Testimony before the UN Human Rights Council delivered today, 19 June 2014, by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, under Agenda Item 3, “Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development.”
The members of this Council have been mandated by the international community to protect victims of human rights violations around the world.
Is the Council living up to its mandate?
Let us consider the most fundamental of all human rights—the right to life—by examining what has happened in the world, over the past 12 months:
July 2013, Turkey: Doctors report that in the Gezi Park protests, police killed 5 people, wounded 8,163 and used chemical riot control weapons against more than 10,000.
August, Egypt: Authorities crush the sit-in held by supporters of deposed president Morsi, killing 1,000 people.
September, Iran: One month after President Rouhani’s inauguration, amid promises of human rights reforms, Iranian officials ignore UN appeals, and hang a record 50 individuals.
Did the council respond with any resolutions, urgent debates, or inquiries to determine the facts, and hold perpetrators accountable? No. Its response was silence.
October, Afghanistan: Terrorists bomb a minibus, killing 14 women and a child who were on their way to celebrate a wedding.
November, Libya: Militia kill 31 during protests in Tripoli, injuring 235.
December, South Sudan: BBC reports mass ethnic killings, including 200 shot by security forces.
January, Pakistan: 236 civilians killed by terrorist attacks.
This Council’s response? Silence.
February, Ukraine: Police kill 75 protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square.
March, China: Activist Cao Shunli, who was arrested for trying to travel to Geneva and participate this Council, mysteriously dies in prison.
April, Iraq: 750 Iraqis killed, 1,541 injured by terrorism.
May, Venezuela: Troops arrest 243 student protesters and kill one of their own, bringing the death toll to 42 since the start of the opposition protests.
Finally, June — a few weeks ago — in Nigeria: Boko Haram massacres 200 civilians while still holding the 276 school girls it abducted in April…
At this point Mr. Neuer’s testimony was interrupted by points of order claiming that the content was outside of the agenda item, and requesting the Chair to stop him from speaking. Venezuela said Neuer was “out of order,” echoed by Cuba, China, Iran, Pakistan, and Egypt, the latter saying that the subject matter of the speech was “inappropriate.” Mr. Neuer’s right to speak was, however, defended by representatives of the U.S. , France, Ireland, Canada, Norway, and Britain. The Chair read out the relevant rules of procedure, and gave the floor back to UN Watch.
Mr. President, if it “inappropriate” to speak about the urgent need to take action for victims of human rights violations around the world, then why are we here?
Thank you, Mr. President.