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

Times of London: “Amnesty director’s links to global network of Islamists”

Hussein YAsmin

The Times, August 17, 2015
Andrew Norfolk

A senior employee of Amnesty International has undeclared private links to men alleged to be key players in a secretive network of global Islamists, The Times can reveal.

The charity was unaware that the husband of its director of faith and human rights featured in documents released after a criminal trial at which connections were revealed between British supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Arab Islamists accused of plotting to overthrow a Gulf state.

Yasmin Hussein was also linked to a Yorkshire-based aid agency that was banned by Israel for its alleged funding of Hamas terrorism; and criticised by colleagues for holding a private meeting with a Muslim Brotherhood government official during an Amnesty mission to Egypt, and staying overnight at his family’s home.

Ms Hussein, 51, was until recently the charity’s head of international advocacy and among its leading voices at the UN, where the organisation seeks to operate a strict policy of not siding with any government or political party. Continue reading ‘Times of London: “Amnesty director’s links to global network of Islamists”’

Hillel Neuer at Victoria University in Wellington, Aug.17th


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Monday, 17 August 2015, 5.30pm 
Please request attendance by email to

Updated: Chart of all UNHRC Condemnations

Following is the currently updated chart, compiled by UN Watch based on United Nations data, of all UN Human Rights Council resolutions that condemn specific countries, from its creation in 2006 until today. Our analysis does not count the majority of resolutions that praise countries or merely address “technical” issues.

In total, there were 62 condemnations of Israel, and 55 on the rest of the world combined.

UN rights official who ignored African child rape by French troops resigns; UN Watch reacts


GENEVA, July 22, 2015 – The resignation of a top UN rights official who admitted she did nothing after receiving reports of child rape by French soldiers in Central African Republic — because she was “distracted” by budget cuts — underscores the dire need for greater accountability at the world body, said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental Geneva watchdog agency that measures the performance of the world body by the yardstick of its own charter.

“Not only did Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri fail to act,” said Neuer, “but she was part of a coterie of top UN officials who punished the only member of her office who sounded the alarm, veteran staffer Anders Kompass, by firing him.” Continue reading ‘UN rights official who ignored African child rape by French troops resigns; UN Watch reacts’

Hamas-linked UK group celebrated kidnapping of teens, today set to win UN status

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 6.19.13 PMUN Watch revealed today that the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), a Hamas-linked group vying to win UN status today, celebrated the Hamas kidnapping of three Israeli teens, cheered Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, and threatened “punishment” for PLO President and Hamas rival Mahmoud Abbas.

Tweets from the official account of Tarek Hamoud, executive director of the London-based PRC, include:

1. PRC Cheers Hamas Kidnapping of Israeli Teens 
[UPDATE: PRC chief Tarek Hamoud has just deleted this tweet today after this blog post was published. Screen capture of the tweet, however, is at the top.]

Above: On July 14, 2014, two days after the Hamas kidnapping of three Israeli teens, PRC posted this symbol of three fingers to cheer the abduction of the boys who were later  discovered to have been murdered.

A group that celebrates kidnappings violates the peace and human rights principles of the UN Charter and should not be granted NGO status.


2. PRC Threatens PLO President Abbas with “Punishment”

PRC warns Abbas

[UPDATE: PRC chief Tarek Hamoud also deleted the above tweet today after this blog post was published. Our screen capture of his tweet, however, is above.]

Above: PRC chief Tarek Hamoud threatens PLO President Mahmoud Abbas (featured on right next to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu) with “punishment.” The translation reads:

Grim, humiliated faces agreeing to hate #Gaza and fight it. The faces are different but the crime is one, and the punishment will be the same


UN to vote today on admitting antisemitic PRC group, tied to Hamas


UPDATE: PRC chair Majed Al-Zeer has just deleted his Facebook post below, after this blog was published. We screen-captured it.

filastin-gaza-21-3-2014 cartoonScreen Shot 2015-05-28 at 3.57.27 PM

Above: Antisemitic image posted here on Facebook by Majed Al-Zeer,Chairman of the Hamas-linked Palestinian Return Centre

GENEVA, July 20, 2015 – Regarding a controversial vote scheduled this afternoon at UN headquarters in New York, UN Watch called on the world body’s 54-nation Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to reject the Sudan-sponsored decision by a subsidiary committee to recommend NGO status for a group intimately linked to the Hamas terrorist organization.

