Daily Archive for June 13th, 2013

Highlights, Resolutions & Voting Results of HRC 23rd Session

On June 13th & 14th, 2013, the UN Human Rights Council votes on the draft resolutions. Below are the session’s highlights as well as the vote on important resolutions.

Condemnatory Country-Specific Resolutions:

The Deteriorating Situation of Human Rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, and the recent killings in Al-Qusayr (A/HRC/23/L.1)
Submitted by: Qatar, Turkey and the United States.
Vote Result: Adopted, May 29 2013, by a vote of 36 votes in favour, 1 vote against (Venezuela), and 8 abstentions (Angola, Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Philippines, and Uganda), as orally amended.

The Situation of Human Rights in the Syrian Arab Republic and the need to grant acces to the Commission of Inquiry (A/HRC/23/L.29)
Submitted by: United States, UK, Turkey, Qatar, and Kuwait.
Vote Result: Adopted, June 14 2013, by a vote of 37 votes in favour, 1 vote against (Venezuela), and 9 abstentions (Angola, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Philippines, and Uganda), as orally amended.

Situation of Human Rights in Belarus (A/HRC/23/L.18)
Submitted by: Ireland, on behalf of the EU.
Vote Result: Adopted, June 13 2013, by a vote of 26 votes in favour, 3 votes against (India, Kazakhstan, Venezuela) and 18 abstentions (Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Libya, Mauritania, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Moldova, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Uganda, UAE).

Situation of human rights in Eritrea (A/HRC/23/L.17)
Submitted by: Djibouti, Somalia, and Nigeria.
Adopted: June 14 2013, without a vote, as orally revised.

Non-Condemnatory Country-Specific Resolutions:

Technical Assistance to the Central African Republic in the field of Human Rights (A/HRC/23/L.3)
Submitted by: Gabon, on behalf of the African Group.
Adopted: June 13 2013, without a vote, as orally revised.

Renforcement de la Coopération Technique et Services Consultatifs en Guinée (A/HRC/23/L.4)
Submitted by: Gabon, on behalf the African Group.
Adopted: June 14 2013, without a vote, as orally revised.

Assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights (A/HRC/23/L.11)
Submitted by: UK, Australia, Austria, Djibouti, Somalia, Italy, Sweden, Qatar, Ethiopia, Norway, Turkey, and Yemen.
Adopted: June 14 2013, without a vote, as orally revised.

Technical Assistance and Capacity Building in South Sudan in the field of Human Rights (A/HRC/23/L.24)
Submitted by: Gabon, on behalf of the African Group.
Adopted: June 14 2013, without a vote.

Assistance Technique à la Côte d’Ivoire dans le domaine des Droits de l’Homme (A/HRC/23/L.2 Rev.1)
Submitted by: Gabon on behalf of the African Group
Adopted: June 14 2013, without a vote.

The Human Rights Situation of Muslims in Myanmar (A/HRC/23/L.26)
Submitted by: Pakistan and Myanmar
Adopted: June 14 2013, without a vote, as orally revised.

Noteworthy Thematic Resolutions:

Promotion of the Right to Peace (A/HRC/23/L.21)
Submitted by: Cuba, on behalf of CELAC (The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States).
Vote Requested: The United States.
Vote Result: Adopted, June 13th 2013, with 30 votes in favour, 9 votes against (Austria, Estonia, Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Montenegro, South Korea, Spain, and The United States), and 8 abstentions (India, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland, Moldova, Romania, and Switzerland).

The Effects of Foreign Debt and other related International Financial Obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all Human Rights, Particularly Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (A/HRC/23/L.22)
Submitted by: Cub.
Vote Requested: Ireland, on behalf of the European Union.
Vote Result: Adopted, June 13th 2013, with 30 votes in favour, 15 votes against (EU Countries, United States, Switzerland, South Korea, Montenegro, and Japan), and 2 abstentions (Peru and Chile).

Human Rights and International Solidarity (A/HRC/23/L.23)
Submitted by: Cuba
Vote Requested: The United States, Ireland, and The European Union.
Vote Result: Adopted, June 13th 2013, with 32 votes in favour, 15 votes against (EU Countries, Japan, Montenegro, South Korea, Switzerland, and United States), and no abstentions.

Accelerating Efforts to Eliminate all forms of Violence Against Women (A/HRC/23/L.28)
Submitted by: Canada
Adopted: June 14 2013, without a vote, as orally revised.
Notes: Russia submitted 6 amendments to the original resolution, but later withdrew them after the oral revisions were made.

