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Resources updated between Monday, January 06, 2014 and Sunday, January 12, 2014

January 12, 2014

Evidence-tampering by a UN OIOS top official exposed

"Two whistle-blowers exposed evidence-tampering by a top official within the U.N. office that is supposed to investigate corruption in the world body's operations and suffered retaliation for it, a U.N. judge has ruled.
The ruling and other recent opinions by the U.N. Dispute Tribunal show the world body still struggles to hold itself accountable...
Despite U.N. efforts to keep their case from public view, the two whistle-blowing investigators from OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Service] won a public hearing in October...
[T]he United Nations in 2006 established a special anti-corruption unit, the Procurement Task Force, that uncovered at least 20 major schemes affecting more than $1 billion in U.N. contracts and international aid. But at the beginning of 2009, the U.N. closed the agency and diverted its work to the OIOS Investigations Division.
In a ruling last month, Judge Goolam Meeran said the Investigation Division's deputy director, Michael Dudley, 'admitted to altering and withholding evidence' in an investigation and had retaliated against the investigators assigned to the case, Florin Postica and Ai Loan Nguyen-Kropp.
The judge awarded Postica and Nguyen-Kropp $40,000 each for moral damages...and $10,000 for legal costs, but the ruling doesn't require OIOS to punish Dudley.
The case originated from a complaint Dudley took from a U.N. staff member in January 2009 that U.N. physicians were using or improperly prescribing controlled narcotics."

U.N. Corruption Whistle-Blowers Win Case Article

Roger Jean-Claude Mbede

"A gay man in Cameroon who was jailed for sending a text message to another man saying 'I'm very much in love with you,' and who was later declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, has died, according to a lawyer who worked on his case.
Roger Jean-Claude Mbede, 34, died on Friday after his family removed him from the hospital where he had been seeking treatment for a hernia, lawyer Alice Nkom said. 'His family said he was a curse for them and that we should let him die,' she said...
Cameroon brings more cases against suspected homosexuals than any other African country...Mbede developed the hernia while in prison...
Cameroonian officials have been unapologetic about their enforcement of the anti-gay law...Appearing before the [UN Human Rights] council in September 2013, Anatole Nkou, Cameroon's ambassador to Geneva, testified that a prominent gay rights activist found tortured and killed last year died because of his 'personal life'..."

Gay 'prisoner of conscience' Roger Jean-Claude Mbede dies at age 34 in Cameroon Human Rights Voices

January 11, 2014

Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur

UN "expert" and professional antisemite Richard Falk has been allowed to serve out his entire 6-year term as the UN's top human rights investigator on Israel. His term expires in 2014, and he is choosing to bring it to a close by declaring exactly what he stands for - and why he was appointed. He rejects the legitimacy of the state of Israel. He supports violence as a legitimate tool of resistance against Israel, he blames Muslim vs. Muslim violence in Syria, and Egypt on Israel, and he refuses to accept a Jewish state period.

The UN "Human Rights" Council appointed Richard Falk and it could have terminated him at any time. Instead, President Obama joined the Council after Falk was appointed, insisted the United States enter a second 3-year term despite the fact that Falk remained in office, and has become one of the Council's leading cheerleaders.

Without any fear of being denied UN credentials despite voicing hatred for Israel across the globe, here is Richard Falk's latest statement- delivered in Doha, Qatar in December, and posted on his own blog on January 10, 2014.

"[T]he UN partition plan...offered in 1947...was reasonably rejected by the Palestinian leadership at the time as well as by the neighboring Arab governments...

[T]he full implementation of the Palestinian right of self-determination would involve a questioning of this colonialist origin of the state of Israel...

Israel...insists on being 'a Jewish state'...[It is] no longer entitled to claim to be 'a democratic state'...

Israel...policies...impose apartheid...ethnic cleansing...

Israel's continuous inflation of security expectations...In effect, the nakba associated with the dispossession and dispersal of Palestinians in 1948 should be regarded as a process and not just a catastrophic event...

...[A]n oppressive order allows the oppressed to use whatever instruments they find useful, including violence...[I]nter-governmental diplomacy is not a pathway to a just peace, but rather a sinkhole for Palestinian rights...Those who insist on special 'security' arrangements usually fear losing what is possessed...[T]his is a time to take stock...a time for the renewal of struggle...

Israel has used its hard power dominance and diplomatic skills to encourage fragmentation and to impart a disabling sense of utter vulnerability to any Leadership in the region that dares challenge or threaten Israel. Iran has been the principal target of this Israeli projection of a tendency to punish disproportionately and violently those that stand in the way or exhibit hostility to the Israeli National Project. Syria is illustrative of the sort of fragmentation that weakens a neighboring country that has been hostile or in a conflictual relationship with Israel. A welcoming of the Egyptian coup that displaced the democratically elected government with an oppressive military leadership is a further disclosure of Israel's conception of its security interests...