The vote today will approve or overturn the June 2nd decision by the 19-nation Committee on NGOs which voted in favor of the application by the Palestinian Return Centre, a Hamas affiliate in Europe, by a vote of 12 to 3.

Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union, Canada, Israel, Japan, and the United States, and, its armed wing is designated a terrorist organization by Australia and the United Kingdom.

Continue reading ‘UN to vote today on admitting antisemitic PRC group, tied to Hamas’

Resolutions and Voting Results of 29th HRC Session

Condemnatory Country-Specific Resolutions:

The grave and deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/29/L.4)
Sponsors: France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UK, USA
Orally revised
Vote result: 29 in favour (EU, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA), 6 against (Algeria, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Russia, Venezuela), 12 abstentions (India, Pakistan, South Africa)

Situation of human rights in Belarus (A/HRC/29/L.12)
Sponsors: Latvia on behalf of the European Union
Vote result: 21 in favour (EU, Brazil, USA), 8 against (China, Cuba, India, Russia, Venezuela), 18 abstentions (Qatar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, UAE)

Situation of human rights in Eritrea (A/HRC/29/L.23)
Sponsors: Djibouti, Somalia
Adopted without a vote

Ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (A/HRC/29/L.35)
Sponsors: Pakistan on behalf of the OIC
Orally revised
Vote result: 41 in favour (EU, China, Cuba, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, UAE, Venezuela), 1 against (USA), 5 abstentions (Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Paraguay, Macedonia)
Continue reading ‘Resolutions and Voting Results of 29th HRC Session’

Legal Expert: UN’s Gaza report “not based on credible military operational expertise”

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Lt. Col. Corn, law professor & former senior law of war adviser for U.S. army, addresses UN Human Rights Council on the report of the Gaza inquiry. Geneva, June 29, 2015.

Thank you, Mr. President. I am Geoffrey Corn, a Professor of Law and the U.S. Army’s former senior expert on the Law of Armed Conflict. I advised an independent JINSA-commissioned Task Force on the 2014 Gaza conflict.

I commend the Report’s recognition that all parties to armed conflict must implement and respect the Law of Armed Conflict. While objective critiques of military operations can contribute substantially to the understanding, implementation, and evolution of theLaw of Armed Conflict, findings and recommendations must derive from credible information, legal interpretation, and operational expertise. Otherwise, any critique risks distorting the essential balance between mitigating the suffering of armed conflict and the dictates of military necessity – one that has defined the law since its inception. Continue reading ‘Legal Expert: UN’s Gaza report “not based on credible military operational expertise”’

U.S. General Blasts Gaza Report in UNHRC Testimony

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 12.08.37 AMMajor-General Michael D. Jones, former Chief of Staff, U.S. Central Command, addressed the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of UN Watch, in the debate on the Commission of Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza conflict. Geneva, June 29, 2015.

Mr. President,

My name is Mike Jones, a retired U.S. Army general officer who, with four other retired U.S. generals, conducted a JINSA-sponsored, but independent, study of the 2014 Gaza conflict. We conducted research, and interviewed Israeli, UN, and Palestinian Authority officials. Our focus was what the U.S. should learn from the conflict, but our report is relevant to the Council.

I am pleased your report acknowledged that all combatants are required to abide by the law, and that Hamas’ and other groups’ indiscriminate rocket fire at Israel was unlawful.

However, it is disappointing that the report fails to condemn these groups for unlawfully failing to distinguish themselves as combatants, as well as purposefully co-locating amongst civilians, knowingly placing them at risk, with absolutely no military necessity to do so.

