The UN Rights Council on Syria: Apathy, Banality and Triteness

Testimony before the United Nations Human Rights Council, delivered by UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer on 10 September 2013.

Madam President,

The purpose of this council is to protect human rights victims and respond to urgent situations.

Yet as we meet here today, three weeks have passed since Syria gassed to death hundreds of its own men, women, and children — and still the council closes its eyes, refusing our call for an emergency session.

The world deserves to know: Are innocent civilians attacked by their own government with chemical weapons not human rights victims? Is the most horrific crime of the 21st century not an urgent situation?

Yes, the council will discuss Syria next week, but that was scheduled months ago. And yes, High Commissioner Pillay mentioned Syria, yet she avoided any condemnation of its murderous regime.

Madam President, why is this monstrous crime being treated here with such apathy, banality and triteness? Where is this council’s moral outrage? Where is its sense of urgency?

Can a human rights body that ignores this atrocity be deemed credible, effective, or in any way relevant?

The United Nations, which constantly demands accountability, must ask itself:

Why were the killers of Damascus time and again promoted by this organization to key positions, awarded a legitimacy they never deserved?

When Assad murdered 20,000 in 1982, why was Syria sitting here, as an elected member of the Human Rights Commission, and then reelected? What message did that send?

And even after the current massacres began, why was Syria elected in 2011 to UNESCO’s human rights committee? Why is Assad still there, despite our repeated appeals?

Finally, why is it, that of the 10 Agenda Items for this session, only one specific country is listed, and it’s Israel — whose hospitals, as we speak, are quietly treating dozens of Syria’s injured victims?

Let us state the truth: if the UN allocated just one-hundredth of the moral outrage it uses against the only democracy in the Middle East, murderous dictators like Assad might have been shamed, isolated and weakened, instead of elevated, celebrated and strengthened as champions of human rights.

Thank you, Madam President.

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