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Resources updated between Monday, October 02, 2006 and Sunday, October 08, 2006

October 6, 2006

Despite the utter failure of the second session of the Human Rights Council to address serious human rights violations such as those in Darfur, the UN press release describes a positive session of inter-active dialogue on the reports presented. It does not describe the content of those serious of dialogues in which country after country declared their desire to end the system of appointing experts to investigate and report on country-specific human rights violations. The Council's second session has been adjourned until November 27 when the 44 draft proposals, and the draft presidential statement, will once again be back on the table for consideration.

Human Rights Council Adjourns Second Session until 27 November (Press Release) Development

Luis Alfonso de Alba

Under pressure from the European Union to add more "balanced" language on Israel to the draft statement of the President of the Human Rights Council, the President included a paragraph urging all sides to refrain from violence against civilians. Still no mention of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iranian paymasters, Syrian support, or their Israeli victims. Still no acknowledgement as to who started the war with Lebanon. Still no mention of the Jewish victims of the recent war. The statement did not find consensus and when time ran out had not been adopted by the Human Rights Council. One of the main stumbling blocks was that the Asian regional group was still not satisfied with the text.

Revised Draft Statement of the President of the Human Rights Council Development

It became clear towards the end of the second session of the Human Rights Council that it would be difficult, though not impossible, to act on the many (often overlapping or competing) draft resolutions that had been tabled in the allotted time. The President's preference was to present one statement on the most important human rights issues that could be adopted by consensus. The four chosen topics were Israel, Sudan, defamation of religions and the right to development. The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)'s price for including - at the EU's insistence - weak condemnation of human rights violations in Darfur? Three paragraphs condemning only Israel. So while the statement could not condemn Sudan outright for human rights violations - let alone genocide - the presidential draft said human rights violations in the territories was "mainly caused" by Israel. No mention of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iranian or Syrian sponsors, or their Israeli victims.

Original Draft Statement of the President of the Human Rights Council Development

The only resolution that the UN Human Rights Council managed to adopt during its second session deals just with procedural issues. Any suggestion of endorsing country-specific mandates - the jobs addressing human rights in actual states - were flatly rejected by the majority of Council members, including Cuba, Algeria and their allies. Instead, a footnote was actually inserted that was intended to preserve their objection should anybody try interpreting anything as allowing country-specific criticism.

Resolution on Reports and Studies of Mechanisms and Mandates from the second session of the Human Rights Council Development

U.N. Redeemed Article

October 5, 2006

Masood Khan

The Pakistani ambassador, speaking on behalf of the OIC at the UN Human Rights Council, criticizes the report of four Special Rapporteurs for being "accusatory towards Hezbollah."

Statement of the Organization of the Islamic Conference on the Joint report of the 4 Special Rapporteurs and report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food on their mission to Lebanon and Israel Development

Jean Ziegler

Kofi Annan referred to Israel's hitting four UN peacekeepers as a "deliberate" attack in the middle of the Hezbollah/Iran-sponsored war this past summer. UN Rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, follows suit at the UN Human Rights Council, referring to Israel's "deliberate massacre of civilians" in his oral statement.

Statement of Jean Ziegler, Special Rapporteur on the right to food Development

Philip Alston

Four Special Rapporteurs submitted their report on their mission to Lebanon and Israel to the Council and delivered this statement. Their report was met with shock and dismay by many members of the UN Human Rights Council. Why? Because they dared mention that Hezbollah may be - though not definitely - guilty of war crimes.

Statement of Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on behalf of the four Special Rapporteurs who visited Lebanon and Israel Development

October 4, 2006

Iran's idea of reforming the UN's foremost human rights body: let the members of the Council elect all the "independent" individuals charged with investigating and reporting on human rights situations ("mandate holders"). This way they will be beholden to the very states they are supposed to objectively review. Iran also wishes to abolish country-specific mandates (except in the case of Israel), in order to avoid condemnation on its own human rights abuses.

Statement of Iran on the Progress Report of the Working Group on the implementation of operative paragraph 6 of General Assembly resolution 60/251 Development

In this statement to the Human Rights Council, China, on behalf of the Like-Minded Group, calls country-specific mandates "dysfunctional, unnecessary and controversial" and calls for them to be abolished. In the following paragraph, the Chinese ambassador distinguishes between mandates on Israel, and all other countries. Mandates on the Palestinian territories, and special sessions of the Council devoted to nothing but Israel, that lead to Israel's condemnation are a laudable exception. He notes that "occupation constitutes the worst form of human rights violations." Would the imprisoned Falun Gong members or victims of Darfur genocide agree?

Statement of the Like-Minded Group on the Progress Report of the Working Group on the implementation of operative paragraph 6 of General Assembly resolution 60/251 Development

While objecting to all other country-specific human rights UN investigators, Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC, suggests to the Human Rights Council that the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories continue indefinitely. The OIC also wants to make sure that all thematic special procedures focus on Israel. So much for allowing the Council time to discuss genocide or violations of rights anywhere else in the world.