I am also disappointed that the report, while acknowledging that lawful targeting is a balance between the military necessity and the known risk to civilians, came to conclusions without sufficient information to make a judgment. Specifically, they condemn the IDF for engagements without any information on the IDF’s objectives, military necessity, or known information on risk. Continue reading ‘U.S. General Blasts Gaza Report in UNHRC Testimony’

Col. Kemp tells UNHRC it’s become “tool of Hamas’ murderous strategy”

Address of Colonel Richard Kemp to the United Nations Human Rights Council, debate on report of the Commission of Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza conflict, Geneva, 29 June 2015.

Mr. President, I fought in combat zones around the world during 30 years’ service in the British Army. I was present as an observer throughout the conflict in Gaza.

Mr.  President, during the 2014 Gaza conflict, Hamas, to its eternal shame, did more to deliberately and systematically inflict death, suffering and destruction on its own civilian population, including its children, than any other terrorist group in history. Continue reading ‘Col. Kemp tells UNHRC it’s become “tool of Hamas’ murderous strategy”’

Leaked cables: Saudi Arabia & Russia traded votes for UNHRC seats

Saudi Putin

By Hillel Neuer

Now in its 29th session, we are asked by many to believe that the UN Human Rights Council is a serious, effective and credible body.

Leaked Saudi cables, however, document what we knew all along: that despite the UNHRC’s official membership criteria —  “the candidates’ contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights and their voluntary pledges and commitments made thereto” — dictatorships strike backroom deals to elect each other onto the 47-nation body, in Kofi Annan’s words, “not to strengthen human rights but to protect themselves against criticism or to criticize others.”

Amid the trove of Saudi diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks are at least a dozen that explain how the Saudis bought their seat with money, and by bartering their UN votes. Continue reading ‘Leaked cables: Saudi Arabia & Russia traded votes for UNHRC seats’

In Defense of Naming and Shaming: High Commissioner Zeid


I am often told in this chamber, in our debates, that I should not be “naming and shaming” member states. Somehow the naming is, or has become, the very shame itself. This is a disfigurement of the truth, which we must now reset.

The shame comes not from the naming: it comes from the actions themselves, the conduct or violations, alleged with supporting evidence or proven. The greatest factory of shame is the blanket denial of human rights. The denial of the right to life shames unreservedly. Killing on a massive scale, shames stunningly, and inexhaustibly. The denial of the right to development also shames. The denial of human dignity shames. Torture shames. Arbitrary arrests shame. Rape shames.

We name; the shame of States, where it exists, has already been self-inflicted. The loss of face for the affected countries has come well before OHCHR raises its independent voice. We say what we believe to be the truth, on behalf of victims. We have no monopoly over truth, but we believe our contentions can be supported by fact.

— UN High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, statement to UNHRC, June 15, 2015

Hillel Neuer tells UN: “Why did you reward Iran & Saudi Arabia with top posts?”

Testimony today by UN Watch Executive Director before the 29th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Thank you, Mr. President. The High Commissioner spoke of the need to end impunity. Yet what we are witnessing here at the United Nations is this: Countries that commit gross and systematic violations of human rights are not only given immunity, but they are actually rewarded with high positions.

When member states are silent, the High Commissioner must lead. We urge him to consider, and we ask:

Why is it that Saudi Arabia, which subjugates women, which just expelled a student from university because she lowered her veil on a female-only schoolbus, is rewarded by the UN with a seat on this Human Rights Council? Continue reading ‘Hillel Neuer tells UN: “Why did you reward Iran & Saudi Arabia with top posts?”’

Key Preliminary Findings of the High Level International Military Group on the Gaza Conflict

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Key preliminary findings on the 2014 Gaza Conflict by a high level international military group as submitted to the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry, which is expected to issue its report next week. 

