Archive for the 'NGOs' Category

UN status for antisemitic Hamas front group to be decided today

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, May 28, 2015 – A UN committee dominated by Iran and its allies will decide today whether to grant official observer status to an antisemitic front group of the Hamas terrorist organization, warned UN Watch. The Geneva-based independent monitoring group called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to speak out against a “an alarming development that would negate the very principles of the United Nations.”

According to a UN timetable, the world body’s 19-member Committee on NGOs — which is is stacked with non-democracies including Iran, Sudan, China, Cuba, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, and Venezuela — is scheduled to decide on the application of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) to receive official UN accreditation as a non-governmental observer organization.

Iran, the main backer of Hamas, along with Sudan, also a Hamas ally, have spoken out in support of the group, most recently during a February meeting of the UN committee.

NGO status would allow representatives of the Hamas-linked PRC  to acquire official UN badges, full access to UN facilities and participation in debates in New York, Geneva, and Vienna, and, perhaps most significantly, global legitimacy.

PRC haniyeh

Above: Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, center, with (on his left)
Majed Al-Zeer, director-general of the Palestinian Return Centre

Despite its pose as pro-Palestinian human rights group, the PRC is one of the few Palestinian advocacy groups to have been banned by Israel, on account of its deep entanglement with top leaders of the Hamas terrorist organization based in Gaza and abroad.

According to a report in The Telegraph, the PRC “has regularly hosted Palestinian leaders, including [Hamas leader Ismail] Haniyeh, at its annual conferences.”

According to an intelligence digest monitoring worldwide activities of the Muslim Brotherhood, PRC leaders include Ghassan Faour, who is part of Interpal, designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist entity, for being one of several front groups that “provide support to Hamas and form part of its funding network in Europe”; and Zaher Birawi, head of programming for Al-Hiwar TV, which frequently features Hamas individuals and organizations, and which was founded by Azzam Al-Tamimi, a U.K Muslim Brotherhood leader who is “close to Hamas.”

PRC’s deep ties to senior Hamas officials was further documented in a detailed, 80-page report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. The study, replete with photos of PRC leaders with Hamas officials, concludes that the PRC “is affiliated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and “some of its senior figures are Hamas activists who found refuge in Britain.”

Tonight: UN Rights Chief Navi Pillay to Headline Prize Ceremony with Terror Sympathizer Mona Seif

UN Watch urges High Commissioner Pillay to condemn pro-terror statements by Mona Seif

GENEVA, October 8, 2013 – UN rights chief Navi Pillay will headline a controversial Geneva ceremony today featuring a terrorism sympathizer as one three final nominees for what is billed as the world’s top human rights prize.

In a letter to High Commissioner Pillay, the non-governmental group UN Watch urged her to make clear that she condemns the repeated statements by nominee Mona Seif that opposed calls by Amnesty and Human Rights Watch for Hamas to stop rocket attacks on civilians, which she justified as “resistance.”


Following is the UN Watch letter sent today.

Continue reading ‘Tonight: UN Rights Chief Navi Pillay to Headline Prize Ceremony with Terror Sympathizer Mona Seif’

HRW’s Garlasco: “VERY nice Hitler signature selection”; “a visit from Hitler!”; “My Christmas wish is for peace in the Nazi collecting field”

Marc Garlasco, the Human Rights Watch miltary specialist who in recent years provided real-time reports that accused the Jewish state of war crimes and limited its self-defense from Hamas and Hezbollah attacks, has failed to reassure some his board members (see Helena Cobban here) why he has a fascination with the swastika, an adoration of Nazi memorabilia, and a reaction to Hitler that is somewhat less than revulsion.

Posting under the username Flak88, Garlasco pastes this screenshot of Hitler recieving the Nazi salute, commenting on the badges: “an interesting combo!” Continue reading ‘HRW’s Garlasco: “VERY nice Hitler signature selection”; “a visit from Hitler!”; “My Christmas wish is for peace in the Nazi collecting field”’

U.N. Denies Status to Christian Charity After China Objects

GENEVA, July 27, 2009 – UN Watch, the Geneva-based human rights monitoring group, condemned the U.N.’s decision today to reject an international Christian charity as a non-governmental organization (NGO), a form of observer status, after it refused Beijing demands to disclose the addresses of its Chinese members, and “concerns” by Russia, Egypt, Cuba, Pakistan, and Sudan about its “ability to contribute” to the world body. Continue reading ‘U.N. Denies Status to Christian Charity After China Objects’

