Resources updated between Monday, January 13, 2014 and Sunday, January 19, 2014
January 19, 2014
Iran is continuing to flex its muscles in all sorts of UN bodies, most recently in the selection of the next executive director of the U.N.'s World Property Organization (WIPO). And...
"...Iran sits until 2015 on the 36-member executive board of the influential United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which is the chief coordinator for U.N. programs in all 162 countries where it has offices, as well as the U.N.'s chief anti-poverty agency...
"The Islamic Republic also has appointed a member to the 34-member board of the World Health Organization (WHO), and is a member of the 49-nation governing Council of the 192-member Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as well as the 36-member Executive Board of UNICEF.
"Iran also sits on the guiding industrial development board and program and budget committees of UNIDO, the United Nations Development Organization, an agency increasingly shunned by developed nations but a bastion of the developing world. In addition, it is a member of the 32-nation executive council of the 156-nation World Tourism Organization, which, among other things, promotes a "global ethics code for tourism," an activity that the WTO says makes up 9 percent of global GNP...
"'There's a real gap in the U.N. governance system,' agrees Mark Wallace, himself a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. for management and reform, and currently head of United Against Nuclear Iran, an organization devoted to brining financial, corporate and grassroots pressure to bear to rein in Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions. 'Iran has flouted U.N. Security Council resolutions for years and years. It is not good governance for a country running afoul of U.N. sanctions to be building legitimacy for itself through the same U.N. system.'"
January 18, 2014
"Palestinian refugees are being systematically starved to death and denied medical care and humanitarian relief. And yet [at] the United Nations [there are]...no protests, no condemnations, no resolutions...
Assad's regime has inflicted enforced starvation; last weekend alone...at least 41 Palestinians died as a result of food and medicine shortages. This week, a PLO convoy loaded with food and medicine was fired on by pro-Assad forces, preventing them from delivering relief to the camps.
Normally, the slightest allegation of suffering inflicted on Palestinians (by Israel, that is) brings about instant worldwide outcry and an emergency session of the UN Security Council...
Selective outrage at the United Nations is nothing new, of course. But this example is especially ironic. For Thursday marked the kickoff by the world body of events launching the 'International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.'
Not least of the Palestinian tragedy is that when there's no Israel that can be blamed for it, the world is all too happy to turn a blind eye to the savagery directed at Palestinian men, women and children."
January 17, 2014
The UN has launched the "International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" with more condemnations of Israel and a commitment to get the Palestinians everything they want via the UN. The point at the UN is to render negotiations pointless, since the UN has all the 'right' answers.
"UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, has pulled a Jewish exhibit two years in the making, entitled 'People, Book, Land – The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel,' after a zero hour protest from the Arab League...
The exhibit, which was created by Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) together with UNESCO, was scheduled to open on January 20th, 2014, at UNESCO's Paris headquarters. The invitations had already gone out, and the fully prepared exhibition material was already in place. The display was co-sponsored by Israel, Canada and Montenegro...
UNESCO informed the SWC of the change on January 14th in a letter to the Center's Shimon Samuels, asserting the Arab League's claim that going ahead with the show 'could create potential obstacles related to the peace process in the Middle East.' In a letter to Irina Bokova, president of UNESCO, President of the Arab group within UNESCO, Abdulla al Neaimi, from the United Arab Emirates, expressed 'deep worry and great disapproval' over the program showing the age old connection between Israel and the Jewish people...'[F]or the major worry not to damage UNESCO in its... mission of support for peace, the Arab group within UNESCO is asking you to make the decision to cancel this exhibition,' Al Neaimi concluded...
Interestingly, 10 days prior to the suspension of the exhibit, the United States declined co-sponsorship on remarkably similar grounds. 'At this sensitive juncture in the ongoing Middle East peace process, and after thoughtful consideration with review at the highest levels, we have made the decision that the United States will not be able to co-sponsor the current exhibit during its display at UNESCO headquarters,' wrote Kelly O. Siekman, Director at the Office of UNESCO Affairs of the State Department."
The UN "accountability" apparatus is on display in The Hague this week, as a whopping nine years after the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, a trial finally gets underway. Except that the dock is empty and the four men on trial aren't there. "The four suspects remain on the run, and Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the pro-Syrian Shia paramilitary organisation, Hizbullah, of which they were members, has warned: "Any hand that touches them will be cut off."" The murderers protectors have a controlling interest in the Lebanese government of today.
This week the House adopted the "Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014" and it
contains a number of restrictions on UN funding and funding of the Palestinians
in relation to the UN - with very big "but's". The restrictions are subject to
a number of significant waivers Congress has allowed the administration.
"SEC. 7048. (b) RESTRICTIONS ON UNITED NATIONS DELEGATIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS
(1) None of the funds made available...may be used to pay expenses for any US delegation to any specialized agency, body or commission of the UN if such commission is chaired or presided over by a country, the government of which the Secretary of State has determined....supports international terrorism.
(2) None of the funds made available...may be used by the Secretary of State as a contribution to any organization, agency, or program within the United Nations system if such organization, agency or commission, or program is chaired or presided over by a country the government of which the Secretary of State has determined....is a government that has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism."
