Archive for the 'Syria' Category

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UN Syria investigator Erturk gives conflicting accounts for resignation

According to Reuters,  Yakin Erturk  has just resigned from the UN’s Commission of Inquiry on Syria “in protest at the Syrian government’s refusal to allow them into the country.” The Turkish sociologist and long-time UN official said that “the commission cannot do comprehensive work and investigate (certain) areas because of no access, so I decided not to continue.”

The odd thing, however, is that only two weeks ago, Erturk gave a very different story. In a letter to the president of the UN Human Rights Council, which oversees the recently-renewed inquiry, Erturk gave notice that “should the mandate of the Commission be extended beyond 23 March 2012, I will not be able to continue my functions due to previous professional commitments.” (Emphasis added.)

Scandal: UNESCO vote keeps Assad regime on human rights committee

Despite US-led bid to expel Syria, UNESCO voted 35-8 for watered-down resolution, allowing Syria to stay on human rights panel

GENEVA, March 8, 2012 – The UN’s education, science and culture organization has just voted 35 to 8 for a resolution that condemns Assad for abuses, yet — despite vigorous efforts led by the U.S. — keeps the regime on its human rights committee. Click here for resolution; here for U.S. statement.

“For UNESCO to keep President Bashar al-Assad on a human rights committee while his regime mercilessly murders its own people is immoral, indefensible and an insult to Syria’s victims,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, the Geneva human rights group that heads a campaign of 55 parliamentarians, human rights and religious groups demanding Syria’s expulsion. Continue reading ‘Scandal: UNESCO vote keeps Assad regime on human rights committee’

U.S. Explanation of Vote: Response of UNESCO to the Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic

Source: US Mission to UNESCO

Explanation of Vote for Agenda Item 24, Response of UNESCO to the Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic

Statement as delivered by U.S. Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Ambassador David Killion, on 8 March 2012

“Thank you Mr. Chairman,

The United States is profoundly disappointed that this resolution does not call for the outright removal of Syria from the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations – something for which we have repeatedly called for. We agree with Director-General Bokova that, given the actions of the Assad regime, it is not clear how Syria can contribute to the work of the committee. We hope that UNESCO will revisit Syria’s membership following the UNESCO’s Director General’s report on Syria. Continue reading ‘U.S. Explanation of Vote: Response of UNESCO to the Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic’

Ros-Lehtinen: UNESCO Fails to Kick Syria Off Human Rights Panel and Backs Anti-Israel Measures; Ros-Lehtinen Reaffirms Opposition to Funding

WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commented today after UNESCO’s Executive Board voted to adopt a resolution on Syria that, contrary to initial U.S. efforts, failed to expel Syria from the UNESCO committee dealing with human rights. Earlier this week, the Executive Board reportedly adopted multiple anti-Israel resolutions. Continue reading ‘Ros-Lehtinen: UNESCO Fails to Kick Syria Off Human Rights Panel and Backs Anti-Israel Measures; Ros-Lehtinen Reaffirms Opposition to Funding’

Exclusive: UNESCO vote today will keep Syria on human rights committee

Despite bid by US & UK to expel Assad regime, UNESCO waters down draft resolution; Syria to keep seat on UNESCO board and rights panel

GENEVA, March 7 – Despite vigorous efforts led by the US and Britain, a resolution on Syria to be adopted today by the UN’s education, science and culture agency will keep the Assad regime on its human rights committee, revealed UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights monitoring organization, which exclusively obtained a copy of the draft. Click here for draft resolution.

“That UNESCO will keep President Bashar al-Assad on its human rights committee — at the same time as the regime mercilessly murders its own people — is a moral outrage,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights group.

“Today’s appalling decision calls into question the credibility of UNESCO as an agency dedicated to human rights, and casts a shadow upon the reputation of the UN as a whole.”

After UNESCO elected Syria to its human rights committee in November, UN Watch led a campaign of 55 parliamentarians, human rights and religious groups calling on the agency to reverse its decision. In response, the US and Britain initiated today’s debate at UNESCO.

“While today’s text rightly condemns Syria, the promised call to oust the regime from UNESCO’s human rights panel has been completely excised. We’re left with words, but no teeth. By maintaining Assad in a position of global influence on human rights, UNESCO today is sending absolutely the wrong message. It an unconscionable insult to the suffering people of Syria,” said Neuer.