PDF of Report & Cover Letter to UNHRC



From 18th – 22nd May 2015, the High Level International Military Group, made up of 11 former chiefs of staff, generals, senior officers, political leaders and officials from the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Holland, Spain, Italy, Australia and Colombia visited Israel for a fact-finding mission on the 2014 Gaza conflict. We were led by General Klaus Naumann, former Chief of Staff of the Bundeswehr and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, the most senior officer in the Alliance, and Giulio Terzi, former Foreign Minister of Italy. Also in the group were Ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper, formerly US State Department Ambassador at Large for war crimes issues; and Mr Rafael Bardaji, former National Security Adviser to the Government of Spain.

This was part of a longer term project by our group, whose principal concern is how civilian lives can be protected and military forces can fight effectively when operations must be conducted in a densely packed civilian area. We will be producing a full report this autumn.

Continue reading ‘Key Preliminary Findings of the High Level International Military Group on the Gaza Conflict’

UN Watch to Appeal to 54-Nation Body to Overturn NGO Status for Hamas Front

filastin-gaza-21-3-2014 cartoonScreen Shot 2015-05-28 at 3.57.27 PM

Above: Antisemitic image posted on Facebook by Majed Al-Zeer,
Director-General of the Hamas-linked Palestinian Return Centre

GENEVA, June 2, 2015 – UN Watch announced that it will contest yesterday’s “incomprehensible” decision by a UN committee to recommend NGO status for a group intimately linked to the Hamas terrorist organization, by appealing for it to be overturned by the 54-nation ECOSOC when it meets in July to consider the application.

At UN headquarters in New York yesterday, the 19-nation Committee on NGOs yesterday voted in favor of the application by the Palestinian Return Centre, a Hamas affiliate in Europe, by a vote of 12 to 3.

Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union, Canada, Israel, Japan, and the United States, and, its armed wing is designated a terrorist organization by Australia and the United Kingdom.

Continue reading ‘UN Watch to Appeal to 54-Nation Body to Overturn NGO Status for Hamas Front’

Bill Clinton addressing UN body on same day it’s set to accredit Hamas front group


GENEVA, May 28, 2015 – Former U.S. president Bill Clinton is today addressing ECOSOC, a top 54-nation UN body, on the same day that its Committee on NGOs is set to grant official UN status to a Hamas front group.

UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer urged Mr. Clinton to speak out against the application by the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), which has documented ties with a U.S.-designated terrorist entity. See full details in today’s UN Watch press release on the PRC.

Neuer also called on Mr. Clinton to condemn ECOSOC for “absurdly electing misognystic Iran last month to the Executive Board of UN Women.”

In addition, Neuer called on Clinton “to condemn ECOSOC for stacking its UN committee that oversees human rights groups with non-democracies including Iran, Sudan, China, Cuba, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, and Venezuela.”

“These are the regimes that will today decide whether to grant coveted ECOSOC status to a front group of the Hamas terrorist organization. Mr. Clinton cannot allow himself to be seen as legitimizing the pernicious and anti-democratic actions of ECOSOC.”


UN casts Israel as only violator of health rights in the world



By: Hillel C. Neuer
© 2015

GENEVA, May 20, 2015 - As Israeli hospitals continue their life-saving treatment for escalating numbers of wounded Syrians fleeing to the Golan from the Assad regime’s barbaric attacks, the U.N. reached new heights of absurdity today by accusing Israel of violating the health rights of Syrians in the Golan.

By a vote of 104 to 4, with 6 abstentions and 65 absent, the Jewish state was the only country in the world to be singled out as a violator of health rights when its alleged victims were spotlighted by the annual assembly of the U.N.’s World Health Organization.

The resolution on the plight of Israel’s alleged victims, which was the 2015 assembly’s only treatment of a specific country situation, sent an unmistakable message when it ordered “health-related technical assistance” for “the Syrian population in the occupied Syrian Golan,” and when it called on the director-general of the World Health Organization to report on “the health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan” at next year’s session.