BUT (3) "The Secretary of State may waive the restrictions in this subsection if the Secretary reports to the Committees on Appropriations that to do so is in the national interest of the United States."
In other words, even if one could get past the requirements of "international" terrorism, "repeatedly" provided support, and a Secretary willing to determine the requirements were met, a statement of national interest of any kind would suffice to avoid the so-called "restrictions."
As for funding the UN's number one platform for antisemites devoted to the demonization and destruction of Israel, the "Human Rights" Council, the bill says this. Funds may only be made available to the Council "if the Secretary of State reports...that participation in the Council is in the national interest of the United States: Provided, That the Secretary of State shall report...on steps taken to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item."
Since the only step that could possibly result in the removal of Israel as a permanent agenda item of the Council would be a threat of US withdrawal from the Council and the withholding of a significant sum, the "restriction" is meaningless.
"A recent visit to the website of the UN-funded news agency Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) provides a quick tour of the world's forgotten miseries: reports of child labour in Zimbabwe, profiles of the jobless in Sri Lanka, grisly accounts of ethnic killings in South Sudan and Central African Republic.
Absent from this chronology of global grief is anything new about Syria, the world's bloodiest humanitarian crisis.
In November, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which funds IRIN, quietly placed a gag order on its news agency. Its network of journalists were ordered to halt any reporting about the crisis in Syria, which has displaced millions and cost the lives of more than 130,000, according to UN sources...
OCHA had snuffed IRIN because of concerns that its reporting might complicate delicate diplomatic negotiations on access to needy Syrians, and also because its coverage often pointed out shortcomings in the United Nations' humanitarian relief effort in Syria, where more than 2.5 million people have received little or no humanitarian assistance...
Some diplomats said IRIN's reporting was curtailed to avoid the potential for an awkward story offending any of the key players. The interests of free reporting, it was feared, might clash with the United Nations' efforts to pursue quiet diplomacy...
[T]he challenges to IRIN's editorial independence have extended beyond Syria. Senior UN officials have squelched reports dealing with sensitive issues in Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Iraq, where UN officials blocked publication of a story about the legacy of the 2003 bombing of a UN compound that killed 22 people."
January 16, 2014
The Iran hanging machine is off to a speedy start in 2014. "Six prisoners were hanged in two different Iranian prisons early this morning January 15 [for drug-related offences.] The state run Iranian news agency Fars reported about execution of five prisoners in the prison of Shahroud (northern Iran). Another prisoner was hanged in the prison of Tabas (Central Iran) reported the Iranian state media today....Yesterday 18 people were hanged in different Iranian cities, seven of which were announced by the official Iranian sources. "
UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson's said in New York at the event marking the twentieth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda: "In September 2005, Member States endorsed the concept of Responsibility to Protect. I was very proud to be the President of the General Assembly at that time. In recent years we have also taken steps to strengthen genocide prevention, conflict resolution, the protection of civilians, the rule of law and human rights mechanisms. As a result, the United Nations and the international system are now better prepared to anticipate, prevent and, I would strongly hope, respond to crises." Recalling Syria, Sudan, Central African Republic....the phrase 'delusions of grandeur' comes to mind.
United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon is in Kuwait for a Syria humanitarian fundraiser. Kuwait gave $500 million. Pledges reached 2.4 billion. The Secretary-General called it a "shining example of human solidarity." Now if the UN were to stop the continuing slaughter of 130,000 Syrians and counting, that might be an actual shining example of human solidarity.
Secretary-General Claims Syrians "Not Forgotten" Development
January 15, 2014
The UN OHCHR team's "objective" reporting on the Central African Republic conflict (Christians "anti-Balaka" = perpetrators, Muslims "ex-Séléka" = victims):
"On January 11, in the town of Bozum, anti-Balaka reportedly attacked a convoy of Muslim civilians, leaving several people dead and injured, in reprisal for previous attacks by ex-Séléka, including the killing of ten people and the burning of hundreds of houses. On January 8, anti-Balaka also reportedly attacked the village of Boyali, causing the death of more than ten Muslim civilians...
The UN Human Rights team documented numerous extra-judicial killings perpetrated in Bangui on December 5 and 6, after the launch of a coordinated attack by anti-Balaka forces. During the clashes, anti-Balaka forces killed members of the ex-Séléka forces but also deliberately targeted Muslim civilians, including women and children...
The team also documented cases of attacks on places of worship involving anti-Balaka attacking mosques, such as in Fouh District, where some 200 anti-Balaka reportedly attacked and burned the mosque, killing and mutilating several people...
[T]he mission received multiple reports that the disarmament of ex-Séléka carried out by the French forces left some Muslim communities vulnerable to anti-Balaka retaliatory attacks. There were several incidents in Bangui during which anti-Balaka or hostile mobs targeted and killed recently disarmed ex-Séléka elements and their families."