Statement of the Organization of the Islamic Conference on the Progress Report of the Working Group on the implementation of operative paragraph 6 of General Assembly resolution 60/251 Development

This report, submitted by 4 Special Rapporteurs to the UN Human Rights Council, offers recommendations to Hezbollah directly. The terrorist organization is addressed by asking it to train its fighters in international humanitarian law. It is unclear how Hezbollah should interpret this mixed message from the UN - on the one hand the Security Council calls for it to disarm, on the other hand the Human Rights Council advises it on training its fighters.

Report of four Special Rapporteurs on their mission to Lebanon and Israel Development

Another one-sided draft resolution condemning Israel on the "occupied Syrian Golan," sponsored by Syria - occupier of Lebanon for 29 years.

Draft Resolution submitted by Syria on Human Rights in the Occupied Syrian Golan Development

The European Union's draft resolution on Sudan is only slightly better than that of the African Group in addressing the ongoing genocide. This is the low standard of the Human Rights Council: a group of western democracies at the "reformed" primary human rights body proposes a resolution of assistance to a government guilty of genocide. If they did anything else they would be accused of selectivity and double standards.

Draft Decision submitted by the European Union on Darfur Development

In this draft resolution the African Group at the UN Human Rights Council has presented on Darfur, the Group proposes merely "adequate financial and technical assistance to the Government of Sudan in the promotion and protection of Human Rights." Not only does the African Union exclude mention of Sudan's gross violations of those rights (other than noting it has the responsibility to protect them), it will reward the government with assistance. The text calls on "all parties" to end violations of human rights, failing to name the one side perpetrating the genocide in Darfur.

Draft Decision submitted by the African Group on Darfur Development

Jean Ziegler

Jean Ziegler, the UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, authored a perversely one-sided report on the Lebanon war manufactured to address his mandate about food. Not surprisingly, it was warmly welcomed by every Arab and Muslim country speaking in the Human Rights Council. Ziegler describes the war as between Israel and "the armed forces of the Lebanese political party, Hezbollah." The word "terrorist" appears only in a quote of an Israeli leaflet. The lesson on how to gain Human Rights Council approval is clear: condemn Israel and ignore the true intentions and terrorist means of those who seek to destroy it.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, on his mission to Lebanon Development

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon is now assured the job of UN Secretary-General to replace Kofi Annan January 1, 2007. Although a sense of his priorities is hard to come by seeming to be all things to all people being the apparent ticket to success - the New York Times reports on October 3rd that "Mr. Ban has said he will devote particular attention to efforts to broker a settlement in the Middle East."

If true, Ban is headed to play the same role as apologist for terrorism, while avoiding the genocides of our time, which was Kofi Annan's trademark.

The UN is not equipped to broker a settlement in the Middle East because long ago it took sides. The calculation was simple: Israel votes at the UN "1" (or occasionally "4" if you add in the United States, Australia, and Micronesia) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference "56" (or "132 plus" when you add the knee-jerk anti-American and anti-democratic reaction of most developing nations).

Pandering to the majority at the UN has also meant unquestioned allegiance to the party line one which provides no hope for producing a settlement but instead prolongs it. In UN circles, Israel's "occupation" is the root cause of both the Arab-Israeli conflict and the major threats to world peace today. At the UN hate, and the terrorism it spawns, have justifications. According to the current Secretary-General and the men and women around him, the underlying pathos of the Middle East conflict is not rejection of Jewish self-determination, anti-semitism, and violent ideological and territorial ambition. On the contrary, Israel is the "great poison of the Middle East," in the words of Annan's close associate and former high-ranking UN official Lakhdar Brahimi.

Is Ban set to adopt the UN majority's strategy for diverting attention from the lack of democracy in their own backyards and removing the Sudans of the world from center stage? Will Ban leave Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown who specializes in periodic bouts of America-bashing (courtesy of the American taxpayer) in place? We'll know soon enough for the UN majority can be counted upon to push hard immediately. And a Bush administration incapable of confirming its UN Ambassador while controlling both Houses of Congress, and still driving its Iran policy from the back seat of the Security Council, does not seem poised to push back.

Anne Bayefsky

South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon is now assured the job of UN Secretary-General to replace Kofi Annan January 1, 2007. Although a sense of his priorities is hard to come by seeming to be all things to all people being the apparent ticket to success - the New York Times reports on October 3rd that "Mr. Ban has said he will devote particular attention to efforts to broker a settlement in the Middle East."

If true, Ban is headed to play the same role as apologist for terrorism, while avoiding the genocides of our time, which was Kofi Annan's trademark.

A message to the new UN Secretary General to be Editor's Note

Egypt, a country that recently aired the notorious anti-semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, on state-run television, and Iran which regularly persecutes its Bahai citizens are both among the group of co-sponsors of this UN draft resolution on the "Incitement to racial and religious hatred and the promotion of tolerance."

Draft Decision on Incitement to racial and religious hatred and the promotion of tolerance Development

Rather than staffing the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with qualified experts, Cuba proposes in this draft resolution to make sure that the office is geographically representative to avoid cultural bias. Cuba's bias against neutral qualifications is clear: "recruitment of P-2 posts in the Office would not be restricted to successful National Competitive Examination (NCE) candidates."