By calling for next year’s report to focus on “the effect of prolonged occupation and human rights violations on mental and physical health,” and particularly “the health consequences of the Israeli military detention system on Palestinian prisoners and detainees, especially child detainees, ” the UN frames and delegitimizes Israel’s defensive measures against terrorism as a presumed cause of mental and physical illness. The mandate for the report completely ignores actions by the PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others.

Continue reading ‘UN casts Israel as only violator of health rights in the world’

Philippe Val, Charlie Hebdo’s Former Editor, Wins Geneva Human Rights Prize

En francais: pour l’émouvant discours de Philippe Val, cliquez ici

GENEVA, May 17 – Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch awarded its prestigious annual human rights prize to Philippe Val, the French author, humorist, and former editor of Charlie Hebdo, “for having the courage to speak out when others were silent, defending democracy and the human right to live, think, and laugh.”

At a Geneva ceremony held on May 7, 2015, adjacent to the UN office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, before an audience of UN ambassadors, Swiss political leaders and community leaders, Mr. Val received the 2015 Morris B. Abram Human Rights Award, named after the civil rights advocate, diplomat and UN delegate who founded the watchdog NGO in 1993.

Val speaking - for blog

“Human rights defenders in dictatorships deserve awards more than I do,” said Val, however, “it’s hard to defend human rights in democracies as well.” Continue reading ‘Philippe Val, Charlie Hebdo’s Former Editor, Wins Geneva Human Rights Prize’

Netherlands justifies Iran’s “accession” to UN women’s rights committee

morality police iran

In the wake of controversial tweets by a senior Dutch political officer, a spokesman of the Dutch foreign ministry doubled down and defended Iran’s election to the  board of UN Women on grounds that it would “maintain dialogue” with “the more conservative countries,” and “encourage improvement,” reports De Volkskrant, a leading daily newspaper in the Netherlands.

On Tuesday, UN Watch called on Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders to fire Bregje Wijsenbeek, a senior political officer dealing with human rights at the Dutch embassy in Pretoria, over her embarrassing tweets defending the election of Iran’s regime to the board of UN Women because, in her words, “Iran is not misogynist,” its “main religious structure was built for a woman,” and because when she visited Iran people in the metro gave her presents. Continue reading ‘Netherlands justifies Iran’s “accession” to UN women’s rights committee’

UN elects Iran to Crime Prevention Commission — and likely to top women’s rights panel


GENEVA, April 9 - UN Watch condemned the UN for today electing the criminal regime of Iran to its commission on crime prevention, and to two other top committees. UN press release is here.

UN Watch has also learned that Iran is a candidate for the Executive Board of UN Women, the highest world body for women’s rights. The vote, originally scheduled for today, has been postponed to tomorrow. UN Watch condemns Iran’s candidacy because of the regime’s despicable record on women’s rights, as documented in detail at our recent Geneva Summit for Human Rights, and in October at our panel of Iranian dissidents. UN Watch urges the United Nations not to elect a misogynistic regime to oversee women’s rights.

Iran’s media is already gloating. Report from Iran’s Mehr News Agency:

Iran elected ECOSOC committee member

TEHRAN, Apr. 09 (MNA) – The Islamic Republic of Iran managed to win membership in the executive board of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and Committee for the United Nations Population Award for next 3 years beginning in 2016.



Whistleblowers Urge Ban Ki-Moon and U.N. Executives to Strengthen Anti-Retaliation Measures

Ban Ki-moon

Press Release from  the Government Accountability Project


WASHINGTON, April 8, 2015 – Today, a group of nine whistleblowers from the U.N. system sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Directors of U.N. Specialized Agencies urging them to do more to protect whistleblowers.

