"A Minnesota man is being held in an Arab jail after putting a spoof video about youth culture in Dubai online. Shezanne Cassim, 29, was arrested in April and charged with violating a 2012 cyber crime law that has penalties for allegedly challenging authorities, his attorney, Susan Burns, said. Mr Cassim, who was moved to a maximum security prison in Abu Dhabi in June, has been accused of endangering national security. He is the first foreigner arrested under tougher measures governing internet use in the United Arab Emirates, according to the Emirates Center for Human Rights... 'It's tragic. It's something that can happen to anybody, especially young people who post all the time on YouTube,' Ms Burns said. To be incarcerated over something that's clearly a joke, clearly meant in jest, clearly meant in good humor - and held for seven months - is a violation of human rights.'"
"Two Egyptian Christians living in Libya were killed by Muslims when they refused to convert to Islam in late September. The Morning Star News reported that Waleed Saad Shaker, 25, and Nash'at Shenouda Ishaq, 27, Coptic Christians from Egypt living in Libya, were surrounded by a group of militant Muslims in northeastern Libya's Derna District, in what initially seemed like an armed robbery. After taking their belongings and beating them, the group demanded that the two men recite the shahada, the Islamic conversation declaration. When the men refused, the extremists tied them up and shot them."
Today, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will pay a visit to Auschwitz where he will make a show of concern for the demonization of Jews in the past century. However, at the very same time his UN staff is actively discriminating against Jews at UN Headquarters in the here and now. The group of 18 Birthright Israel alumni had been invited to witness the annual offensive "UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" by the UN-accredited Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. Solidarity Day marks the General Assembly's adoption of the resolution in November 1947 that partitioned Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. The meeting was advertised as open with no prior consent and any NGO invited to attend according to the UN website. Formal approval from the UN had been given, and the passes scheduled to be picked up. That is, until UN security official Lt. Paul Jankowsky reversed course and unilaterally decided that the chief of the UN Palestinian Rights Division, Wolfgang Grieger, had a veto over who could attend. The campaign to exclude Jewish groups which support Israel from attending UN meetings is only the latest affront to the UN Charter's promise of "the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small." Today in Poland the secretary-general will pose for the cameras at Auschwitz and the UN media machine will move into high gear. One week today in New York, the Secretary-General will bar selected Jews from attending a public UN meeting and deliver a statement marking the partition vote absent the flag of the Jewish state. The duplicity could not be clearer.
Senator Mike Lee (UT-R) has now introduced Bill S.1197 to require an accounting of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the United Nations. Since 2010, there has been no such requirement, keeping U.S. citizens in the dark on how many taxpayer dollars are being spent on the UN or where they're going. To ensure full transparency, Senator Lee included the following reporting requirements from the executive branch in the bill:
o The total amount of all assessed and voluntary contributions, including in-kind, of the United States Government to the United Nations and United Nations affiliated agencies and related bodies.
o The approximate percentage of United States Government contributions to each United Nations affiliated agency or body in such fiscal year when compared with all contributions to such agency or body from any source in such fiscal year.
o For each such contribution- the amount of the contribution; a description of the contribution (including whether assessed or voluntary); the department or agency of the United States Government responsible for the contribution; the purpose of the contribution; and the United Nations or United Nations affiliated agency or related body receiving the contribution.
In addition to these details, Senator Lee's bill requires retroactive reporting on the three previous fiscal years and that each report be made publicly available in all formats, including the Internet. This is fundamental accountability and transparency and Senator Lee's efforts deserve bipartisan support.
What it takes to get elected to the UN's top human rights body, the UN "Human Rights" Council. Distribute gifts to delegates in the UN General Assembly before the vote.
- Saudi Arabia handed out cake pops:
- Cuba handed out CDs:
- Viet Nam handed out dolls:
- Mexico handed out bookmarks:
- South Africa handed out salad spoons:
Gifting One's Way onto UN HRC Article
New UN human rights bosses
Today, the UN General Assembly held elections for the top UN human rights body, the Human Rights Council. New Council members include some of the world's worst abusers: China (elected with 176 votes of 193 UN members), Cuba (148 votes), Russia (176 votes), and Saudi Arabia (140 votes). In addition, with today's election, the Islamic bloc of states retains a stranglehold over the Council. States from the African and the Asian regional groups make up 55% of the Human Rights Council, and now 54% of them are members of the Organization for the Islamic Cooperation (OIC). So the OIC holds the balance of power. Also after today's elections, only 53% of the UN HRC members are free states (ranked "fully free" by the Freedom House).
A detailed breakdown and analysis of the election results can be found here.
Saudi Arabia is set to join the UN Human Rights Council on November 12, 2013. The laughable process to select members of the UN's top human rights body involves pledging to care about human rights. So here's the Saudi 8-page "pledge" on its terrific rights record:
• Saudi Arabia has "right conduct that is based on the Islamic Sharia."
• "Saudi Arabia supported and complied with the resolutions of the Human Rights Council."
• Saudi Arabia "cooperated with Human Rights Council mechanisms...in a manner that reflects its relentless pursuit of the realization of human rights on the ground."
• "Saudi Arabia acceded to the Arab Charter on Human Rights" and all kinds of Arab human rights laws.
• "Saudi Arabia has adopted several significant laws that protect human rights, including the Judiciary Law..."
• "The Shura Council approved the Child Protection Law, which ... is aimed at realizing the best interests of the child."
• "Recent human rights efforts of Saudi Arabia at the national level...Promoting a culture of human rights"
• "A national plan for human rights education has been adopted..."
• "In November 2012, the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue opened in Vienna."
• "Saudi Arabia has established the National Commission for Human Rights Education."
• "Saudi Arabia contributed $1 million in support of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women."
• "Saudi Arabia pledged to contribute $10 million over a three-year period in order to establish the [United Nations Counter-Terrorism] Centre. This was followed by an additional contribution of $100 million..."
• "Should Saudi Arabia be selected as a member for the period 2014-2016, it pledges to continue to support tirelessly the work of the Human Rights Council... Saudi Arabia furthermore affirms its commitment to... support the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights by contributing $1 million over a period of five years."
Now for the facts:
• Saudis "justice" system includes beheading, whipping;
• There are zero UN Human Rights Council resolutions on Saudi Arabia;
• Saudis say they have engaged in the "relentless pursuit of the realization of human rights on the ground." (...grinding women down into the ground);
• Saudis have a "judiciary law." Not the rule of law. Actually the rule of a hand-picked fanatical judiciary;
• Saudis say they follow the "best interests of the child." Girls can marry at puberty. 10 years ok;
• Saudis say they "promote a culture of human rights". Culture of misogyny, intolerance...more like it;
• Saudis have a "national plan for human rights education." Now if only girls and women had equal access to education;
• "King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Int'l Centre for Interreligious & Intercultural Dialogue" opened in Vienna. Antisemites unite;
• Saudis gave $110 million to the UN Counter-Terrorism Center. Blood money;
• Saudis donated money to the "UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women" (outside Saudi Arabia);
• Saudis end their pledge by promising money for the UN Human Rights office if elected. Sound like a bribe to you?