"Last weekend, at least 41 Palestinian refugees were reported to have died as a result of food and medicine shortages, and all the evidence suggests this account is a low estimate. The numbers continue to grow daily...Yesterday a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) convoy of trucks loaded with desperately-needed food and medicines were fired on by pro-Assad forces, most likely the so-called PFLP-GC, as they tried to enter the camps and were unable to deliver the urgent relief. The PLO says it is still trying to negotiate with 'Syrian officials and [pro-Assad] militants in Palestinian camps in Syria in order to reach a solution and create a safe passage for the entry of relief supplies to Yarmouk.' They are, in effect, begging for the lives of innocent Palestinians suffering a siege that, while significantly smaller in scale, is without doubt much crueler and more arbitrary than anything imposed on Gaza by either Israel or Egypt."
Palestinians Dying in Syria From Starvation Human Rights Voices
January 14, 2014
"The PLO will begin drafting an immediate plan for Palestinian membership in international institutions in response to Israeli construction in the West Bank, official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported Monday evening.
The Palestinians...had agreed not to apply for membership in international institutions for a nine-month period in return for a gradual Israeli release of 104 Palestinian prisoners jailed before the signing of the Oslo Accords in September 1993. The fourth and final phase of the prisoner release is scheduled for the end of March.
'The Executive Committee [of the PLO] has called on its political committee to immediately prepare an operative plan implementing the precepts of the UN decision on the membership of the state of Palestine and the benefits of joining international UN organizations and treaties,' read a statement issued following a PLO meeting Monday night in Ramallah..."
Karel Kovanda, former Czech ambassador to the United Nations and former President of the UN Security Council denies the fax from Brig. Gen. Roméo Dallaire warning of the impending Rwandan genocide was "shared with the Security Council." UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has said the opposite, that the fax actually had been shared with the Council. It is confirmed that the United States and France had the fax and they are permanent members of the Council. So here we are - 20 years after the massacre, and UN actors are still trying to deny responsibility by parsing definitions of "the Council."
"The U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday a planned meeting with Iran next week to discuss steps meant to ease concerns over its nuclear program has been pushed back to February 8 at Tehran's request.
The International Atomic Energy Agency did not say why Tehran asked for a delay. But the original date, January 21, is just a day after Iran and big powers are to start implementing an interim deal on curbing Iranian nuclear activity...The IAEA has been tasked with checking that Iran carries out its end of the six-month preliminary accord...In November, Iran and the IAEA struck a cooperation pact, including six initial steps to be taken by Tehran over the following three months, entailing access to two nuclear-related facilities and the provision of information...IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor confirmed that the date of the meeting had been changed and that 'this was at Iran's request'."
From PBS Transcript:
INIGO GILMORE: The Artibonite River is in many ways Haiti's life source. For generations, people have come here to bathe. It had always provided a natural and safe source of drinking water, too -- that is, until it was poisoned with cholera, just over three years ago. People around here started dying.
WOMAN (through interpreter): This is where we take water to wash our clothes, to shower, to drink. And the U.N. is up there dumping their bathroom waste into the water. We got infected from the water.
INIGO GILMORE: Soldiers stationed at this United Nations base perched by the river in the town of Mirebalais were accused of being the source of the cholera outbreak.
In October 2010, it was alleged that dark liquid from an overflowing septic tank was spewing from the base into the river.
WOMAN (through interpreter): My daughter got cholera when she was 2 years old, and, recently, she got sick again. She spent three days in hospital. She was much bigger than this. She's lost a lot of weight.
INIGO GILMORE: Three years on, there's been nearly 700,000 cholera cases. Now this insidious disease is growing more deadly.
MAN (through interpreter): The United Nations must be held accountable. We lost a lot. They should compensate us and they should do it right away.
"The U.N. nuclear watchdog's increased access in Iran to monitor a landmark agreement with world powers still falls short of what it says it needs to investigate suspicions that Tehran may have worked on designing an atomic bomb... The IAEA suspects that Iran has carried out explosives tests relevant for nuclear bomb development at the facility southeast of Tehran, possibly a decade ago. Iran denies this and has so far refused to open it up for the inspectors. The watchdog also wants to see other locations, interview officials and study relevant documents for its inquiry into what it calls the "possible military dimensions" to Iran's nuclear program... A Western diplomat who closely tracks Iran developments but is not from one of the six powers - known as P5+1 as they group the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany -said the Geneva agreement 'almost totally neglects' this issue. 'Do we take the P5+1's relative silence on PMD as sign that it will only get lip service now and that the past is the past?' the envoy said."
January 13, 2014
"UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said that Iran has been invited to Syria's peace conference dubbed Geneva 2, the Russian media reported. The US, Russia and the UN discussed Iran's participation in the conference in a meeting, and following the meeting Brahimi said an invitation has been sent to Tehran to take part in the gathering in the Swiss town of Montreux, RT reported. 'Iran's participation or non-participation is not a matter of ideology, it is a matter of common sense,' the envoy said. Kerry said that the US supports Iran's participation in the conference, but insists that Tehran should endorse the peace roadmap agreed to during the previous Syria peace conference in Geneva."