The letter claims that whistleblower policies in the U.N. system “afford little to no measure of real or meaningful protection for whistleblowers” and that “fear of reporting wrongdoing is widespread.” According to the letter, the “UN system of justice fails whistleblowers.” Continue reading ‘Whistleblowers Urge Ban Ki-Moon and U.N. Executives to Strengthen Anti-Retaliation Measures’

Rights Council condemns Boko Haram terror

Today was one of the rare instances that the UN Human Rights Council spent a whole day condemning a terrorist group, namely Boko Haram. That is the second time the Council holds an urgent debate against terrorism, the first being against the Islamic State in September 2014.

It is interesting that many themes discussed today rarely come up in the HRC, such as:

  • Several delegations spoke of “asymmetric warfare”
  • The Coordination Committee of Special Procedures raised the issue of children being used as human shields by Boko Haram
  • Many states spoke against passing on arms to terrorist groups

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cameroon, Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, made the following frank remark:
“We call for understanding from our friends in the Human Rights Council. A proportionate response to the attacks can only be made to the degree that the army has the capacity to assess the scope of the attack. That is not our case. We don’t have the technological and satellite instruments to see how Boko Haram will attack us. They always take us by surprise and we have to react.”

All these points are interesting especially when one compares them to the prevailing discourse during the discussion of the Council’s pet issue, that is the Israel-Arab conflict, and the tactics of terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

UN Watch statement on today’s urgent session on Boko Haram

GENEVA, Apr. 1, 2015 – UN Watch is participating today at the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Session on Boko Haram. Please find below the full UN Watch statement.

Last month, at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, UN Watch together with 20 other NGOs hosted Saa, a Nigerian girl who escaped Boko Haram, when they kidnapped her and her fellow classmates. Her story was covered by major international media, including Le Monde, France 24, France 4, ARD, Swiss TV (in French, German and Italian) and Estado de S. Paulo. To watch the full video, click here.


UN Watch Statement

23rd Special Session, UN Human Rights Council


Thank you, Mr. President.

UN Watch welcomes today’s meeting. Yet given that it has been more than five years now since Boko Haram has been on the rampage, killing thousands of innocent men, women, and children, we must ask: Why has the UN waited so long?

Continue reading ‘UN Watch statement on today’s urgent session on Boko Haram’

Resolutions and Voting Results of 28th HRC Session

Condemnatory Country-Specific Resolutions:

Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan (A/HRC/28/L.3)
Sponsor: Pakistan on behalf of the OIC
Vote result: 29 in favor, 1 against (United States), 17 abstentions (EU, Botswana, Japan, South Korea)

The continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/28/L.6)
Sponsors: France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United States, United Kingdom
Lebanon tabled an amendment to remove the reference to a selectively listed organization (Hezbollah) from OP13, which they believed to be politically motivated and unbalanced. As a result, a vote was held on this amendment the result of which was: 10 in favor (Cuba, China, Brazil, Russia), 23 against (United States, EU, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, UAE), 14 abstentions (India, South Africa)
Vote result (on the entire resolution): 29 in favour (United States, EU, Saudi Arabia), 6 against (Venezuela, Russia, Cuba, Algeria, Bolivia, China), 12 abstentions (India, Pakistan, South Africa, Brazil)

Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (A/HRC/28/L.17)
Sponsors: Moldova, Sweden, FYROM, United States
Vote result: 20 in favour (United States, EU), 11 against (China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, Venezuela), 16 abstentions (Algeria, Brazil, South Africa, UAE)
Continue reading ‘Resolutions and Voting Results of 28th HRC Session’

World body urged to investigate anti-Jewish books in U.N. Bookshop

images from UN bookstore

Letter by UN Watch director Hillel Neuer to the United Nations

Michael Moller
Acting Director-General
United Nations Office at Geneva
Palais des Nations
1211 Geneva 10

26 March 2015

Dear Mr. Moller,

UN Watch is deeply concerned by the highly suspect selection of books featured in the United Nations Bookshop, and we urge you to investigate. (Photos are enclosed.)

