Archive for the 'Security Council' Category

Full text: Gulf states endorse Saudi reasons for snubbing UNSC seat

Below are the statements by the Gulf Cooperation Council and Qatar supporting the underlying reasons invoked by Saudi Arabia in rejecting the Security Council seat it just won.

GCC Secretary General Praises Saudi Call for Security Council’s Reform

Riyadh, October 19 (QNA) – GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani has praised Saudi Arabia’s call for reform of the UN Security Council and enabling it to carry out its duties and assume its responsibilities towards maintaining international peace and security effectively and practically in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

In a statement released today, Dr. Al Zayani underlined the importance of Saudi Arabia’s call for the realization of a fundamental reform of the Security Council’s system, to support its role as the United Nations body responsible for all the major consequences of the global peace and security issues, especially that our today’s world is in dire need of the Security Council’s role, and its global legitimacy under the shadow of the expanding political and security turmoil.

He said despite international stature given by the membership of the Security Council , the apology Saudi Arabia to accept the membership of the Council because of its inability to perform its duties and carry out its responsibilities , especially towards Arab issues, stems from the historical interest of the Kingdom in the concerns of Arab nation issues, the stability of its regional neighborhood also from interest in international issues and global stability, for which the Security Council shoulders the main responsibility.

Zayani considered the position of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has expressed its commitment to international legality and it keen desire to activate the role of the Security Council, the UN agencies and its various institutions, in order to achieve global calls in this regard, and to make the world more cooperative, stable and secure.

The Saudi Kingdom announced yesterday it has apologized from joining the UN Security Council after being elected a non-permanent member of the Council for two years, justifying its apology by saying that the way and mechanisms of action, the current double standards in the Security Council prevent the Council from performing its duties and assume its responsibilities towards maintaining world security and peace and as required. It said that led to the continued disruption of peace and security, the expansion of the grievances of peoples, usurpation of rights, and the proliferation of conflicts and wars around the world.

Qatar Agrees with Saudi Decision to Turn Down Security Council Seat

​Doha, October 19 (QNA) – The State of Qatar agrees with the reasons outlined by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to turn down a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, an official source from the Foreign Ministry said, adding that many nations and peoples agree with those reasons, especially the Council’s inaction on the Palestinian and Syrian issues.

The source, in a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA), added that Qatar hopes that the international organization and its various organs, especially the Security Council will be able to fulfill its duties and lofty goals in achieving justice and upholding international peace and security.

Why did Columbia’s SIPA aid and abet misogynist Saudis?

Whether Saudi Arabia takes the seat it just won on the UN Security Council or not, human rights groups all agree: it was a scandal for the brutally misogynistic, intolerant, homophobic, anti-Christian, Judeophobic, Wahabist regime ever to have been elected in the first place.

Which ought to raise an ethical question for Columbia University’s prestigious  School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA): Was it right for the school to design a year-long “Saudi Arabia UN Security Council Executive Studies Program” — exclusively for Saudi officials — to help the bigoted regime promote its interests on the world stage?

When SIPA heard that the world’s most misogynistic regime sought a seat on the UNSC, why was their first reaction not like that of the human rights groups —  to strongly protest?

How much money and other benefits did Columbia and SIPA get from the Saudis for giving them special courses, which included training in “Managing the Media and Public Relations” by Professor Kristian Denny Todd?

It’s one thing for a school to allow any student to attend a course — and quite another to design an entire program for a regime notorious worldwide for gross and systematic human rights abuses. If Columbia did what LSE did with the Qaddafi regime, should the relevant Columbia officials resign, as LSE’s did?

Should universities operate under the same ethical guidelines as Washington lobbyists?

SIPA COURSES FOR SAUDI REGIME OFFICIALS

First Quarter 1/30 – 4/13

Foreign Policies of the UN Security Council P-5 Countries– Professor Stuart Gottlieb

Collective Security and the Role of the Security Council – Professor Elisabeth Lindenmayer

Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and the Role of the UN– Professor Zachery Metz

Communications Skills – Professor Joann Baney

Second Quarter 5/7 – 7/20

Sanctions and the Security Council- Professor Loraine Rickard Martin

Globalization and its Implications- Professor Arvid Lukauskas

Leadership, Team-building and Personnel Management Skills- Professor William Eimicke

