Archive for the 'Human Rights Council (UNHRC)' Category

Reactions to Al Jazeera debate: Hillel Neuer vs. PLO adviser Diana Buttu

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Hillel Neuer destroys Al Jazeera panel on “Israeli war crimes”

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UN refuses to apologize for advocating cement used for terror tunnels

Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

Secretary-General’s remarks to International Conference on the Palestinian Economy and Gaza Reconstruction, 02.03.2009
“Construction materials and spare parts are needed to repair damaged water and sanitation systems. There is no concrete or steel to build homes or shelters…”
http://www.un.org/sg/statements/?nid=3728

Secretary-General’s remarks to the Ministerial Meeting of the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, 11.05.2009
“I call on Israel to respond positively to repeated calls to allow glass, cement and building materials into Gaza. ”
http://www.un.org/sg/statements/?nid=3838 Continue reading ‘UN refuses to apologize for advocating cement used for terror tunnels’

UN Watch testimony at UNHRC urgent session on Gaza

Testimony delivered today, 23 July 2014, by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, at the UN Human Rights Council Emergency Session on Gaza 

Mr. President, I have just returned here from visiting Israel to tell this assembly, and the world, about the grave situation that I witnessed and experienced.

An entire nation—towns, villages and cities, from the Negev Desert up to the Galilee, from the Judean hills of Jerusalem to the Tel Aviv seashore—has been under brutal and relentless attack, from more than two thousand mortars, rockets and long-range missiles, fired from Gaza toward civilians in every part of the Holy Land.

Continue reading ‘UN Watch testimony at UNHRC urgent session on Gaza’

Today: 7th UNHRC special session against Israel (N. Korea only had 1…)

special session - image

GENEVA, July 23, 2014 - From its inception in 2006 until and including today’s urgent meeting to condemn Israel, the UN Human Rights Council has held 21 special sessions. Of the 17 sessions that criticize countries, more than 30 percent have been on Israel. They are examined below.

In addition, in the middle of regular sessions, the HRC has three times convened an “Urgent Debate”: the first one against Israel over the flotilla incident of June 2010, for which the council created the entire urgent debate mechanism itself, and in which a fact-finding mission was created that produced a one-sided report whose conclusions were later refuted by the UN Secretary-General’s own Palmer Commission;  and two on Syria, in February 2012 and May 2013. No other country has been subjected to an urgent debate. Continue reading ‘Today: 7th UNHRC special session against Israel (N. Korea only had 1…)’

Canadian FM “appalled” by UNRWA schools’ rocket stockpile

 baird

Photo: Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird receiving
UN Watch human rights award, September 2013

BAIRD APPALLED BY REPORTS OF UN AGENCY
HANDING OVER WEAPONS TO HAMAS

July 22, 2014

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement;

“I was appalled to hear reports, one as recent as today, of stockpiles of rockets in a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza.”

“Even more alarming were reports that in the first case, officials with the United Nations returned these weapons to Hamas, a listed terrorist organization, once Israeli officials discovered their location.

“Canada unequivocally calls on the United Nations to launch an immediate independent investigation to determine the facts surrounding these reports.  Canada also calls on the United Nations to ensure that in the second case, no rockets are returned to Hamas.  Anything less than an independent investigation would be absolutely unacceptable.

“If proven true, this would fly in the face of all that the United Nations should stand for as an institution committed to the peace and security of its members.”

Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations states that the UN’s purpose is to:

“…maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.”

Hamas’ Human Shield Tactic as Reported by Foreign Journalists

Hamas’ Human Shield Tactic as Reported by Foreign Journalists

1. The Gaza correspondent of Canada’s Globe and Mail, Patrick Martin, wrote in his article from 20 July: “The presence of militant fighters in Shejaia became clear Sunday afternoon when, under the cover of a humanitarian truce intended to allow both sides to remove the dead and wounded, several armed Palestinians scurried from the scene.Some bore their weapons openly, slung over their shoulder, but at least two, disguised as women, were seen walking off with weapons partly concealed under their robes. Another had his weapon wrapped in a baby blanket and held on his chest as if it were an infant.”