Today’s vote is expected around 4:30 pm Paris time. The weakened resolution is expected to pass with numbers similar to last week’s vote, when Russia tried but failed to remove the Syria discussion from the agenda.

UN Watch predicts that some 34 nations, headed by the US and Britain, will vote in favour of today’s watered-down resolution, including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Egypt, Italy, Japan, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates.

Some seventeen are expected to oppose, including Syria itself (it is also a member of the Executive Board), Russia, Cuba, China, Brazil, Angola, Namibia, India, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Several weeks ago, UN Watch had received notice from the British Foreign Office that it would seek to cancel Syria’s “abhorrent” membership. In an email to UN Watch, the UK said it “deplores the continuing membership of Syria on this committee and does not believe that Syria’s presence is conducive to the work of the body or UNESCO’s reputation. We have therefore joined with other countries in putting forward an item for the first meeting of the Executive Board at which we will seek to explicitly address Syria’s membership of the body.” The UK also expressed hope that other members of the executive board will join London in ending what it called “this abhorrent [and] anomalous situation.”

“We applaud the efforts of the US and Britain, but it’s sad that a moral majority at UNESCO could simply not be found today,” said Neuer.

Is Syrian ambassador to UN rights council planning to defect?

Tomorrow will see Foreign Ministers descend on Geneva for the opening of the first 2012 session of the UN Human Rights Council.

At a recent UN press conference, U.S. Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe offered a good review of what’s ahead. Click here for the transcript, and here for the audio. Reuters asked about UN Watch’s protest over Libya’s vehement attack against gays (minute 16:00).

Of note:

  • The Syrian envoy to the UN rights council,  Faysal Hamoui, hasn’t been seen in a while, and, alluding to the Libyans’ defection last year, Ambassador Donahoe hinted that he may be planning the same:

Continue reading ‘Is Syrian ambassador to UN rights council planning to defect?’

UNESCO praised participation of Syria

On Nov. 22, UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova distanced herself from UNESCO’s election of Syria to two human rights committees, with her spokesperson telling UN Watch, “given the developments in Syria, the Director-General does not see how this country can contribute to the work of the Committees.”

However, only three weeks earlier, her approach toward Syria’s role at UNESCO appeared very different. This is from the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), November 1, 2011: Continue reading ‘UNESCO praised participation of Syria’

Syria may be kicked off UNESCO rights panel thanks to UN Watch campaign

GENEVA, Jan. 25 – For the first time in its history, the UN’s culture and education agency is preparing to condemn Syria and expel it from a human rights committee, revealed a Geneva-based human rights organization today, releasing a motion filed by the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Qatar, Kuwait and six other countries, now backed also by Japan and South Korea.

After UNESCO in November elected Syria, which already sits on its 58-member executive board, to a committee that judges human rights complaints, the independent UN Watch monitoring group launched a campaign of 55 parliamentarians, religious groups and human rights activists urging member states to reverse the decision.

In response, according to diplomatic documents obtained exclusively by UN Watch, the U.S., its EU allies, Canada, Japan and a handful of Arab states are now among a growing coalition of countries that is formally requesting an agenda item for next month’s UNESCO board meeting to “review” Syria’s controversial membership.

Continue reading…

Iran, Syria, N. Korea Condemned, But Not By All

Roll calls detailed below reveal which countries voted with Iran, Syria and North Korea as the UN General Assembly passed resolutions Dec. 19 denouncing the human rights records of those three regimes. As in past years, Afghanistan, where NATO-led forces continue to battle on behalf of the country, split with the alliance’s members for the vote on Iran, and voted with the Islamic republic.

1. Situation of Human Rights in Iran: 89 in favour, 30 against, 64 abstentions.

Against:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Brunei Darussalam, China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ecuador, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe. Continue reading ‘Iran, Syria, N. Korea Condemned, But Not By All’

Rights Groups Welcome UN Draft on Syria, Urge Creation of Investigator

GENEVA, Nov. 17– In an attempt to influence a UN resolution on Syrian abuses now being debated by member states, a coalition of 20 famous dissidents and rights groups today circulated their own draft which specifically calls for the post of an independent UN expert to investigate gross violations in that country. Click here for proposed UNGA Resolution on Situation of Human Rights in Syria.