UN Peacekeeping- Professor Lindenmayer

Third Quarter

Attend Sessions at UN General Assembly in New York City (Institute supervised) – Prof. Al Dehayel

Site Visits to Public, Private and NGO “Organizations of Management Excellence,”  organized and supervised by Picker Center- Professor William Eimicke

Fourth Quarter 10/1- 12/14

International Crisis Management and the Role of the UN- Professor Richard Greenwald

The United Nations and Current Issues in International Economics, Finance and Human Development- Professor Rivera-Batiz

Current Issues in International Politics- Arvid Lukauskas

Managing the Media and Public Relations- Professor Kristian Denny Todd

Full Text: Arab UN Reps Urge Saudis to Accept UNSC Seat

Following is the statement issued today in New York by the Arab Group at the UN:

The Arab Group, at level of Ambassadors, Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in New York, discussed in an extraordinary fashion, the situation regarding the position of the Brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding their Membership in the Security Council. With our understanding and respect for the position of the Brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we hope that they, which are amongst the blessed who represent the Arab and Islamic world at this important and historical stage, specifically for the Middle East region, to maintain their Membership in the Security Council and continue their brave role in defending our issues specifically at the rostrum of the Security Council. Continue reading ‘Full Text: Arab UN Reps Urge Saudis to Accept UNSC Seat’

Full Text: Saudi Statement Rejecting UN Security Council Seat

Below is the full text of today’s Saudi statement. Click here for UN Watch’s reaction, declaring the Saudi pull-out a “victory for human rights.”

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Foreign Ministry Makes Statement on Saudi Arabia’s Apology for Not Accepting Security Council Membership

Riyadh, Dhu-AlHijjah 13, 1434, Oct 18, 2013, SPA – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement after the election of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a non- permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for two years. Following is the text of the statement:

First of all, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is pleased to extend its sincere thanks and deep gratitude to all countries that have given their confidence to elect it as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the next two years. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a founding member of the United Nations, is proud of its full and permanent commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, believing that commitment of all Member States, honestly, truthfully and accurately, as agreed upon and stipulated in the Charter is the real guarantee for world security and peace.

If the Member States of the United Nations consider wining the membership of UN Security Council, which is, according to the Charter of the Organization, the sole agency responsible for preserving world peace and security, as a high honor and a great responsibility for participating directly and effectively in the service of international issues, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia believes that the manner, the mechanisms of action and double standards existing in the Security Council prevent it from performing its duties and assuming its responsibilities towards preserving international peace and security as required, leading to the continued disruption of peace and security, the expansion of the injustices against the peoples, the violation of rights and the spread of conflicts and wars around the world. Continue reading ‘Full Text: Saudi Statement Rejecting UN Security Council Seat’

NGO: Saudi Arabia refusal to take seat on UN Security Council is “victory for human rights”

UN Watch now calls on Saudis to drop bid for next month’s election to Human Rights Council

GENEVA, October 18, 2013 –Saudi Arabia’s refusal to take its seat on the UN Security Council, announced today via the Saudi Press Agency, is a “victory for human rights,” said a Geneva-based human rights group today.

“A country whose legal system routinely lashes women rape victims rather than punish the perpetrators never belonged in the UN Security Council in the first place,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the non-governmental human rights group UN Watch, which has for years reported on Saudi Arabia’s oppression of women and its other gross human rights abuses.

UN Watch also noted that Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest source of funds for Islamist terrorist groups (see below), and was an “absurd choice” to legislate for the world on combating terrorism.

“While the Saudi statement invoked UN ‘double standards’ as their grounds for refusal, the truth is that Saudi Arabia’s entire system is a double standard. Under Saudi law and practice, there is one standard for men, and another for women, who cannot vote, drive a car, or travel without a male guardian; one for Muslims, and another for Christians, 53 of whom who were arrested this year by religious police for praying in a private home; one for heterosexuals, and another for gays, where homosexuality is punishable by death, and where gays have been publicly beheaded,” said Neuer. Continue reading ‘NGO: Saudi Arabia refusal to take seat on UN Security Council is “victory for human rights”’

Saudi Arabia to win UN Security Council seat

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

Today the U.N. General Assembly will elect five new members to the Security Council, the U.N.’s most powerful body.
According to AP, all five candidates are virtually guaranteed to win a seat since there are no contested races. Among them is Saudi Arabia—a country renowned for its human rights abuses.
If elected, Saudi Arabia will serve a two-year term on the Council as one of 10 non-permanent members and alongside five permanent members with veto power.
Council members have the power to shape UN action on international peace and security, as well as on hot-button human rights and humanitarian issues, such as protection of civilians in wartime, the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, international justice, and counter-terrorism and human rights.