2. Canadian TV correspondent Janis Mackey Frayer tweeted the following on 20 July:

Continue reading ‘Hamas’ Human Shield Tactic as Reported by Foreign Journalists’

UN holds Cuban-sponsored meeting on Private Security Companies

From July 21-25, the UN in Geneva is holding a meeting of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the activities of private military and security companies (PMSCs) This goal of this session, called for by a resolution tabled by Cuba and the African Group, is “to consider the possibility of elaborating an international regulatory framework” for the oversight of private military and security companies. In addition, the agenda also includes another Cuban anti-Western favorite, “the use of mercenaries as a mean of violating human rights.”

During the discussion, the U.S., UK, and EU expressed their opposition to the idea, stating their concern with the lack of effectiveness and appropriateness of an intergovernmental regulatory system for this issue. They were also disappointed with the absence of representation from the business sector at these discussions. The US, though focusing mainly on PSCs rather than on both PSCs and PMCs, gave several other suggestions that they deemed more practical, such as methods for closer scrutiny, oversight, and approval of such companies on a national level and the promotion of appropriate prosecution for those who breach existing laws.

Several others including the African group, South Africa, Pakistan, Cuba, and Senegal argued the opposing view, stating the importance of international governance on this issue. Their reasoning followed that the transnational nature of PMSCs makes that self-regulation and domestic laws alone inefficient as monitors. Additionally, the state of impunity and lack of accountability in which the contractors of PMSCs live make the perpetration of human rights violations all the more possible, speaking again to the need for an internally binding instrument on this issue.

Test yourself: Are you pro human rights, or just anti-Israel?

quote for FB

 

“If in the past year you didn’t CRY OUT when thousands of protesters were killed and injured by Turkey, Egypt and Libya, when more victims than ever were hanged by Iran, women and children in Afghanistan were bombed, whole communities were massacred in South Sudan, 1800 Palestinians were starved and murdered by Assad in Syria, hundreds in Pakistan were killed by jihadist terror attacks, 10,000 Iraqis were killed by terrorists, villagers were slaughtered in Nigeria, but you ONLY cry out for GAZA, then you are not pro HUMAN RIGHTS, you are only ANTI-ISRAEL.”

 — Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, July 15, 2014

–> CLICK HERE TO SHARE ON FACEBOOK

 

UNRWA tells reporters to interview Norwegian supporter of 9/11 terror attacks

gilb666

GENEVA, July 14 - UN Watch today called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reprimand a top official in Gaza who is telling reporters to interview a Norwegian doctor and radical Maoist politician who in September 2001 openly supported the “moral right” of Al Qaeda to perpetrate the 9/11 terrorist attacks against thousands of American civilians.

Earlier today, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness reached out to journalists with the following Twitter post: Great interviewee @ Shifa Hosp Gaza right now Prof Mads Gilbert +4790878740 call him 4 fatality & cas figs and atoms RT”

“It’s an outrage that a supposed UN relief organization — which receives tens of millions of dollars from U.S. and European taxpayers — is promoting a radical politician who has openly supported the murder of American civilians,” said Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch.

“We urge UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reprimand Mr. Gunness, and to put a stop to the cynical misuse of UN relief funds to promote the Hamas terrorist agenda.”

Dr. Mads Gilbert is well known in Norway as a far-left political activist who, according to Norwegian news reports, openly supports “bloody” revolutions. He joined the Workers’ Communist Party (AKP), now known as the Red party, in the 1970s, and in 2009 ran as the 14th-ranked candidate on the Red party list for elections in Troms. The party calls for revolution to “disarm the bourgeoisie.”

gilbert-dagbladetGilbert provoked a front-page scandal in Norway (see image, right: Norwegian doctors ADVOCATE TERROR attack”) when he expressed support for the 9/11 attacks in an interview with Norway’s Dagbladet newspaper, on 30 September 2001.

First the newspaper quotes his support for a colleague’s pro-terrorism position:

I advocate the moral right of the people you call terrorists to attack the United States, as a legitimate response to 25 years of wars of aggression, mines, starvation and embargo, says surgeon Hans Husum, University Hospital of Tromsø. He is supported by physician Mads Gilbert.

Then Gilbert makes his own views crystal clear:

Dagbladet: Do you support a terrorist attack on the United States?
Gilbert: “Terror is a poor weapon, but the answer is yes, within the context I have mentioned.”