[I]n Palestine [there] is a definite move toward the adoption of a Legitimacy War conception of how to interpret the Palestinian National Movement at the present time...It is not in the Palestinian interest to act as if the Oslo Framework or the Roadmap are any longer credible paths to a sustainable and just peace...[A] Legitimacy War against Israel...appears to be the one vision capable of...bring[ing] hope for a brighter Palestinian future."

UN Appointee Richard Falk Still Attacking Israel as His Term Nears End Article

January 9, 2014

UNESCO headquarters, Paris, France

"In December 2013, Senator Mary Landrieu (D., La.) authored a letter asking House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders to let the United States pay dues for UNESCO's World Heritage Program...Weakening funding prohibitions for U.N. organizations that grant membership to the Palestinians - especially when the exemption does not involve U.S. security interests - would invite additional exemptions down the road and signal that the U.S. lacks resolve in opposing Palestinian membership in U.N. organizations prior to reconciliation with Israel."

"Following UNESCO's embrace of the Palestinians, the Obama administration has repeatedly tried to amend the law so that U.S. funds might once again flow to UNESCO. Thus far, Congress has rebuffed those efforts. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen(R., Fla.) and Brad Sherman (D., Calif.) explained their opposition to changing the law by noting that the funding prohibitions are 'vital in successfully derailing attempts...to seek de facto recognition of a Palestinian state from the U.N. via the granting of membership to 'Palestine' in U.N. agencies...A U.N. body that acts so irresponsibly - a U.N. body that admits states that do not exist - renders itself unworthy of U.S. taxpayer dollars...'"

No 'Partial Funding' for UNESCO Article

January 8, 2014

Prisoners hold one guard hostage with a knife

"A gruesome video purporting to show decapitated inmates in a Brazilian prison drew attention to the lawlessness at the nation's correctional facilities. Local daily Folha de S. Paulo on Tuesday published on its website a video it said was recorded on Dec. 17 by inmates at the Pedrinhas prison complex in the northern Brazilian state of Maranhão. The newspaper said a union representing employees of the state penitentiary system sent it the video, in which the heads and bodies of three decapitated inmates are displayed in the prison yard. The newspaper provided no motive for the deaths in the video, which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal...Prison riots, gang disputes and inmate murders are widespread in Brazil, where the vast majority of correctional facilities are run state governments that often struggle to fund them. But Ignacio Cano, a professor who studies violence at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, said last year's roughly 60 prison deaths in Maranhão, which accounts for little more than 3% of Brazil's 200 million-person population, is outsize. 'São Paulo might have more murders, but it also has a huge inmate population,' he said. 'For a small state like Maranhão, 60 in just one year is completely unacceptable.'"

Gory Video Spotlights Chaos at Brazil Prisons Human Rights Voices

There were 2,341 honor killings in Pakistan between 2008 and 2011 and less than 2% of all honor killings were reported.

"Muhammad Aslam, a mason from Pattoki village, located 70 km from provincial capital Lahore, threw acid on his step-daughters Malaika, 19, and Javeria, 23, while they were asleep...Both victims were brought to Jinnah Hospital in Lahore, where doctors described their condition as critical. Police said Aslam often quarreled with his step-daughters on the issue of their marriage. 'He wanted to marry them with men of his choice,' police official Bashir Ahmed said. Aslam had allegedly accepted money from a man in his neighborhood after promising to marry one of the step-daughters to him."

Man in Pakistani Punjab attacks step-daughters with acid Human Rights Voices

January 7, 2014

The Assad regime is refusing to allow aid workers and relief supplies through.

"As the United Nations prepares to convene a mammoth humanitarian aid conference next week in aid of Syrian refugees, U.S. officials say the Assad regime is still refusing to allow aid workers and relief supplies through to many of the suffering -- even as it continues to rain death down upon its civilian population...Despite that, the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) hopes that rich nations will pledge some $6.5 billion for Syrian relief at the U.N. meeting, scheduled to take place in Kuwait on January 15 -- the largest appeal for a single humanitarian crisis in history. The target is more than four times what the U.N. asked for in a similar appeal for Syria in January 2013 -- and that appeal was only 70 percent funded...In 2013, the U.S. gave more than $556 million to Syria's emergency appeal, or roughly 40 percent of the $1.4 billion total. When its previous year's giving is added, the U.S. total is about $1.35 billion -- or nearly as much as the U.N. gleaned from everyone in 2013."