Morocco Interrupts Rights Council With False Allegations Against NGO Speaker

This morning at the UN Human Rights Council, Morocco interrupted the session with false allegations against an NGO speaker. Before the representative of International Educational Development could even take the floor, the Moroccan delegate raised a point of order, questioning whether the speaker is entitled to testify on behalf of that NGO given that she had previously addressed the Council twice for another NGO, called France Liberte. Continue reading ‘Morocco Interrupts Rights Council With False Allegations Against NGO Speaker’

Sudanese Front Groups Crowd Out Victim Voices

Debate commenced today at the UN Human Rights Council on the report by Ms. Sima Samar, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan. In her opening remarks, she called for the government to implement the recommendations of her report, a large number of which are being ignored, “particularly in areas of protection of civilians and accountability in justice.” She accused the government of Sudan of continuing its attacks on the people of Darfur and of detaining and torturing human rights defenders and aid workers.

The Council divided largely between Western and non-Western States with the former arguing for increased human rights monitoring in Sudan and the latter calling for the elimination of the mandate of the independent expert. Continue reading ‘Sudanese Front Groups Crowd Out Victim Voices’

Cuba and Sri Lanka Attack UN Watch & Other Human Rights NGOs

During today’s debate on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism at the UN Human Rights Council, a number of Western states voiced concerns about barriers to the full participation of legitimate NGOs in the UPR process, with the U.S. saying it is “troubled by practices of countries seeking to silence criticism by lining up friendly speakers. This has a chilling effect on the purpose and spirit of the UPR.” Continue reading ‘Cuba and Sri Lanka Attack UN Watch & Other Human Rights NGOs’

Pakistan Tries to Stifle NGO Voices

Today at the U.N. Human Rights Council, Pakistan raised a concern about yesterday’s decision by the Council President to include NGO speeches into the record of the Council’s proceedings, although there had not been enough time for such NGOs to orally deliver their statements. The ruling came after the session on the consideration of the periodic report to examine rights violations in Canada, which ran overtime. Continue reading ‘Pakistan Tries to Stifle NGO Voices’

Cuban GONGOs Dominate NGO Speaker’s List

At the meeting to adopt the report on Cuban rights violations at the UN Human Rights Council today, of the ten slots allotted for NGO speeches, eight were awarded to GONGOs (“Government-backed NGOs,” i.e., front groups) that bestowed lavish praise on the Castro regime. Continue reading ‘Cuban GONGOs Dominate NGO Speaker’s List’

Cuban Front Groups Queue Up to Block Victim Voices

The U.N.’s human rights officers work hard at allowing NGOs to speak, but today the system failed. Theoretically, NGOs were to form a line outside the Human Rights Council chamber, to sign up to speak at tomorrow’s adoption of reports on the human rights situations in Cuba, Saudi Arabia and other countries. With only ten available slots for NGOs speeches on each country, queuing began at the early hours of the morning, though the sign-up only officially opened at 2:45 PM. Unfortunately, a series of mishaps raised serious questions about the fairness of the process in the eyes of several NGOs. Some claimed they had been told not to arrive at the U.N. before 8 AM (when NGOs are allowed to enter the building), yet reportedly found a line of GONGOs (“Government-backed NGOs,” i.e., front groups) already waiting by the desk long before. If Cuba’s GONGOs manage to take up the whole alloted time, the Castro regime will have blocked the voices of its victims.  Continue reading ‘Cuban Front Groups Queue Up to Block Victim Voices’

Castro-Chavez Alliance Blocks Human Rights Foundation from UN Status

The annual July session of ECOSOC, the UN Economic and Social Council, featured the usual malicious attempts to deny UN accreditation to legitimate non-governmental organizations.

Applications for accreditation are considered by the 19-nation Committee on NGOs, which includes such NGO-friendly governments as China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia and Sudan. The committee spends most of its time harassing or barring groups that speak out for individual freedom. Its rulings, however, must be approved by the 54-nation ECOSOC, where Western democracies are stronger.

In January, the NGO Committee denied consultative status to the Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gays, Transexuales y Bisexuales (FELGTB), a group from Spain. When the recommendation went before ECOSOC, France on behalf of the EU expressed regret at the “discriminatory trend towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual groups in the [NGO] Committee for many years.” Spain and the United States also noted with concern the ongoing intolerance against such groups.

On a motion from France, ECOSOC overruled the NGO Committee, and voted to accredit FELGTB. A Saudi call for a revote, supported by Pakistan and Cape Verde, led to naught, and the Spanish gay rights group maintained its newly-won accreditation. Spain warmly thanked the countries that defended FELGTB, and regretted the efforts to block its participation.