“We welcome the draft UN General Assembly resolution on Syria, and congratulate Britain, France and Germany for their initiative,” said Hillel Neuer, director of the non-governmental UN Watch monitoring group in Geneva, which sent the draft to 193 UN member states on behalf of a coalition of human rights groups and dissidents. “We strongly hope that Arab states including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Morocco and Kuwait will stand up and be counted as co-sponsors.”

Sponsors of the NGO draft resolution include well-known former political prisoners Yang Jianli of China, Ahmad Batebi of Iran, Fidel Suarez Cruz and Berta Antunez of Cuba, Rebiya Kadeer of the Uyghur people and Grace Kwinjeh of Zimbabwe, as well as UN Watch, the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights, Human Rights Foundation and Viet Tan.

The text was drafted at a recent summit of dissidents held in New York during the UN General Assembly, which included an opening address by Syrian rights activist Rami Nakhleh.

The dissidents’ draft calls upon the Human Rights Council to “urgently establish the mandate of a Special Rapporteur for human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, to monitor the situation in the country, collect information and recommend to the UN system actions to be taken.”

The NGO text also asks the Secretary-General to report on Syria to the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council at its next sessions, and would ensure discussion of the Syrian human rights situation at future sessions.

The debate on the official UN text is expected within the next week at the world body’s Third Committee on human rights, which meets this month in New York.

VIDEO: Syrian activist taken on Assad regime in UN debate

Syria tells lies in UN debate. UN Watch responds. Testimony delivered by Lama al-Atassi, Syrian pro-democracy activist, to UN Human Rights Council emergency session on “The Situation of Human Rights in Syrian Arab Republic,” August 22, 2011, Geneva.

UN condemnation of Syrian attrocities

The Human Rights Council condemned Syria today at the conclusion of its 17th special session on the “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic.” The EU-sponsored resolution passed with 33 votes to 4, with 9 abstentions.

China, Russia, Cuba and Ecuador voted against the resolution. Abstaining were Mauritania, Angola, Philippines, Cameroon, Uganda, India, Bangladesh, Djibouti and Malaysia.

For further details on the voting outcome, click here to see the Voting Chart.

The resolution strongly condemned “the continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities” and decided to create a full commission of inquiry “to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law since March 2011 in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

For the full text of the resolution, click here.

Syrian democracy activist addresses UN urgent session on Syria

UN Watch statement delivered today by Ms. Lama al-Atassi, Syrian pro-democracy activist, to United Nations Human Rights Council emergency session on The Situation of Human Rights in Syrian Arab Republic, August 22, 2011.

 

Thank you, Madam President.

We have heard various statements in support of the Syrian government. Allow me to provide an entirely different picture — one reflecting the true reality in Syria.

My name is Lama Atassi. I am a Syrian citizen of Homs, the town which witnessed the greatest number of prisoners and martyrs. The inhabitants of Homs confront fear and live bullets on a daily basis to reclaim their freedom and their rights, as guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I would like to share with you the story of Hadi Al Jendi, a 22-year-old student of Homs who was murdered by his own government on July 22.

Hadi led demonstrations in the streets of Homs. For this sole reason, and after severe threats, he was shot with a bullet to the forehead.

He left the following message:

Go into the streets and claim your freedom, do not return to your homes until it is yours again, even if this means dying as martyrs. My soul longs to see freedom prevail in our country.

Hadi was one of the first students to leave the path of academic education in order to join one committed to democracy and dignity, a new source of education for people in the Syrian streets, which they hope to see applied one day.

I therefore appeal to all of you present today to stand in support of the Syrian people.

I have but one question for those countries which, in UN debates held here or in the Security Council in New York, have opposed a firm condemnation of the crimes committed by the Syrian government – for those countries which have chosen to side with the executioners instead of with the victims.

I ask China, Russia, Egypt, Nigeria, Lebanon, Pakistan, India, Brazil and Cuba:

How do you justify your support for a regime that slaughters its own people?

How do can you continue to ignore the rights of the Syrian people?

How will you justify your actions when, in the near future, the people of Syria achieve their freedom?

Thank you, Madam President.