UN Indifferent to Gaza Rocket Attacks on Israel: Ambassador

The absence of any United Nations condemnation of the ceaseless Gaza-sourced rocket attacks on southern Israeli cities is highlighted in a letter Israel has sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council.

“This is a dangerous trend,” Ambassador Haim Waxman, Israel’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, says in comments reflecting the letter’s content.

“During the past month, more than 40 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israeli cities. Israel holds Hamas fully responsible for all acts of terrorism emanating from Gaza. We will continue to exercise our right to self-defense and take all measures necessary to protect our citizens.” Continue reading ‘UN Indifferent to Gaza Rocket Attacks on Israel: Ambassador’

Rights activists urge South Africa to ‘vote like a democracy’ on Security Council, recall poor voting record of prior term

GENEVA, October 12, 2010 – UN Watch congratulated Colombia, Germany, India and South Africa on their election as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for 2011-2012.

In regard to South Africa, UN watch executive director Hillel Neuer said it was “important that a major African democracy be represented on the council.”At the same time, Neuer recalled that during South Africa’s previous term at the Security Council, in 2007-2008, “there were serious concerns expressed by civil society groups regarding that country’s voting record on critical human rights issues. At the time, UN Watch and other human rights groups had objected to a series of decisions where South Africa used its seat on the Security Council to stand with the perpetrators instead of the victims.”

For example, said Neuer, in 2007, “South Africa joined China and Russia as the sole members to oppose a resolution urging Burma to free political detainees and end sexual violence by the military. Pretoria helped hardliners Moscow and Beijing to kill the text, shielding the generals of Rangoon.”

“In that same year, South Africa outdid even Saudi Arabia in opposing or refusing to support resolutions for victims of human rights violations in Belarus, Burma, Iran, and North Korea. When questions arose over this policy-which South Africa’s own Archbishop Desmond Tutu called ‘a betrayal of our noble past’, the government’s reaction was to lash out,” said Neuer.

“We urge South Africa – as a leading democracy with a vital role to play in world affairs – to ensure that this time, whenever vital human rights issues are at stake at the UN, it will vote like a democracy.”

South Africa Opposes UN Human Rights Resolutions

The following op-ed appeared in today’s Sunday Times of South Africa.

South Africa at the UN: Your Freedom and Mine

Hillel Neuer

At the United Nations recently, South Africa outdid even Saudi Arabia in opposing or refusing to support resolutions for victims of human rights violations in Belarus, Burma, Iran, and North Korea. When questions arose over this policy, criticised in March by Archbishop Desmond Tutu as “a betrayal of our noble past”, the government’s reaction was to lash out. It would do far better to simply respond to the legitimate concerns of its citizens.

The current debate emerged in local newspapers and on national radio after an exposé in a recent issue of the Sunday Times, citing data from non- governmental organisations (NGOs), including the Switzerland-based UN Watch. But for observers of the world body the government’s latest votes were all too familiar, part of an increasingly long line of decisions in 2007 that have seen South Africa stand with the perpetrators instead of the victims.

In January this year, shortly after assuming its two-year seat on the Security Council, South Africa joined China and Russia as the sole members to oppose a resolution urging Burma to free political detainees and end sexual violence by the military. South Africa has often dismissed such initiatives as campaigns by the wealthy North. Yet if Ghana, Panama and Peru could support the text — and Congo, Indonesia and Qatar could quietly abstain — why did Pretoria help hardliners Moscow and Beijing to kill the text, shielding the generals of Rangoon?

Here, as elsewhere, South Africa gave technical reasons. The resolution, said UN ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, treated issues “best left to the Human Rights Council.”

To call this disingenuous would be an understatement. Not only had the majority of the new council proclaimed a strict policy of blocking consideration of country situations, but South Africa was a vocal proponent. It actively voted in March to discontinue scrutiny of violations by Iran and Uzbekistan. On June 12, it urged members to “terminate all country mandates.” The result? A week later, the independent experts into abuses in Cuba and Belarus saw their mandates permanently scrapped.