Perusing the shelf displays, one cannot miss the carefully orchestrated line-up of anti- American and anti-Israeli book titles, from “Reflections on Israel’s War Against Palestinians” to “The Punishment of Gaza.” Worse, the UN bookshop—situated just below the Human Rights Council prominently displays a book entitled “How I Stopped Being a Jew.” The author accuses the Jewish religion of a “genocidal Yahwestic tradition.”

Let us be clear: under no circumstances whatsoever would we presume to dictate to the UN bookshop which books to sell. We unflinchingly support the freedom of expression and full exchange of ideas, good and bad. Yet the unmistakable pattern of anti-American, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish books is a matter that requires your attention. We recall the promise of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the historic 2004 United Nations gathering against anti- Semitism: “The fight against anti-Semitism must be our fight,” said Mr. Annan, “and Jews everywhere must feel that the United Nations is their home, too.” As I am sure you will agree, the selective offering of one-sided and inflammatory books that demean Israelis and Jews does not contribute to the culture of acceptance promised by Mr. Annan.

At a time when Jews across Europe are being targeted by violent attacks and incitement, it is deeply distressing that the United Nations Headquarters in Europe would promote books on “how to stop being a Jew.” Significantly, we note there are no other books in the shop targeting or criticizing any other religious or ethnic group.

Numerous visitors pass through the UN bookshop every day, including young students who take the UN tour in order to learn about the UN Charter values of equality, tolerance and peace. We urge the United Nations to live up to its founding values, and to prevent yet another UN institution from falling victim to selectivity and politicization. We sincerely hope that you will investigate this serious matter, and take remedial action as necessary.

Yours truly,

Hillel Neuer
Executive Director

Continue reading ‘World body urged to investigate anti-Jewish books in U.N. Bookshop’

Today is Hate Israel Day at the UN – March 23, 2015

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GENEVA, March 23, 2015  – Today is Hate Israel Day at the U.N., a feature of every regular session, held in September, March and June, of the 47-nation Human Rights Council.

While all 193 countries of the world are addressed under Agenda Item 4, “Human rights situations requiring the world’s attention,” only Israel gets its own special treatment, under Agenda Item 7, “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories .” Continue reading ‘Today is Hate Israel Day at the UN – March 23, 2015′

VIDEO: Cuba calls to “eliminate” UN Watch speech on Israeli elections as lesson for dictatorships

Statement by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer to the UN Human Rights Council, 17 March 2015, Agenda Item 4, “Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention”

Mr. President,

Today the whole world is watching as millions of Israelis, Jews and Arabs, go to the polls to elect 120 members of parliament and a prime minister. Twenty-four parties are running, including left and right, secular and religious, and a joint Arab list that is predicted this time to win more than ten percent of the seats.

The whole world is watching, to see the results.

But my question today, Mr. President, is whether members of this United Nations Human Rights Council is watching — not the results, but the process.

Now, in this session the Council is planning to condemn Israel for violating human rights in at least four resolutions, which is four times more condemnation than is being directed against Syria, Iran, and North Korea.

Perhaps the Council members who will condemn Israel as the world worst violator, will watch Israeli democracy in action and learn something. Continue reading ‘VIDEO: Cuba calls to “eliminate” UN Watch speech on Israeli elections as lesson for dictatorships’

UN reviews Iran’s record

The UN Human Rights Council adopted today the report on Iran’s human rights record. Iran tried to portray a rosy and unreal picture of the situation in the country, supported by several friendly governments. Western democracies and civil society groups made very strong statements to set the record straight.

Human rights violations remain widespread in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Abuses of freedom of expression, women’s rights, the incarceration of human rights defenders and political prisoners, misuse of the death penalty, as well as the poor treatment of religious and national minorities remain flagrant.

Addressing the Council on behalf of Iran, Mr. Kazem Gharib Abadi proclaimed, as inspired by the religious democracy that is founded in Islamic principles rooted in Iran’s religious and cultural heritage, that Iran is “firmly committed to the promotion of human rights,” that “Iran’s approach to human rights is comprehensive,” and “that all citizens, men and women, equally enjoy the protection of the law.”