EU waters down UN Human Rights Council resolution on Syria

In advance of today’s UN Human Rights Council emergency session on Syria, the EU apparently watered down it draft resolution to include a reference to Syria’s “territorial integrity.”  See UN Watch’s rush summary below. Friday’s talks are summarized here. Continue reading ‘EU waters down UN Human Rights Council resolution on Syria’

50 rights groups urge UN’s Syria meeting to mandate victim hearings, special investigator

GENEVA – An international coalition of 50 human rights and church relief organizations are calling for Monday’s UN Human Rights Council session on Syria to mandate a permanent special investigator into violations by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the holding of televised hearings in Geneva for Syrian victims to testify.

Led by UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights advocacy group, the appeal was submitted in a letter today to the ambassadors of all 47 council member states.

The open letter is signed by Franciscans International, Initiatives for China headed by eminent dissident Yang Jianli, and 48 other non-governmental, humanitarian and church groups from Australia, Belgium, Burkina Faso, DR Congo, France, Germany, India, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria Nepal, Switzerland, the UK, Uganda, the US and Vietnam.

“It’s vital for the UN meeting to produce a meangingful outcome that will pressure the Syrian regime and help protect victims on the ground,” said UN Watch director Hillel Neuer. “Public hearings with victim testimony, coupled with the creation of a permanent investigator on Syria, would do that.”

The NGOs criticized the council for holding only one meeting on Syria more than three months ago, saying the UN body had “failed to take prompt or effective action to protect the victims of Syrian mass killings.”

The NGO appeal also called on the council to hold the Syrian military and political leadership personally accountable for alleged “crimes against humanity.” Continue reading ’50 rights groups urge UN’s Syria meeting to mandate victim hearings, special investigator’

24 NGOs call for UN rights council emergency session on Syria

GENEVA — An international coalition of human rights and church relief organizations are urging the UN’s 47-member Human Rights Council to “end its silence on the atrocities now being committed by the Syrian regime.” The groups are calling for the council to convene an emergency session on the bloody crackdown, hold televised hearings in Geneva for victims to testify, and create a special investigator into rights violations by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Led by UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights advocacy group, the appeal was submitted in a letter today to council president Laura Dupuy Lasserre, signed by 24 non-governmental, humanitarian and church groups from Australia, Burkina Faso, DR Congo, France, Germany, India, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Switzerland, Uganda, the US and Vietnam.

The NGOs criticized the council for holding only one meeting on Syria more than three months ago, saying the UN body had “failed to take prompt or effective action to protect the victims of Syrian mass killings.” Continue reading ’24 NGOs call for UN rights council emergency session on Syria’

UN: Hypocrisy Suffocates Human Rights

Statement delivered by Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, to the UN Human Rights Council in its debate under Agenda Item 4, “Human Rights Situations That Require the Council’s Attention,” 16 June 2011.

Madam President,

If human rights standards are applied selectively, in what sense can they be considered standards?  The credibility of the United Nations turns on this question.

Let us consider and compare two events.

One year ago, this council was holding a three-week session, just like this one. Suddenly, the Arab and Islamic states demanded an interruption, to debate the deaths of nine members of a so-called humanitarian flotilla. As it happens, many of the passengers had been recruited by the Jihadi IHH organization, and had boasted of their seeking to die as martyrs.

No procedure existed for interrupting a session. So something new was created, called the “Urgent Debate.”   Continue reading ‘UN: Hypocrisy Suffocates Human Rights’

It’s official: Shamed Assad pulls Syria out of UN race

GENEVA, May 11 — A coalition of 25 human rights groups headed by the Geneva-based UN Watch cheered today’s withdrawal by Syria of its candidacy for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. The Asian group is instead endorsing Kuwait, which will still need a minimum 97 votes in the UN’s May 20 election.

“The defeat and shaming of Syria’s murderous regime in the court of world opinion should be a morale boost for the courageous citizens of that country who continue to brave bullets and beatings to speak out for their universal human rights,” said Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director.

“It says a lot when Syria’s actions are deemed so reprehensible by the international community as to cause its rejection by a club whose members already include Bahrain, China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and other notorious human rights violators,” said Neuer. Continue reading ‘It’s official: Shamed Assad pulls Syria out of UN race’

UN Watch hails Syrian defeat at UN, but opposes reported consolation prize for Assad regime

GENEVA, May 9 — UN Watch hailed the breaking news that Syria is expected to drop its bid, but expressed concern that it might be replaced by Kuwait — “far better than Syria, but another non-democracy nevertheless” — and urged against giving the Assad regime a consolation prize akin to Iran’s receipt of a seat on the UN Commission on the Status of Women, in exchange for dropping its 2010 bid for a council seat.