Dagbladet
: You understand that this will create reactions?
Gilbert: “Yes, that’s to be expected. The white world does not understand that it is possible to see such an act in a different perspective.”

 

Palestinian UN rep: “Each and every missile launched against Israel constitutes a crime against humanity”

In an astonishing moment of candor, the Palestinian representative to the UN Human Rights Council — in explaining the high risk of Palestinians being indicted if the International Criminal Court acquires jurisdiction – has admitted that “each and every” Palestinian missile now being launched against Israeli civilian centers constitutes “a crime against humanity”; that, by contrast, Israel’s own response actions in Gaza “followed the legal procedures” because, as Hamas spokespersons admitted on TV, “the Israelis warned them to evacuate their homes before the bombardment; but, however, “as for the missiles launched from our side, we never warn anyone about where these missiles are about to fall or about the operations we carry out.”

The extraordinary admissions by Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi came in a July 9th interview on Palestinnian TV. Below is video and transcript by MEMRI.

Interviewer: The popular demand is to appeal to the International Criminal Court and to sign the Rome Statute. The demand is to do this immediately. To what extent is this realistic? You are our representative in all the international organizations. What can we gain from such a step, and could we ourselves be indicted?

Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi: I am not a candidate in any Palestinian elections, so I don’t need to win popularity among the Palestinians. The missiles that are now being launched against Israel,  each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity, whether it hits or misses, because it is directed at civilian targets. What Israel does against Palestinian civilians also constitutes crimes against humanity. OK?

Continue reading ‘Palestinian UN rep: “Each and every missile launched against Israel constitutes a crime against humanity”’

Canada Rejects UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Criticism of Israel’s Response to Rocket Attacks from Gaza

baird

 

Photo: Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird receiving UN Watch award in September 2013

 

Canada Rejects UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Criticism of Israel’s Response to Rocket Attacks from Gaza 

July 12, 2014 – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“Canada rejects UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s uncalled-for criticism of Israel’s response to rocket attacks from Gaza. Focusing her comments on Israel is neither helpful nor reflective of the reality of this crisis.

“There must be no moral equivalence between Hamas, a listed terrorist organization, and its blatant disregard for human life, and the liberal democratic State of Israel’s duty and obligation to defend its people from cowardly and indiscriminate attacks. Continue reading ‘Canada Rejects UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Criticism of Israel’s Response to Rocket Attacks from Gaza’

The Proliferation of “Human Rights”- A Dictator’s Best Friend

This month at the UN saw the discussion of three seemingly “human rights” declarations – one on the Right to Peace, one on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, and one on the Right of Peoples and Individuals to International Solidarity. But why are they unable to garner consensus? And why do so many democracies criticize them either for their lack of clarity, or their outright uselessness?

In a UN meeting on the Right to Peace, several democracies expressed concerns that trying to define such a right would possibly be dangerous to human rights, that it is too vague, that in fact the Right to Peace cannot be recognized as either an individual right or as a collective one, and that it does not reflect any international principles enshrined in the UN Charter.

In a meeting on the Right of Peasants, similar concerns were expressed. The EU stated that it is not convinced that a declaration is the best way forward, that the existing normative framework is sufficient to protect human rights and that the problem is one of implementation. South Korea also had “strong reservations” on whether it was really needed.

The Declaration on International Solidarity is no more promising, containing an array of watery phrases like:

Continue reading ‘The Proliferation of “Human Rights”- A Dictator’s Best Friend’

UN Racism Expert Condemns Holocaust Denial

Unlike its discredited predecessor, the Human Rights Council has not passed one single resolution condemning antisemitism. (The Commission on Human Rights used to condemn antisemitism in 3 separate resolutions each year. Not much has changed since our 2004-2007 The United Nations and Anti-Semitism Report Card.)

Yet, in a recent welcome development, Mr. Mutuma Ruteere, the UN’s expert on racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, had some tough words for antisemites across the world. In his most recent report, the expert dedicated an entire section to “Countering Holocaust denial and the distortion of History” and included another section outlining successful methods for combating neo-Nazis and skinheads.

