Archive for the 'HRC 13th session' Category

World Body Slams UN Watch: Criticism of Goldstone Report ‘Cannot Be Accepted’

5 resolutions against Israel, only 3 for rest of world combined  

GENEVA, March 26, 2010 Despite the U.S. having joined the UN Human Rights Council, the 47-nation body today showed that attempts at reform have so far failed. Continuing past practices, the council concluded its main session of the year by slamming Israel in five separate resolutions — more than the total dedicated to the rest of the world combined. Continue reading ‘World Body Slams UN Watch: Criticism of Goldstone Report ‘Cannot Be Accepted’’

Guinea and DRC welcome resolutions; Myanmar criticized

The UN Human Rights Council adopted resolutions on Guinea, the DRC and Myanmar this morning. All three were adopted by consensus without a vote.

  • The new government of Guinea welcomed the resolution slamming the Sept. 2009 incidents (click here for the resolution text as proposed and here for the final text as orally amended):

The adoption by the council of this resolution is eloquent testimony and expression and solidarity felt towards my country in its difficult progression to democracy and peace. On behalf of the African group to salute the invaluable spirit of the international community. Thanks to change and determination of transitional governmentt, opens up real prospects for coming out of crisis and experiencing prosperity. This is why my delegation believes by adopting this resolution our council will have made a contribution to the Ouagadougou declaration signed. Make a strong appeal to council to adopt draft L.14 by consensus as further evidence of unswerving support of fundamental freedoms.

  • The resolution on DRC was weak, and praised the government instead of holding it accountable (click here for the resolution text). The United States and France for the EU expressed dissatisfaction that the DRC resolution does not restablish an independent expert. The text of the resolution on Myanmar was modified minutes before its adoption. Spain for the EU introduced the watered-down text, and made oral revisions to remove “gross” from a statement on violations committed in Myanmar. Though it was not put to a vote, several countries, including Cuba, China and Russia, condemned the adoption of the resolution. Ther DRC welcomed it:

The current draft of the resolution in the DRC presented by Nigeria enjoys the full agreement of my country. As compared with the original text, the present text incorporates the views of the African Group, EU, USA and other members, my country did not accept the introduction because it believes the acceptance today of a field office of the OHCHR whenever they send an invitation it shows our good faith. We consider that the 7 thematic special rapporteurs as they are all on equal footing can not have imposed on a particular method. Call or appeal on L.23 by consensus. Determined to live up to its accommodations.

Ad Hoc Committee Resolution Adopted by Consensus

The UN’s Ad Hoc Committee’s proposal to criminalize religious freedom unanimously passed the Human Rights Council (for more on the Ad Hoc Committee, click here). The resolution was tabled by South Africa for the African regional bloc, but had been challenged by an alternative text proposed by the United States (click here for the final draft as orally amended and click here for the proposed US draft text). Ultimately, the US withdrew its resolution and endorsed the African group’s text after long negotiations to incorporate changes proposed by the Ad Hoc’s Cross-Regional group. The European Union, staying out of the fray, did not join consensus on the resolution. Traditionally voting no, the EU did not call for a vote, which allowed the Council to adopt the resolution by consensus.

“Defamation of Religion” Passes Human Rights Council

The “defamation of religion” resolution (click here for text) narrowly passed the Human Rights Council this afternoon, with 20 members voting in favor of the resolution, 17 opposing and 8 abstentions.

Pakistan introduced the resolution, accusing Western countries of “targeting Muslims” and using “pressure instead of reason” to influence votes. “Enforcing their values as universal values reveals an imperial hubris,” he said. “Torture centers such as Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and Bagram are known to all of us. We hope that this Council will vote according to its conscience and not according to political expediency.”

The United States opposed the resolution, which it said “failed to galvanize international support for real solutions to improve the lives of people on the ground.” It called the resolution “ineffective” and an “instrument of division.”

North Korea Rejects Human Rights Council Vote to Condemn Abuses

The Council condemned North Korea in a resolution that passed with 28 yes votes, 13 abstentions and 5 no votes. Gabon did not vote. The negative votes were Russia, Indonesia, Egypt, Cuba and China. For full voting chart, click here. The delegate from the DPRK rejected the resolution, asserting that it was “full of distortions and fabrications based on political bias.” He accused the United States and the EU enacting a “policy of hostility against the DPRK” in an effort to “eliminate” the current regime. Continue reading ‘North Korea Rejects Human Rights Council Vote to Condemn Abuses’

Israel Condemned by Human Rights Council in Goldstone Vote

he UN Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted the Goldstone resolution this morning, with 29 in favor, 6 against and 11 abstentions. Click here for the full voting chart. The resolution, “Follow-up to the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” (click here for final draft as orally amended) was submitted by Sudan on behalf of the Arab Group, Pakistan on behalf of the OIC and Palestine. The countries voting against the resolution were the Netherlands, the United States, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy and the Ukraine. Among the abstentions were the United Kingdom, France and Belgium. Continue reading ‘Israel Condemned by Human Rights Council in Goldstone Vote’