Draft Decision on the Composition of the Staff of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Development

Algeria, speaking on behalf of the African Group, tells the Human Rights Council that the "level of development" should be considered during the universal periodic review (UPR) mechanism, attempting to find another way around real equal treatment - when it comes to insisting on democratic or civil and political rights - from all nations large and small.

Statement of the African Group on the Progress Report of the Working Group on Universal Periodic Review Development

Malaysia tells the Human Rights Council that the universal periodic review (UPR) mechanism must "take full account of the religious, historical, cultural specificities as well as the laws of the country concerned" giving repressive states four potential exemption clauses come review time.

Statement of Malaysia on the Progress Report of the Working Group on Universal Periodic Review Development

Masood Khan

Every time the word "double-standards" is trotted out by Islamic states complaining that Israel isn't villified enough, here is what is really going on at the UN. Pakistan, speaking for the Organization of the Islamic Conference, has now proposed at the "reformed" UN Human Rights Council that least developed countries would be subject to the universal periodic review mechanism once every seven years for three hours.

Statement of the Organization of the Islamic Conference on the Progress Report of the Working Group on Universal Periodic Review Development

The new so-called universal periodic review (UPR) mechanism of the UN's "reformed" Human Rights Council has been touted as issuing in a new era in which the human rights record of all countries will be taken seriously by the UN. Here's evidence that it is slated to become another means for abusers to avoid criticism. Saudi Arabia, speaking on behalf of the Asian group, tells the Human Rights Council that the UPR mechanism should not be "overly burdensome" or "adversarial" and there should be "equal treatment" for all states. Translation: rights-abusing states should be treated "equally" to rights-respecting democracies.

Statement of the Asian Group on the Progress Report of the Working Group on Universal Periodic Review Development

Like Sudan and other repressive regimes, North Korea finds the Human Rights Council to be a good podium for excoriating Israel while railing against any country-specific mandates that might criticize North Korea for human rights abuse.

Statement of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on the Report of the Special Rapporteur John Dugard on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian territory Development

Another example of the successful "divert attention by talking about Israel" syndrome at the UN. Sudan - a country currently committing genocide against its own citizens in Darfur - accuses Israel of war crimes at the Human Rights Council.

Statement of Sudan on the Report of the Special Rapporteur John Dugard on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian territory Development

Encouraging financial support for terrorism at the UN's primary human rights body: Iran, the primary funder of Hezbollah's recent war against Israel, complains to the Human Rights Council about the West's withholding of funds from Hamas.

Statement of Iran on the Report of the Special Rapporteur John Dugard on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian territory Development

Senegal tells the primary UN human rights body - the Human Rights Council - to convene a third special session condemning Israel for human rights violations, instead of a first one for the victims of Darfur.

Statement of Senegal on the Report of the Special Rapporteur John Dugard on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian territory Development

Paragon of human rights - Saudi Arabia - uses the UN human rights body to point a finger at "Israeli intransigence."

Statement of Saudi Arabia on the Report of the Special Rapporteur John Dugard on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian territory Development

Speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, Bahrain tells the UN Human Rights Council, Israelis kill civilians in a vacuum; no context and no reason for war is worth mentioning.

Statement of the Arab Group on the Report of the Special Rapporteur John Dugard on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian territory Development

Pakistani Ambassador, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference discusses Gaza without mentioning "terrorism."

Statement of the Organization of the Islamic Conference on the Report of the Special Rapporteur John Dugard on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian territory Development

Algeria, speaking on behalf of the African Group, uses the UN human rights system to announce that terrorism directed at Israelis is the fulfillment of a "duty": "...it would seem to my delegation that the original terrorism is the occupation. Without this occupation there would not have been resistance, and this resistance is indeed a duty and not an act of terrorism. It is the duty of every occupied nation..."

Statement of the African Group on the Report of the Special Rapporteur John Dugard on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian territory Development

Syria, a dictatorship which occupied Lebanon for 29 years and continues to support Hezbollah, asks how long Israel will remain above the law.

Statement of Syria on the Report of the Special Rapporteur John Dugard on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian territory Development

The Palestinian UN representative openly using the UN human rights system to justify killing and terrorizing Israeli civilians with Qassam rockets - the justification? -- they are hand-made.

Statement of the Palestinian observer on the Report of the Special Rapporteur John Dugard on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian territory Development

John Dugard

John Dugard - chief UN apologist for terrorism - laments the arrest of Hamas members before the UN Human Rights Council (which empowers him). Omitted from his lamentation is any mention of the rockets launched at Israelis from the territory under the authority of the Hamas-led government.

Statement of John Dugard, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 Development

October 2, 2006

Note what the UN press report did not say - anything about what Israel was shooting at! As far as the UN is concerned, this was a one-sided war in a complete vacuum....Notwithstanding this is belied by the report days earlier - of one of the four UNIFIL officers who was killed - that Hezbollah was shooting at Israel from nearby.

Secretary-General Receives Report on Attack that Killed Observers at Khiam, Lebanon (Press Release) Development