In particular, the report explicitly defines and denounces modern Holocaust denial. The report defines Holocaust denial as 1) denying six million Jews were killed during the Second World War; 2) professing the Nazis had no official policy or intention to exterminate Jews; and 3) extermination and concentration camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau never existed.

The expert explains that while the Holocaust “is one of the well-documented events in recent history,” Holocaust denial is driven directly by antisemitism and as a tool for advancing the conspiracy of Jewish world domination. This antisemitism, the expert continues, also manifests in overtly antisemitic events and actions such as a full military funeral of an SS officer, a celebration of a Nazi military victory, and the promotion of antisemitic views by a comedian [alluding to French "comedian" Dieudonne] and other public personalities.
Continue reading ‘UN Racism Expert Condemns Holocaust Denial’

Rights Group Welcomes ‘Landmark’ UN Vote Creating Inquiry on Eritrea Abuses

Rights Group Welcomes ‘Landmark’ UN Vote Creating Inquiry on Eritrea Abuses 

Eritrean delegation interrupted testimony by Eritrean human rights dissident brought by UN Watch

GENEVA, June 27, 2014 – Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch welcomed the Human Rights Council’s “landmark” creation of a commission of inquiry into human rights abuses in Eritrea, in a resolution that was adopted by consensus today at the 47-nation body.

The resolution “strongly condemns” the Eritrean authorities for perpetrating “widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

“It speaks volumes that thousands of Eritreans are fleeing every month to escape their country’s grave abuses,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

“Today’s resolution sends the message that the time has arrived to seek minimal human rights accountability from the Eritrean government.”

“Let’s not forget that Eritrea is one of the few countries without any reporting on the human rights situation from within, and a complete lack of access by international human rights observers, rendering monitoring of human rights conditions on the ground extremely challenging,” said Neuer.

Continue reading ‘Rights Group Welcomes ‘Landmark’ UN Vote Creating Inquiry on Eritrea Abuses’

Resolutions and Voting Results of 26th HRC Session

Condemnatory Country-Specific Resolutions:

The continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/26/L.4)
Sponsors: UK, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Germany, USA, Jordan, Qatar, France, Kuwait, Italy
Orally revised  to reflect the role of chemical weapons in Syria
Vote Result: 32 in favor, 5 against (Algeria, Russia, Cuba, China, Venezuela), 9 abstentions (India, Ethiopia, Pakistan).

Situation of human rights in Eritrea (A/HRC/26/L.6)
Sponsor: Somalia
Result: Adopted without a vote  as orally revised. (China, Pakistan and Venezuela disassociated from consensus.)

Situation of human rights in Belarus (A/HRC/26/L.14)
Sponsor: Greece on behalf of the European Union
Vote Result: 24 in favor, 7 against (Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, Viet Nam),  16 abstentions

 

Non-Condemnatory Country-Specific Resolutions:

Technical and capacity- building assistance for South Sudan in Human Rights (A/HRC/26/L.32)
Sponsor: South Sudan
Result: Adopted without a vote.

Cooperation and assistance to Ukraine in the field of human rights (A/HRC/26/L.15)
Sponsor: Ukraine
Vote Result as orally revised: 23 in favor, 4 against (China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela), 19 abstentions

Renforcement de capacités et cooperation technique avec la Côte d’Ivoire dans le domaine des droits de l’homme (A/HRC/26/L.39)
Sponsor: Ethiopia for the African Group
Result: Adopted without a vote.

Continue reading ‘Resolutions and Voting Results of 26th HRC Session’

Rights group urges countries to vote today for landmark UN inquiry on Eritrea abuses

GENEVA, June 26, 2014 – Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch called on all 47 member states of the Human Rights Council to vote in favor of creating a landmark commission of inquiry into human rights abuses in Eritrea, as proposed in a draft resolution, sponsored by Somalia, that is slated for a vote today.

(See resolution A/HRC/26/L.6, “Situation of human rights in Eritrea,” listed on today’s Order of the Day.)