As UN prepares for mammoth Syria aid conference, Assad regime keeps relief from the suffering Article

Muslim Brotherhood moving from street to ICC

Facing a losing street battle, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has decided to take its fight against the military abroad in the form of a "high profile legal action at the International Criminal Court (ICC)." The Brotherhood hopes this desperate ploy will gain them "recognition as defenders of democracy in Egypt." However, Egypt is one of the "few countries in the world that has not ratified the international treaty establishing" ICC. Yet this has not stopped the Brotherhood's legal advisors such as former anti-Israel UN "expert" and terrorist frontman, John Dugard, from arguing that the ICC can "can act even in the absence of treaty ratification if a country's government issues a declaration recognizing the court's jurisdiction over an investigation. The lawyers say officials of the deposed Morsi government have made that declaration and that it should be recognized because it remains the legitimate, democratically elected government. 'We hope, and we have good reason to believe, that the court will take this declaration seriously,' said John Dugard." In other words, they're hoping the law is an ass.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Appeals to World Criminal Court Article

An Indian child bride

Last September the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution "Strengthening efforts to prevent and eliminate child, early and forced marriage". India now offers justification for its refusal to co-sponsor this resolution: "The concept of 'early marriage' is nowhere defined and it is debatable whether early marriages can be 'eliminated'... Consequently, there was need for greater legal clarity for such a term and its usage".
The real reason is nevertheless crystal clear - India's poor record on preventing child marriage, which according to US State Department's Country Report on Human Rights Practices in 2012 includes the following:
"Child abuse and child marriage were problems...The law does not characterize a marriage between a girl below age 18 and a boy below age 21 as 'illegal'... UNICEF's State of the World's Children 2012 report stated that 43 percent of women were married before age 18. On August 8, the MWCD [Ministry of Women and Child Development] informed parliament that there were 113 incidents of child marriage reported in 2011; however, it noted that sample surveys on health indicators suggested the 'prevalence of child marriages which are not registered.'"

Lack of clarity on 'early marriage' cause for India not sponsoring UN child marriage resolution Article

Over 100,000 killed in civil war, but UN OHCHR cites inability to verify ‘source material’ from others.

The UN has decided it is too much trouble to count the number of Syrian dead. It is stopping at 100,000 from last July. NGOs in Syria put the death toll at least 30,000 higher than the UN will now admit. Apparently, for the UN,'don't know' is good enough.

"The UN's human rights office has stopped updating the death toll from Syria's civil war, confirming Tuesday that it can no longer verify the sources of information that led to its last count of at least 100,000 in late July. Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, blamed the failure to provide new figures on the organization's own lack of access on the ground in Syria and its inability to verify 'source material' from others...Colville said the UN could not endorse anyone else's count, including the widely quoted figures from the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, whose latest tally is more than 130,000 killed in violence in Syria since March 2011."

UN stops updating Syria death toll Article

Spozhmai, believed to be 8 to 10 years old, was going be used by the Taliban as a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.

"The child, believed to be the 8- to 10-year-old sister of a Taliban commander, was instructed to carry out a suicide attack on border police in Helmand province on Monday but her cries gave her away, according to various reports...Her death sentence came after being accused by her father and brothers of having "illicit relations" with officers, Pajhwok Afghan News reported. She was consequently forced to put on the vest and cross a river to get to her target, but because of the cold she started to cry...The child has requested not to be returned to her family, fearing repercussions."

Afghan girl wearing suicide bomber's vest detained after family ordered her to carry out attack Human Rights Voices

January 6, 2014

Mahnaz Parakand

Prominent Iranian human rights activist, Mahnaz Parakand, is exposing Iran's "Citizenship Rights Charter" as "a propaganda tool." Parakand says it is "mostly to show off internationally. I don't believe it was written for inside Iran, but for outside Iran to show that this government is going to pay attention to the situation of human rights in Iran." Parakand notes: "Article 38 of the Constitution prohibits torture, yet torturing suspects is a routine procedure by the Investigative Unit of Iranian Police." "We have laws, they are just not enforced."

Rights Lawyer Says Iran Needs Existing Laws Enforced, not a New Charter Article

Central African Republic school children take refuge.

On December 30, 2013 UNICEF warned that escalating violence in the Central African Republic is posing a serious threat to children: "Attacks against children have sunk to a vicious new low... with at least two children beheaded, and one of them mutilated".

What UNICEF failed to mention: last year the Central African Republic joined UNICEF's governing body, its Executive Board, for a 3-year term.

UNICEF is mandated by the UN General Assembly "to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs, to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential and to ensure special protection for the most disadvantaged children - victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty, all forms of violence and exploitation."

And yet CAR's record on children's rights according to US State Department's Country Report on Human Rights Practices in 2012 includes:

  • Armed groups included soldiers as young as 12
  • Child abuse and neglect were widespread
  • Child labor was widespread
  • Girls did not have equal access to primary education
  • HIV/AIDS and a belief in sorcery, particularly in rural areas, contributed to the large number of street children
  • Children accused of sorcery frequently were expelled from their households.

Central African Republic on UNICEF Board Despite Violence Against Children UN Authority Figures