In a separate controversy, the NGO Committee had recommended to deny consultative status to the Human Rights Foundation (HRF). The United States asked ECOSOC to reconsider, noting that the HRF board included such distinguished human rights activists as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel. Also noted was that HRF is chaired by Armando Valladares, recognized by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience for his years of incarceration in Cuban prisons.

The Cubans replied that Mr. Valladares is a “terrorist” and “a clown and a member of a criminal gang.” Cuba, Egypt for the Islamic Group, Russia, Bolivia, Venezuela, Sudan, and Belarus spoke out forcefully against HRC. Ecuador said it had “carried out activities that promoted subversion,” and labeled the group a “terrorist organization.”

Chavez, Castro, Mubarak, Lukashenko, al-Bashir, Morales, and Putin-Medvedev won. ECOSOC upheld the decision to bar the the Human Rights Foundation from the UN. Not the best way for ECOSOC to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Amnesty International Urged to Withdraw Invitation to Qaddafi Supporter

Click here to read press release with hyperlinks

 Geneva, April 16, 2008 —  Amnesty International should reconsider its speaking invitation to Jean Ziegler, a UN official who co-founded the Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize and has supported the regimes of Robert Mugabe, Fidel Castro and other major human rights violators, said UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights monitoring organization (Click to read UN Watch letter).

At its annual Swiss conference to be held this Saturday in Bern, Amnesty International plans to feature Mr. Ziegler together with Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey. In a letter sent today to Amnesty Secretary-General Irene Khan, who will be appearing on the same panel, UN Watch said it was “unconscionable that Amnesty, a leading human rights organization, would invite Mr. Ziegler, and we urge you to reconsider.”

As was reported in Time Magazine and elsewhere, Mr. Ziegler co-founded the Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize in 1989, seen by many as a propaganda vehicle of the Libyan regime. Past recipients include Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

The letter to Amnesty accused Mr. Ziegler of “supporting regimes that, according to your own reports, rank among the world’s worst violators of human rights, such as Zimbabwe, which Mr. Ziegler defended, saying, ‘Mugabe has history and morality with him.’”

UN Watch noted that Mr. Ziegler was recently elected to be an expert advisor to the UN Human Rights Council “by the same countries that decided to ignore the killings in Tibet and then to eviscerate protection of free speech.” Ziegler’s election drew strong protests from human rights groups and dissidents, parliamentarians in Europe and Canada, and editorialists in The Guardian, The Times of London and Investor’s Business Daily.

“The career of Mr. Ziegler symbolizes the cynical subversion of human rights that has so harmed the United Nations and its Human Rights Council… By granting Mr. Ziegler a podium at your conference, Amnesty International will harm its own reputation, and, worse, undermine the principles of the international human rights movement—and the cause of the millions of victims we are sworn to protect,” said UN Watch.

“This sends the wrong message at the wrong time,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

UN Watch director Hillel Neuer elected VP of NGO Human Rights Committee

Click for HTML version and photo

Geneva, Feb. 20, 2008 — UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer was elected vice-president of the Geneva-based Special Committee of NGOs on Human Rights, part of the worldwide Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (CONGO).

The Special Committee is composed of more than 50 NGOs with UN consultative status that are active on a range of human rights issues. It works to bring together international NGOs, improve their cooperation, disseminate information, and increase their exchanges with the United Nations and its agencies.

Executive Director Hillel Neuer with the President of the UN Human Rights Council, Ambassador Doru Romulus Costea, February 19, 2008.

“UN Watch is both immensely proud and gratified that Hillel Neuer has been elected a vice-president of the Special Committee of NGOs on Human Rights,” said Alfred H. Moses, chair of UN Watch. “Hillel’s election by acclamation is testimony to his leadership role on behalf of UN Watch in championing human rights worldwide,” said Moses.

“I am grateful to the special committee for this opportunity to promote the vital role of non-governmental organizations in the protection of human rights,” said Neuer.

“I extend my congratulations to Budi Tjahjono, the new president, and to the other members of the bureau. I look forward to fruitful cooperation with them and all of the committee’s constituent NGOs as we continue our critical work to enable NGOs to further the cause of human rights.”

The new bureau, which was elected on Febraury 8, 2008 and held its first meeting on Monday, is as follows. President: Budi Tjahjono (Pax Romana), Vice-Presidents: Hillel Neuer (UN Watch), Peter Prove (Lutheran World Federation), Helen Sackstein (International Alliance of Women), Treasurer: Lee Weingarten (Women International League for Peace & Freedom), Secretary: Philippe Dam (CONGO). Bureau members serve for three years

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