 If adopted, the resolution would “strongly condemn” the Eritrean authorities for perpetrating “widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The text cites arbitrary and extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, the use of torture, arbitrary and incommunicado detention without recourse to justice, and detention in inhumane and degrading conditions. Continue reading ‘Rights group urges countries to vote today for landmark UN inquiry on Eritrea abuses’

Mother of Kidnapped Israeli Teenager Neftali Frankel Addresses UN

UN Watch invited Rachel Frankel, the mother of 16-year-old Israeli-American kidnap victim Naftali Frankel, who was one of three boys abducted on June 12th, to address United Nations Human Rights Council this morning to appeal for international support of the boys’ safe return. (See video of her speech. Transcript after the jump).

UN Watch also facilitated meetings for the three mothers with international officials, including UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri.

Continue reading ‘Mother of Kidnapped Israeli Teenager Neftali Frankel Addresses UN’

UN’s Dictatorships Fail to Stop “2014 Catalog of UN Inaction on Global Rights Abuses”

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.”

Mr. President,

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.

UN Watch Interactive Dialogue with UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea

Testimony by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, June 18

Thank you, Madam Rapporteur.

UN Watch commends the Special Rapporteur for her report, which documents gross and systematic violations of human rights in Eritrea . We fully support renewal of your mandate, and greatly appreciate your vital work. Continue reading ‘UN Watch Interactive Dialogue with UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea’

UN Elevates Syria: Business as Usual

Testimony before the UN Human Rights Council, delivered by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, 18 June 2014, during the Interactive Dialogue with the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry on Syria. 

Mr. President, what the Commission of Inquiry has just described is a living hell. Faced with continuing reports of Syria’s mass murder, torture, rape, and gassing of civilians by chemical weapons, how is the United Nations responding?

With notable exceptions, this inquiry being one, the UN’s policy toward Syria can be described in three words: business as usual.

Consider the following. In November 2011, well into Syria’s atrocities, UNESCO elected the Syrian regime—unanimously—to its human rights committee.

I ask the commission: what message did the UN send, when—up until only a few  months ago—it allowed the Assad regime to sit as a judge of petitions submitted by human rights victims from around the world?

But Mr. President, it didn’t stop there. On February 20th of this year, as Syria’s Juhayna news trumpeted with glee, that country, that mass murdering regime, was “unanimously re-elected as Rapporteur of the UN Special Committee on Decolonization.”

In fact, as we meet, that committee—with Syria as its Rapporteur—is in session this week in New York, debating the future of Gibraltar, the Falklands, Bermuda, French Polynesia and New Caledonia. Continue reading ‘UN Elevates Syria: Business as Usual’

Today: Senate to finally confirm new US rep to UN Human Rights Council

Today at 5:30 pm the U.S. Senate is expected to finally confirm the appointment of a new American ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council.

Keith-Harper

From Indianz.com:

The Senate is set to vote on yet another historic nomination for Indian Country. Keith Harper, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, has been nominated to serve as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council. If confirmed, he will be the first member of a federally-recognized tribe to serve in an ambassador-rank post. According to the Senate floor schedule, Harper’s nomination is due to considered at 5:30pm on June 2. Harper will first need to survive a cloture vote, which requires at least 51 votes, before he gets to a final vote.

From U.S. Senate Executive Calendar: Continue reading ‘Today: Senate to finally confirm new US rep to UN Human Rights Council’

The Open Anti-Semitism on Richard Falk’s Blog

Falk elver blog shot

As Richard Falk exits the UN, and as his wife Hilal Elver — who is co-director of the institute which sponsors the blog below – enters the UN as a newly-appointed investigator of its Human Rights Council, it is important to appreciate the open anti-Semitism that their heavily-moderated blog hosts on a regular basis, apart from Falk’s own notorious posts that have earned condemnation from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other world figures.

One example is the crude anti-Jewish rantings of a regular and approved commenter on Falk’s blog who goes by the name of Walker Percy. Continue reading ‘The Open Anti-Semitism on Richard Falk’s Blog’

U.S. and Canada blast today’s UN appointment of Richard Falk’s wife, citing ‘biased and inflammatory views’

U.S. and Canada blast today’s UN appointment of Richard Falk’s wife, citing ‘biased and inflammatory views,’ ‘abysmal judgment’ 

Goldstone Report Co-Author Christine Chinkin Loses Bid for Palestine Post to Indonesian Diplomat

Today, as controversial UN official Richard Falk ended his 6-year term as human rights investigator, the UN appointed his wife and academic partner, Hilal Elver Falk, to her own 6-year term as a human rights investigator. The couple co-direct a research institute.