In an October study by the Democracy Coalition Project, countries were measured by their support for mechanisms addressing violations in specific countries (like Burma), ensuring the much-touted universal review of all states would be more than a toothless exercise and protecting the independence of country and thematic investigators. In all cases, South Africa was found to be on the wrong side, among those acting to eviscerate Kofi Annan’s original plan for an effective council.

It is time for Pretoria to answer some basic questions:

  • Was Burma’s suffering really “best left to the Human Rights Council”? After the Security Council resolution was blocked, the Human Rights Council predictably said and did absolutely nothing, until long after it was too late. If either body had demonstrated timely resolve, would that have helped to prevent Burma’s bloody arrest of thousands of peacefully demonstrating monks last month — and the killings?
  • The government claims human rights victims are better helped by “quiet diplomacy”. Yet the victims implore the international community to shine a spotlight on abuses their governments seek to hide. From Burma it was Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy who urged the Security Council to speak out. Similarly, from Darfur to Cuba, dissidents and victims come to the Human Rights Council pleading for public action. Does South Africa know something the victims do not?
  • Why, in July, did South Africa join a minority of 13 countries in opposing UN accreditation of a Canadian gay rights NGO?
    Ambassador Kumalo insists his policy is to defend “the rules”. Yet when the Human Rights Council rammed through a set of changes in its midnight manoeuvre on June 19 — famously denying Canada its right to vote and then pretending there was “a consensus”— why was South Africa complicit in this unprecedented trampling of basic procedures?
  • As the greatest beneficiary of UN human rights action to help end apartheid, can South Africa now deny help to others?
  • Why did Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad try to tarnish independent NGOs, falsely claiming they were funded by “major Western powers” and behind a “campaign” against South Africa?

The truth is that the activists for political prisoners in Havana, Minsk and Pyongyang are of the same movement that fought for Nelson Mandela.

South Africa should not forget his famous words: “Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.”

Hillel Neuer is executive director of UN Watch in Geneva.

Urgent Message on Darfur: Killings Reported at Kalma IDP Camp

Gibril

(Gibreil Hamid, left, at UN Watch’s March 2007 activist summit for Darfur, at UN Human Rights Council)

Our friend Mr. Gibreil I.M. Hamid from the Darfur Peace and Development Centre has just sent UN Watch the following urgent message: 

Dear Friends and Human rights Defenders.

As we all read these days, the Government of Sudan has intensified attacks against the civilians in the IDP Camps all over the Darfur region. The newest was on Friday, Oct. 19, 2007, at Kalma Camp, which is about 17 km from the South Darfur Capital of Nyala. Three people have been killed and more than ten injured — all of this at a time when the international community is trying to send peacekeeping troops to Darfur.

I don’t know how long it will take them to reach Darfur, or how many people will die until they respond. We all know how difficult is the situation of the IDPs — these people need protection from the Sudanese regime.

Right now as I’m writing this news there is an attack in Zalinge, in western Darfur.  I was talking to some people in the IDP camp, where the attackers are still in the camp.  I was told that the Sudanese Forces were killing four men and many others were injured.  I have asked the IDPs to tell me the names of the people who have been killed but they cannot go out because the police and the Janjaweed are still in the Camp.  It’s very sad.

This is happening as the international community is preparing for the Libya Final Settlement talks between Darfur’s rebel groups and Khartoum. I’m asking you all to spread this news wherever you can. Help us to stop the suffering of these people.  Also, I’m calling on the international community to stop the ongoing genocide in Darfur.                        

Thanks a lot — God bless you all, Amen.

Best regards,
Gibreil

UN Watch condemns election of Qaddafi’s Libya to UN Security Council

Geneva Oct. 16 –  UN Watch condemned the election of Libya today to the UN Security Council. “Electing Colonel Muammar Qaddafi to maintain international peace and security is like naming Jack the Ripper to fight sexual harassment,” said Hillel C. Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based monitoring organization. “We’re also concerned with the election of Vietnam, a country that continues to deny its citizens fundamental political and religious liberties.”

Neuer expressed concern that “the West is silent as Libya is quickly acquiring a series of new and important UN posts — including its unanimous August election as head of the UN’s “Durban II” anti-racism process through 2009 — even as its record on human rights remains appalling.” The UN and African Union will meet in Libya at the end of the month for Darfur peace talks.