The Geneva-based human rights group was the first to sound the alarm over Syria’s bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, and heads a global coalition of human rights groups and dissidents seeking to block Damascus. See details at www.unwatch.org/stopsyria.

“The defeat of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s cynical candidacy is a welcome message to his brutalized population that the world is repulsed by the regime’s ongoing massacres,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

“The Asian states at the UN never should have endorsed the brutal Syrian regime in the first place. And now it would Continue reading ‘UN Watch hails Syrian defeat at UN, but opposes reported consolation prize for Assad regime’

The UN’s two pro-Syrian amendments

Colum Lynch’s latest Foreign Policy blog post offers informative analysis of the UN forces — including China, Russia, and Islamic and Arab states — which have rallied behind Syria at the Security Council, and, with less success, at the Human Rights Council, where, in a special session on April 29, the US managed to win a majority for a robust condemnation of Syria and the creation of an investigative mission.

Lynch refers to failed amendments that were presented by the OIC and Egypt — some of which were written by Syria itself — that attempted to dramatically weaken the text. UN Watch has the full text of these pro-Syrian proposals here.

In fact, two of the amendments, regrettably, did make it into the final text. Continue reading ‘The UN’s two pro-Syrian amendments’

UN reps: Syria to lose bid for UN rights council seat

The following Bloomberg news report indicates that Syria’s defeat in next week’s elections to the UN Human Rights Council is a done deal. The UN rep of India, a key player in the Asian group — which officially endorsed the Assad regime’s candidacy back in January — says that Syria won’t get the requisite 97 out of UNGA 192 votes on May 20. And Egypt’s UN rep goes on the record to say that they advised Syria to drop its bid. Continue reading ‘UN reps: Syria to lose bid for UN rights council seat’

Voting results of Special Session resolution on Syria

Click here for final resolution text

Voting YES were: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, France, Ghana, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, UK, USA, Uruguay, and Zambia.

Voting NO were: Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Gabon, Malaysia, Mauritania, Pakistan, Russian Federation.

ABSTAINING were: Cameroon, Djibouti, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine.

ABSENT were: Angola, Bahrain, Jordan, and Qatar.

NGOs urge US to hold strong on UN text slamming Syria

UN Watch, the Geneva-based rights group that heads an international coalition opposing Syria’s candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council, strongly praised today’s revised American draft resolution (April 29) with a new first paragraph that “unequivocally condemns the use of lethal violence against peaceful protestors by the Syrian authorities” — thereby restoring, as UN Watch requested yesterday, the direct attribution of responsibility to the Assad government that had been removed in yesterday’s US draft.

Click here for the full story at the UN Watch website.

Syria to UN: Israel glorifies sucking Arab blood

NGO in UN Debate Slams Syrian Diplomat for Blood Libel, Calls on World Body to Condemn “Anti-Semitic” Remarks

Syria: Israeli anti-Arab hatred teaches children to sing “With my teeth I will rip your flesh, with my mouth I will suck your blood

Geneva, June 9,  2010 – In a speech today to the United Nations (see full text below) the Geneva non-governmental human rights group UN Watch called on the world body to condemn “hateful and “anti-Semitic remarks” made yesterday by the Syrian delegate to the UN Human Rights Council.

In comments reported today in the the US and Canadian media, Syrian diplomat Rania Al Rifaiy had accused Israel of being a state “built on hatred, discrimination, oppression and a paranoid feeling of superiority.” (See transcript at bottom.)

As evidence, she purported to quote anti-Arab comments from a rabbi and a children’s song. “Let me quote a song,” said Al Rifaiy, “that a group of children on a school bus in Israel sing merrily as they go to school: `With my teeth I will rip your flesh, with my mouth I will suck your blood.”Continue reading ‘Syria to UN: Israel glorifies sucking Arab blood’

UN Watch Exposes Syrian Blood Libel, Calls on World Body to Condemn Anti-Semitic Speech

Geneva, June 8 – UN Watch is calling on the United Nations to condemn hateful and anti-Semitic remarks made today by the Syrian delegate to the UN Human Rights Council. 

