its director Irina Bokova refuse to act, despite the latter’s obligation to pursue “the elimination of massive, systematic or ﬂagrant violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” and despite the U.S. ambassador’s request that she do so.
Although the U.N. has just confirmed the shocking figure of least 60,000 people dead, as Assad’s forces for the second day fired rockets today into neighborhoods of their own capital city, Syria remains a full member of UNESCO’s human rights committee, and no one at UNESCO seems to care the slightest bit.
UNESCO is allowing the Assad regime to strut in Paris as a U.N. human rights arbiter, an indefensible insult to Syria’s victims.
After UNESCO elected Syria to its human rights committee in November 2011, UN Watch launched a campaign to reverse the decision, prompting the US and Britain to initiate a March 2012 debate at UNESCO. See detailed timeline here.
However, while a resolution was adopted censuring Syria’s violations — a welcome first for UNESCO — the promised call to oust the regime from UNESCO’s human rights panel was excised.
U.S. ambassador David Killion expressed hope that UNESCO would yet act, but it has not.
Paris insiders say that UNESCO diplomats from non-democratic regimes are afraid to create a precedent of ousting repressive governments.
The Assad regime’s ongoing membership calls into question the credibility of UNESCO’s mission to protect human rights, and Syria’s membership is a lingering stain upon the reputation of the UN as a whole. By maintaining Assad in a position of global influence on human rights, UNESCO is sending absolutely the wrong message. It an unconscionable insult to the suffering people of Syria.