UN Human Rights Council slams Israel in 4 resolutions

The UN Human Rights Council slammed Israel in 4 resolutions today, with another scheduled tomorrow. The Council’s five against Israel surpass the total combined amount of resolutions it will dedicate to all other countries in the world — one each on Burma, North Korea and Guinea. Continue reading ‘UN Human Rights Council slams Israel in 4 resolutions’

Strains Emerging on “Defamation of Religion” Ahead of Important Vote

Ahead of two important votes later this week, the Ad Hoc Committee met to discuss the resolution tabled by Nigeria on the “Elaboration of Complementary Standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination” (ICERD). Together with the annual resolution on the “Defamation of Religion,” they signal forceful actions by Islamic nations to change international law at the expense of freedom of expression, as part of the follow-up to the 2001 Durban conference on racism. For more on the Ad Hoc Committee and its earlier proceedings, click hereContinue reading ‘Strains Emerging on “Defamation of Religion” Ahead of Important Vote’

Human Rights Chief Attacked for “Lack of Professionalism”

Cuba criticized the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, headed by Navi Pillay, for a “lack of professionalism, lack of stringency and the use of unfounded allegations and improper evaluations.” The statement was issued in response to Pillay’s annual address before this morning’s Human Rights Council session. 

Below is a summary of today’s debate.

  • Navi Pillay condemned the human rights situations in Sri Lanka, Iran, Egypt and Sudan. In Sri Lanka, “the opportunity for peace and reconciliation continues to be marred by the treatment of journalists, human rights defenders and other critics of the government,” she said. Pillay also singled out Iran for the “violent crackdown on dissent, including the arbitrary arrest of demonstrators, human rights activists, journalists, and prominent political figures.” Pillay also recounted the achievements of her office in the last year, including the highly controversial and problematic Durban Review Conference, which took place in April 2009 under her stewardship.
  • Cuba criticized Pillay’s office for “a lack of professionalism, a lack of stringency and the use of unfounded allegations and improper evaluations,” claiming a double-standard for treatment of the United States.
  • China cast its show of support for the High Commissioner by declaring its intention to promote the outcome document of the conference on racism in Durban, while Pakistan for the OIC criticized the High Comissioner for omitting mention of “defamation of religion” in describing her planned initiatives for the next year. Saudi Arabia and Indonesia also urged Pillay to prioritize the issue.

Call for UN investigation of Ahmadinejad to be on UN Rights Council agenda next week

In September, 50 Iranian human rights activists made an appeal to the United Nations for urgent intervention. UN Watch has now submitted this appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Council as an official document (A/HRC/13/NGO/117), which will be formally circulated by the Human Rights Council next week when it debates “Agenda Item 4: Situations that require the Council’s attention.” Click here for original PDF, or see below. This doesn’t mean any action will be taken, but at least ensures that the issue is placed squarely before the assembled delegates and UN officials. Continue reading ‘Call for UN investigation of Ahmadinejad to be on UN Rights Council agenda next week’

Cuba accuses United States of committing genocide

At this afternoon’s session of the Human Rights Council, Cuba hurled invectives at the United States, setting back attempts by the Obama administration to improve relations with the island nation. Adding to the atmosphere of politicization and lack of cooperation at the UN body, several nations, including Iran, Egypt and Russsia, took to criticizing other member states rather than proposing suggestions for reform. Continue reading ‘Cuba accuses United States of committing genocide’

Dutch FM: “Substandard” UN council members should be “left on the bench”

This morning’s high level segment of the 13th Human Rights Council featured senior government officials from Ireland, the Netherlands, Angola and Japan. Most speeches looked forward to the 2011 review of the Human Rights Council, and raised concerns about the Council’s effectiveness in promoting and protecting human rights.  Continue reading ‘Dutch FM: “Substandard” UN council members should be “left on the bench”’

High-Level UN Segment Calls Attention to Ongoing Abuses

The United Kingdom called out Iran and Burma for denying its citizens their human rights at today’s meeting of the Human Rights Council. The High-Level Segment, which takes place every year, permits senior government officials to discuss any issue of interest before the Council begins in earnest. Continue reading ‘High-Level UN Segment Calls Attention to Ongoing Abuses’

Insults hurled on Day 1 of Human Rights Council

The UN Human Rights Council opened today in Geneva for its month-long regular session, with speeches by high-ranking government officials from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and the United States. In a vicious attack against the West, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, lambasted other nations for terrorism and lewdness. Continue reading ‘Insults hurled on Day 1 of Human Rights Council’

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