GENEVA, May 8, 2014 –  UN Watch condemned the UN’s “bizarre, nepotistic, and politically-driven” decision today to hand a top human rights post to the controversial wife and academic partner of discredited official Richard Falk, on the same day that he ended his own 6-year term as UN investigator of Israeli violations.

Despite submitting an application form riddled with self-disqualifying answers, non-sequiturs, and more than 20 spelling mistakes, Hilal Elver (also known as Hilal Elver Falk) was named UN special rapporteur on the right to food, a position initiated by Cuba and first held by Jean Ziegler, founder and recipient of the Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize.

“Decisions like this threaten to turn the UN into a joke,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

“Falk was an open admirer of 9/11 conspiracy theorists and an apologist for terror groups whose term was finally up, so now the UN installed his closest professional collaborator — his wife.”

Elver and her husband Falk teachlecture and publish together. They also co-direct a research institute.

Falk was condemned repeatedly during his term by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the U.S., Britain and Canada for promoting 9/11 conspiracy theories and endorsing an anti-Semitic book.

At the same time, UN Watch welcomed the strong objections expressed by the U.S. and Canada, which followed a month-long protest campaign by the the Geneva human rights group.

U.S. Blasts Elver’s “Biased and Inflammatory Views”

“The United States again expresses its concern,” said the U.S. in a statement today, citing Elver’s “lack of relevant experience” and questioning “her readiness for this assignment.”

In addition, the U.S. pointed to Elver’s “biased and inflammatory views” regarding the United States and Israel, which it said “run counter to the dispassionate professionalism central to the work of a Special Rapporteur.”

The U.S. said the appointment “could reflect negatively on the Council’s other special procedures mandates, most of which produce crucial work that highlights, promotes, and protects human rights around the world.”

Canada FM Condemns Elver’s “Abysmal Judgment”

“Her public record clearly demonstrates abysmal judgment, as well as associations with fringe groups,” Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said in a letter sent to Baudelaire Ndong Ella, a diplomat from the African country of Gabon and current UNHRC president.

Elver is one of 19 academics and former diplomats named today as independent experts of the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council.

“Apart from Elver, many excellent people were chosen today, and we look forward to working with them to advance human rights for victims worldwide,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

“It is truly a shame that many of the independent experts who are the crown jewels of the UN human rights system should have their work tarnished by indefensible UN appointments driven purely by politics and anti-Western and anti-Israel ideological agendas.”

UN Watch had sent a letter, objecting to Elver’s failure to satisfy the UN post’s official criteria, to the U.S., Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Romania and the UK, all of whom are voting members on the UNHRC, and to Canada, an observer.

Elver has joined her husband on numerous occasions in supporting the work of 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and in accusing the West and Israel of Islamophobia and “genocide.”

“Hilal Elver is not only Richard Falk’s wife, employee and main collaborator, but she echoes his crude and simplistic post-colonial narrative, which demonizes America, the West, and Israel, while praising dictators like Erdogan and the books of 9/11 conspiracy theorists,” said Neuer.

Co-Author of Goldstone Report Loses Bid to Replace Falk; Indonesian Diplomat is Named Instead 

In an upset for LSE professor Christine Chinkin, co-author of the UN’s Goldstone Report, the council dropped her name as Falk’s intended replacement, instead naming former Indonesian diplomat Makarim Wibisono to the post.

This is second time that Chinkin applied yet failed to get the post. In 2006, she was defeated by Falk.

“While UN Watch was the first to express concerns over several of his past UN statements made on behalf of Indonesia,” said Neuer, “I met and interacted with Ambassador Wibisono in 2005 when he was Chair of the former UN Commission on Human Rights, a position that he fulfilled with fairness and professionalism.”

“Despite the bias inherent in this one-sided UN mandate, which only examines Israel and presumes guilt in advance, I hope that Ambassador Wibisono will turn a new page for the UN position.”

“Falk’s 6-year tenure was marked by baseless and inflammatory condemnations of Israel that only caused polarization, threatening to push the parties apart.”

“We need someone now who will respect universal standards, genuinely protect the human rights of all citizens, and uphold the UN’s purpose of bringing people together.”