New: UK says Richard Falk article “resonant of longstanding antisemitic practice of blaming Jews”

UN Watch has learned that the British government has condemned a recent Richard Falk article for being “resonant of the longstanding antisemitic practice of blaming Jews (through the State of Israel by proxy) for all that is wrong in the world.”

Two months ago, on April 24, we published on this blog the following UK statement that has been sent to reporters:

UK Press Release: Statement on comments by UN Special Rapporteur, Richard Falk – 24 April 2013

The Spokesperson of the UK Mission to the UN said:

The UK objects strongly to recent remarks made by UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk, linking the Boston bombings to“American global domination” and “Tel Aviv”. This is the third time we have had cause to express our concerns about Mr Falk’s antisemitic remarks.   It is important to the UK that Special Rapporteurs uphold the highest standards in their work and we have twice previously made clear that remarks by Mr Falk were unacceptable.

Well, a skeptic named S. Smith filed a Freedom of Information request with the UK government asking whether UN Watch had accurately reproduced the above statement, and he requested a specific explanation of what London regarded as antisemitic.

Last week, in a June 6th response, the British government explained in detail why they recently condemned the UN’s Richard Falk for antisemitism:

Shortly after the appalling event in Boston, Her Majesty the Queen, the Prime Minister and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Ministers offered condolences to the President and the people of America, and our thoughts go out to those victims and their family and friends. Nothing can justify this attack. We therefore strongly objected to the comments by the UN Special Rapporteur in this context that the “United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks.”
The relevant paragraph from Richard Falk’s article for the Foreign Policy Journal reads:
“The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world. In some respects, the United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks, and these may yet happen, especially if there is no disposition to rethink US relations to others in the world, starting with the Middle East”.
In the same article Mr Falk said that “as long as Tel Aviv has the compliant ear of the American political establishment, those who wish for peace and justice in the world should not rest easy.” We believe this article is resonant of the longstanding antisemitic practice of blaming Jews (through the State of Israel by proxy) for all that is wrong in the world. This is unacceptable.
We do strongly support the work of Special Rapporteurs as they are a vital part of the UN Human Rights System and it is important that they are able to act independently. However we objected strongly to Mr Falk’s remarks and will continue to raise our objections whenever any Special Rapporteur fails to uphold the standards required in his/her work.
The U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky also said that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon rejected Falk’s comments, which could undermine the U.N.’s credibility and work. “The Secretary-General immediately condemned the Boston marathon bombing and he strongly believes that nothing can justify such an attack.”
The letter was written by Philippa Thompson, Deputy Team Leader of the Equality and Non-Discrimination Team within the Human Rights & Democracy Department of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Under Attack: Emergency Campaign to Counter Richard Falk’s Attempted Shut Down of UN Watch

As a powerful response and rejoinder to Richard Falk’s unprecedented call for a Human Rights Council “investigation” designed to shut down UN Watch, an emergency campaign has been announced with the goal of raising $50,000 to help the vital organization continue — and strengthen — its frontline position fighting bigots, dictatorships and double standards at the United Nations. To contribute, please click here.

To date, almost half of the goal has been achieved, being $22,766. We hope to raise the remainder before the UNHRC session ends on June 15.

Donations and powerful expressions of support for UN Watch have poured in from hundreds of friends around the world, including people from:

Abbotsford, Albuquerque, Atlanta, Auckland, Berkeley, Bethesda, Beverly Hills, Boulder, Bronx, Brookline, Brussels, Buffalo, Cape Town, Caracas, Caulfield, Chicago, Cincinnati, Concord, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Dover Heights, New South Wales, Australia, Edgware, Englewood, Falls Church, Forest Hills, Fort Lee, Geneva, Haifa, Hampton, Harrow, Hershey, Hillcrest, Hoboken, Hollywood, Houston, London, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Manchester, Marseille, Merrick, Miami, Monsey, Mercer Islamd, Nahariya, Nanaimo, New Rochelle, New York, Olympia, Palo Alto, Paris, Phoenix, Princeton, Raanana, Richmond, Sacramento, San Diego, San Rafael, Sandy Springs, Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa, Saratoga, Scarborough, Scarsdale, Seattle, Shaker Heights, Stamford, Stanford, Stanford, Sunny Isles Beach, Teaneck, Tel Aviv, The Hague, Thornhill, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, West Bloomfield, West Orange, Winnipeg, Woodland Hills, and Zichron Yaacov.