“Let me quote a song,” said Syrian diplomat Rania Al Rifaiy, “that a group of children on a school bus in Israel sing merrily as they go to school: `With my teeth I will rip your flesh, with my mouth I will suck your blood.”‘

She also accused Israel of being a state “built on hatred, discrimination, oppression and a paranoid feeling of superiority.” (See details below.)
Continue reading ‘UN Watch Exposes Syrian Blood Libel, Calls on World Body to Condemn Anti-Semitic Speech’

U.N. Hypocrisy: Syria accuses Israel of violating freedom of the press

During a meeting today of the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Geneva, the United States called a report on Palestinians unbalanced, and described it as part of a ritual at the U.N. to demonize Israel.

That ritual was in full form today when the government of Syria, the Baathist tyranny of Bashir al-Assad, accused Israel of being the world’s only country refusing to abide by international law, in a manner unseen since apartheid South Africa. The Syrian representative said that Israel arrested dissenting journalists, and he lamented “double standards” on Israel.

Whatever Israel’s flaws, Freedom House’s annual survey shows that freedom of speech and freedom of the press find far greater protection there than in any other country in the Middle East.

Syria should be the last one to throw stones on this issue. It regularly arrests and detains its political opponents without fair trial, including bloggers, political analysts, and human rights activists. Pro-democracy activist Kamal Labwani continues to languish in a Syrian prison, serving his third of a 12-year term, despite the recent call for his release by Human Rights Watch in April. The U.N. found his arrest “arbitrary and thus unlawful.”

Israel Squares Off With Iran, Syria In Rights Debate

During the afternoon session of the U.N. Human Rights Council today, Israel accused Syria and Iran of gross violations of human rights. The two countries both responded with hyperbolic accusations against Israel. Continue reading ‘Israel Squares Off With Iran, Syria In Rights Debate’

U.N. Human Rights Council concludes main annual session; Summary of key resolutions

The U.N. Human Rights Council concluded its main annual session on Friday, March 28. Before the start of the session, Freedom House published an updated report on Freedom in the World, which listed eight countries and two territories that suffer from the “worst of the worst” human rights violations: North Korea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Libya, Sudan, Burma (Myanmar), Equatorial Guinea, Somalia, Tibet, and Chechnya. The human rights records of another eleven countries and territories ranked just slightly above. Amongst the more than two dozen resolutions adopted by the council this session, only those on Myanmar and North Korea condemned “worst of the worst” violators. The situation in Somalia was addressed, but in a weak manner with government actions enjoying more praise than criticism. There was also a weak resolution on the Congo, a country in the midst of a large-scale humanitarian crisis. By contrast, Israel —ranked as “free”— was strongly condemned in five one-sided resolutions.

Continue reading ‘U.N. Human Rights Council concludes main annual session; Summary of key resolutions’

Syria at UN claims to be human rights plaintiff, not defendant

The Syrians convened an informal meeting at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to showcase their latest draft resolution, on “the Human Rights Situation in the Syrian Occupied Golan.”

The text is similar to previous one-sided resolutions, such as A/HRC/2/3, adopted on November 27, 2006. 

Notable elements of what will be the UNHRC’s 17th condemnation of Israel:

  • It ignores Syrian rejectionism and sponsorship of terrorism.
  • It treats the events of 1967 without mentioning Syria’s systematic shelling of Israeli communities from positions on Golan Heights, its leader’s calls for a “war of annihilation” against Israel, and Syria’s 1967 aggression that led to its loss of the territory.
  • It neglects to mention Israel’s repeated offers to trade 99 percent of the Golan for peace, Syria’s sponsorship of the enemies of the peace process, and its support for terrorism.
  • It is redundant to 2 resolutions already adopted this year by the General Assembly, A/Res/62/110 and 62/85. This only demonstrates the utter irrationality and absurdity of devoting precious UN time and resources to meaningless anti-Israel exercises.
  • It makes no mention of massive Syrian human rights violations. That the HRC should pass a resolution concerning Syria without mentioning Syria’s own abysmal record is absurd.

During the meeting, the Syrian chairman said he hoped to see the resolution adopted by consensus. Algeria, Morocco, Palestine on behalf of the Arab Group, and Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference welcomed the resolution, criticizing Israel for “unacceptable practices” and human rights violations.

Western states at the consultation — Canada, Portugal, Switzerland, Denmark, UK among others — were silent.




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