Continue reading ‘U.S. and Canada blast today’s UN appointment of Richard Falk’s wife, citing ‘biased and inflammatory views’’

Netherlands to come under microscope of U.N. racism investigators

Professor-Verlene-Shepherd-in-red-royal-traditional-African-dress-Chair-of-The-Working-Group-of-Experts-on-People-of-African-Descent-e1384081526480

Five U.N. investigators of racial discrimination will be heading to the Netherlands in June, the world body has announced, following their accusations that the Dutch practice racism with the “Black Pete” figure (Zwarte Piet) of the national Sinterklaas celebrations.

The U.N. Human Rights Council’s Working Group on people of African descent only visits one country per year, and therefore the selection of the Netherlands marks it as a country of priority global concern. 

Last year, the working group was among a group of U.N. human rights experts who sent this allegation letter to the Netherlands, demanding a reply as to whether or not “the character and image of Black Pete perpetuate a stereotyped image of African people and people of African descent as second-class citizens, fostering an underlying sense of inferiority within Dutch society and stirring racial differences as well as racism.”

The Dutch government’s reply letter acknowledged a public debate on the matter, but rejected several premises underlying the U.N. accusations.

The working group will be undertaking its country visit to the Netherlands from June 30 to July 4, when they will ask about measures taken by the government for the elimination of racial discrimination against people of African descent.

The five U.N. investigators are: Ms. Mireille Fanon-Mendes France (Chairperson, France); Ms. Monorama Biswas (Bangladesh); Ms. Mirjana Najcevska (Macedonia); Ms. Maya Sahli (Algeria); and Ms. Verene Shepherd (Jamaica).

While some people of African descent in the Netherlands have complained about the stereotyping in Zwaarte Piet, others, such as in the former Dutch colony of Suriname, appear to accept it.

The U.N. investigators in their letter accuse The Netherlands of violating the anti-racism provisions of:

- Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Article 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- Article 2 and 26 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

They also accuse the Dutch of breaching:
- Article 15 of ICESCR (right to take part in cultural life)
- The 1992 Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities

Shaky road to important peaceful protest resolution

In a year that has seen protests in the Ukraine, Venezuela and Turkey, to name but a few, the UN Human Right’s Council resolution, passed on Friday 28 March, on The promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests, tried to safeguard this right.

Yet, despite its significance, its road to approval was paved with difficulties and idiosyncrasies: Continue reading ‘Shaky road to important peaceful protest resolution’

States try to silence UN Watch 18 times, but in vain

UN Watch was very active during the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which just concluded. We delivered a total of 10 statements on a variety of issues and we hosted two family members of human rights defenders who are currently in jail, Julieta Lopez, aunt of Leopoldo Lopez of Venezuela and Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Dr. Wang Bingzhang of China.

UN Watch speakers were interrupted 18 times by states that did not like to hear what we were saying. Most of the time, it was by members of the Human Rights Council who have pledged to “uphold the highest standard of human rights.”

First on the list was Venezuela with 5 interruptions and then were the Palestinian Authority and Saudi Arabia with 3 each. Cuba and Pakistan interrupted UN Watch twice each, and once by Algeria, China and Morocco.  The President stood firm and he allowed the UN Watch speaker to conclude at every occasion.

Continue reading ‘States try to silence UN Watch 18 times, but in vain’

Resolutions and Voting Results of 25th HRC Session

Condemnatory Country-Specific Resolutions:

Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka (A/HRC/25/L.1/Rev.1)
Sponsors: UK, US, Montenegro, Macedonia, Mauritius
Result: 23 in favor, 12 against (Algeria, China, Congo, Cuba, Kenya, Maldives, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Venezuela, Viet Nam), 12 abstentions

The continuing grave deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/25/L.7)
Sponsors: UK, Italy, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, US, Turkey, France, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar
Vote result: 32 in favor, 4 against (China, Cuba, Russia, Venezuela), 11 abstentions

Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (A/HRC/25/L.9)
Sponsors: Sweden, Macedonia, US, Moldova, Panama
Vote result:  21 in favor, 9 against (China, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Venezuela, Vietnam), 16 abstentions

The situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (A/HRC/25/L.17)
Sponsor: Greece on behalf of the EU and Japan
Vote result: 30 in favor, 6 against (China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, Venezuela, Vietnam), 11 abstentions

Situation of human rights in Myanmar (A/HRC/25/L.21/Rev.1)
Sponsor: Greece on behalf of the EU
Adopted without vote

Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (A/HRC/25/L.36)
Sponsor: Pakistan on behalf of the OIC
Vote result: 46 in favor, 1 against (US)

Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan (A/HRC/25/L.37/Rev.1)
Sponsor: Pakistan on behalf of the OIC
Vote result: 46 in favor, 1 against (US)

Human rights situation in Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (A/HRC/25/L.38/Rev.1)
Sponsor: Pakistan on behalf of the OIC
Vote result: 46 in favor, 1 against (US)

Follow-up to the report of the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (A/HRC/25/L.39)
Sponsor: Pakistan on behalf of the OIC
Vote result: 46 in favor, 1 against (US)

Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan (A/HRC/25/L.40)
Sponsor: Pakistan on behalf of the OIC
Vote result: 33 in favor, 1 against (US), 13 abstentions

Continue reading ‘Resolutions and Voting Results of 25th HRC Session’

UN expert on Chinkin: ‘a basis for questioning the appearance of bias’

Chinkin 1

Application of Christine Chinkin

London School of Economics professor Christine Chinkin is now slated to replace Richard Falk as UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, a position that, despite its title, in fact requires examining only “Israel’s violations of the principles and bases of international law.”

She had applied for the same post back in 2008, and was then shortlisted in second place after Falk.

Her chances improved this time after she served in 2009 as a key author of the infamous Goldstone Report, a document that effectively exonerated Hamas while excoriating Israel.

When Judge Goldstone later retracted the core accusation of the report, Chinkin joined with the two others to accuse him in all but name of misrepresenting facts in order to cast doubt on the credibility of their joint report.

Chinkin first made her name at the UN by serving with Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the HRC’s 2006 inquiry into the deaths of 19 Palestinians killed in Beit Hanoun by errant Israeli shells. It is widely recognized that Chinkin oversaw the work of the panel.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour had initially tried to convince Canadian MP and law professor Irwin Cotler, a former justice minister, to serve on the inquiry. He immediately declined, however citing the one-sided mandate, which “violated the presumption of innocence.”

“How could one accept a fact-finding mission with a prior determination of guilt, a kind of Alice in Wonderland inquiry, where the conviction was secured and the sentence passed even before the inquiry began?” Professor Cotler later said in a speech before the council plenary. Continue reading ‘UN expert on Chinkin: ‘a basis for questioning the appearance of bias’’

Yemen on behalf of Arab Group demands appointment of Christine Chinkin, co-author of Goldstone Report

UN Watch has obtained a copy of a new Arab Group letter demanding that the UNHRC replace Richard Falk with Christine Chinkin, co-author of the Goldstone Report

MISSION PERMANENTE DE LA REPUBLIQUE DU YEMEN GENEVE

H.E Mr. Baudelaire Ndong Ella
President of the Human Rights Council
Geneva

26th of March 2014

Excellency,

We are writing to you regarding the nomination of the Special Rapporteur in the OPT. This position was established by the Commission of Human Rights in its resolution E/CN.4/RES/1993/2 (A) of 19 February 1993, which, in detailing the mandate, decided inter alia that the special rapporteur will “report, with his conclusions and recommendations, to the Commission on Human Rights at its future sessions, until the end of the Israeli occupation of those territories” (0P4 (c)).

We would like to draw your attention to the following considerations when appointing the mandate holder:

At the outset, we would like to reiterate the relevant provisions set out in the IB package, in particular paragraph 39, which indicates that the mandate holder appointment should be based on the criteria of (a) expertise; (b) experience in the field of the mandate; (c) independence; (d) impartiality; (e) personal integrity; and (f) objectivity, and paragraph 52, which emphasizes the importance inter alia of broad consultations, in particular through the regional coordinators, in guiding the President of the Council in his/her identification of an appropriate candidate for each vacancy.  Continue reading ‘Yemen on behalf of Arab Group demands appointment of Christine Chinkin, co-author of Goldstone Report’