Multiple countries took the floor to praise Iran offering congratulations on their progress on human rights. Examples include:

  • Nicaragua: “We wish to congratulate Iran for their commitment at the international level for the protection and promotion of human rights.”
  • Pakistan: “We commend the government’s acceptance to many of the recommendations.”
  • Russia: “We commend their interaction with treaty bodies and openness to dialogue, and recommend adopting the report.”
  • Sudan: “We commend that they have accepted the majority of the recommendations.”
  • Sri Lanka: “The progress made is commendable.”
  • Venezuela: “We wish to express satisfaction of the government’s implementation of the MDG’s, evidence of their commitment to fundamental rights.” They also highlighted that, “The implementation of sanctions is a violation of the basic rights of the people of Iran.”

However, The United Kingdom expressed concern with “the sharp increase in the use of the death penalty,” and other ongoing violations.  Similarly, The United States renewed their “call on Iran to end the harassment and persecution of journalists and demonstrate its commitment to freedom of expression,” and to “uphold its religious freedom commitments and obligations and to release those imprisoned for religious beliefs.”

Finally, civil society organizations painted a grave picture; highlighting that same sex relations are still punishable by death, that Baha’i’s remain without basic citizenship rights let alone religious freedom, that legislative change has not been upheld in practice, that there is continued denial of due process, and that the death penalty remains a common prescription for political dissidents and religious minorities.



UN Watch empowers North Korean defectors

This week, UN Watch hosted a delegation of NK Watch, a South Korean NGO which was created by survivors of North Korean prison camps and their families.

The delegation comprised of Ahn Myeong Cheol, NK’s Watch Executive Director and a former prison guard in the North Korean regime’s brutal gulag; Gim Gyumin, a North Korean defector and film director who has integrated the abuses he witnessed into his movies; Mr. Kim, a former North Korean overseas worker in Russia who escaped and defected to South Korea; and Dasun Kim, manager of International Affairs at NK Watch.

During their stay in Geneva, NK Watch members addressed the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights on the issue of the North Korean overseas workers, as well as the Special Rapporteur on Slavery and the Working Groups on Arbitrary Detention and Enforced Disappearances. They also addressed the Human Rights Council plenary during the report of the Special Rapporteur on North Korea. The Rapporteur pledged to look into the issue of the workers and coordinate with other UN mechanisms.

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UN Watch and NK Watch held a film screening at the Palais des Nations, attended by more than 80 people, showing the movie “Winter Butterfly,” which describes the famine and the abuse of ordinary citizens of North Korea. Following the screening, a Q&A session with film director Gim Gyumin followed, as well as a testimony of Mr. Kim on his experiences as a North Korean Overseas worker.

Lastly, UN Watch facilitated a press conference for the NK Watch delegation, as well as individual interviews, getting worldwide coverage, including Reuters, Agence France Presse, Press Trust India, Deutsche Welle and Vice.


Minutes of UNHRC Bureau: Gaza probe deferral to be decided on Monday

Below is an excerpt from the minutes of the Bureau of the UN Human Rights Council, which met today, Friday, March 13, and refers to the request to postpone the report of the Gaza COI. For the full document in pdf, click here.

The request by the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict to postpone the presentation of its report to the Council at a later session

With regard to the request by the COI on the 2014 Gaza conflict, the President informed the Bureau that, after consultations with concerned parties, he intends to propose on Monday 16 March, that the Council request the Commissioners to present a short oral update on the status of the report to the Council on 23 March 2015 without any interactive dialogue as no report will be presented at this session. The consideration of the report of the COI, as mandated in Council resolution A/HRC/RES/S-21/1, will be postponed to the 29th session, in June 2015. The President also informed the Bureau that the secretariat will be requested to make a statement to the Council on the programme budgetary implications, if any, of the postponement of the consideration of the report of the COI to the next session with the aim of ensuring that the necessary funds are indeed available to the COI.