Resources updated between Monday, November 10, 2014 and Sunday, November 16, 2014
November 16, 2014
"The U.N. secretary-general is the world's chief diplomat, but most of the world doesn't get much say in who gets the nod. In the end, it's the U.N. Security Council's five permanent veto-wielding powers (the P5) -- Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States -- that decide.
"With elections still nearly a year and a half off, eager hopefuls have begun positioning themselves to succeed Ban Ki-moon as the U.N.'s secretary-general, a job high on prestige but low on real power. At this stage there is no clear front-runner. But diplomats say the candidates include a Lithuanian president, a pair of former prime ministers from Australia and New Zealand, and presidents and foreign ministers from several Latin American countries. They are facing mounting calls from a coalition of governments and advocacy groups to make their case to the wider world through public debates and addresses to the U.N. General Assembly in addition to their back-channel talks with the United States and other major powers.
"'The secretary-general is not only the secretary-general of the P5 or of the Security Council -- it's the secretary-general of all of us,' Switzerland's ambassador to the United Nations, Paul Seger, said in an interview. The rest of the U.N. membership, he said, should 'at least have a viewpoint, or give an indication, or even make recommendations to the Security Council about who could be a good candidate.'
"For now, at least, the race for the premier diplomatic job is playing out discreetly in midtown Manhattan coffee bars, diplomatic missions, and foreign-policy conference halls. Only a handful of the candidates' governments have publicly announced their candidates' plans to campaign. Those who let on publicly that they are pursuing the job run the risk of exposing themselves to an early elimination. 'None of us would be prepared to say publicly, "Yes, we're running,' because there is a risk that if you get exposed too early, everybody will shoot at you"' said one well-known candidate -- who spoke on condition of anonymity. 'But we have been running into each other at airports and speaking at the same conferences...'"
November 15, 2014
"Three Hong Kong student leaders were stopped from boarding a flight to Beijing on Saturday to take their fight for greater democracy directly to the Chinese government after airline authorities said their travel permits were invalid.
"The students, led by Hong Kong Federation of Students' leader Alex Chow, had planned to go to Beijing with the intention of meeting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as efforts to reach agreement with officials in Hong Kong had failed.
"A Cathay Pacific spokesman told local media that Chinese authorities had told the airline the students' travel permits were invalid. He did not elaborate, though the representative of a student body did comment.
"'Cathay has confirmed that their (students') return home card has been canceled by the mainland authorities, so they could not get the required certificates to get on to the plane,' Yvonne Leung, the representative of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, told reporters.
"The student leaders left the airport shortly after..."
November 14, 2014
In September 2014, the UN top human rights body Human Rights Council, was supposed to appoint new independent expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, after previous expert, Mashood Baderin, resigned due to Sudan's non-cooperation. But Sudan objected to the choice of a candidate, and the Council responded by picking a Sudan-approved "investigator" instead.
Edward Thomas from Ireland was recommended to replace Baderin as Independent Expert on Sudan by the UN Human Rights Council's own cross-regional consultative group and the Council President. Normally, their recommendation is subsequently rubber-stamped by the Council itself.
But on September 25, Sudan formally sent a letter to the Human Rights Council President objecting to the choice of Edward Thomas from Ireland to replace Baderin as Independent Expert.
The Council President Baudelaire Ndong Ella of Gabon (a member of the Islamic bloc) responded to Sudan's objection by effectively giving the country a veto.
November 13, 2014
"The occupied Syrian Golan", UN General Assembly Fourth Committee draft resolution
"Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem", UN General Assembly Fourth Committee draft resolution
Draft was adopted on November 13, 2014 with 155 votes in favor, 8 against, and 11 abstentions.
"Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the OPT", UN General Assembly Fourth Committee draft resolution Development
"Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including, East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan", UN General Assembly Fourth Committee draft resolution
Draft was adopted on November 13, 2014 with 157 votes in favor, 7 against, and 11 abstentions
"Israeli settlements in the OPT, including, East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan", UN General Assembly Fourth Committee draft resolution Development
"Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the OPT", UN General Assembly Fourth Committee draft resolution
Draft was adopted on November 13, 2014 with 160 votes in favor, 7 against, and 9 abstentions
"Applicability of the Geneva Convention to the OPT", UN General Assembly Fourth Committee draft resolution Development
"Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories", UN General Assembly Fourth Committee draft resolution
Draft was adopted on November 13, 2014 with 90 votes in favor, 9 against, and 75 abstentions.
"Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices", UN General Assembly Fourth Committee draft resolution Development
"Palestine refugees' properties and their revenues", UN General Assembly Fourth Committee draft resolution
Draft was adopted on November 13, 2014 with 165 votes in favor, 7 against, and 4 abstentions
"Palestine refugees' properties and their revenues", UN General Assembly Fourth Committee draft resolution Development
"Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East", UN General Assembly Fourth Committee draft resolution
Draft was adopted on November 13, 2014 with 164 votes in favor, 6 against, and 4 abstentions
"Operations of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East", UN General Assembly Fourth Committee draft resolution Development
"Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities", UN General Assembly Fourth Committee draft resolution
Draft was adopted on November 13, 2014 with 161 votes in favor, 7 against, and 4 abstentions
"Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities", UN General Assembly Fourth Committee draft resolution Development
"The United States is deeply concerned by allegations of mass rape by Sudanese military forces in Tabit, North Darfur. While we take note that the Government of Sudan recently allowed access to the United Nations/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to investigate these allegations, we regret the fact that initial access was denied, and after significant delays, access to potential witnesses and victims was only allowed under close observation of Sudanese security officials. Such behavior calls into question Sudan's compliance with the Security Council's call to 'remove all obstacles to UNAMID's full and proper discharge of its mandate including securing freedom of movement in conflict affected areas.'"
UN LEGAL HIT SQUAD POINTED AT ISRAEL, HEADED BY WILLIAM SCHABAS, REFUSED ENTRY INTO ISRAEL
"The three members of William Schabas' UN team, mandated to investigate Israel for daring to defend itself against Hamas terrorism this past summer have not been allowed into Israel. Their entry visas have been denied, and they are currently sitting on their thumbs in Jordan since the beginning of the week.
Furthermore, Israel has declared it will not cooperate with their openly hostile UN investigation against Israel.
Israel's Foreign Ministry officials believe the conclusions of the report have already been decided.
Schabas's investigative committee is being likened to its predecessor, the Goldstone report, which resulted in such a skewed, factually incorrect, and anti-Israel report that even Richard Goldstone, the fact-finding mission's head eventually renounced it, and admitted the "original mandate [for the investigation] adopted by the Human Rights Council... was skewed against Israel"."
November 12, 2014
"The villagers of Tabit are shocked after Unamid concluded that it had not found "any evidence or information" about the reported mass rape on Monday. The UN-AU peacekeeping mission visited the village, accompanied by government officials, six days after a verification patrol was denied access to investigate the mass rape of many women and girls in Tabit...
Radio Dabanga last week recorded testimonies of several victims and two local leaders. They confirmed that government forces raped around 200 women and girls on Friday 31 October, when the soldiers were looking for a comrade who had gone missing in the area. They suspected the local population for being responsible for his disappearance."
"UNRWA has yet to make good on its promise to investigate how rockets could have been stored at its schools in Gaza...about 20 rockets were discovered "hidden in a vacant school" in Gaza on July 17...
Less than a week later, on July 22, rockets were again found at a vacant UNRWA school in the coastal enclave...Another week later, on July 29, a third cache of rockets was discovered at an UNRWA school in central Gaza...
[UNRWA spokesperson] Gunness has been refusing to respond to Times of Israel queries regarding the matter, specifically about the makeup of the inquiry UNRWA promised to establish. Asked several times who is conducting the investigation and whether UNRWA intends on publishing the results, he simply referred to the agency's website, which provides no information whatsoever on the promised probe.
After this reporter turned to other UNRWA officials in the search for information about the inquiry, Gunness instructed all other UNRWA and UN spokespersons to ignore these queries and refer them to him."
"When 12-year old Mahna Samandari died in October, her family arranged for her to be buried in Tabriz, where the family lived. But because Samandari was Baha'i, the authorities in the East Azerbaijan capital rejected the grieving family's burial requests on the grounds of her religion. After 21 days, her body remains in the city morgue and the family's requests for Mahna Samandari to be granted a proper burial continue to be ignored..."
Baha'i Girl Denied Burial By Iran Document
"Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi said Tuesday that Iran's human rights situation has not improved despite President Hassan Rouhani's promises of change. She urged the UN General Assembly to approve a resolution criticizing the country's abuses.
"In an interview with the Associated Press, Ebadi said Iran's rights record remains as bad as it was under hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - and in some cases, it is worse.
"She said the difference is that Ahmadinejad supported severe limitations on human rights while Rouhani has vowed to ease restrictions on freedom of expression and eliminate discrimination against women and minorities.
"But Rouhani 'can't do much' amid stiff resistance from hard-liners in the government, Ebadi said.
"'This is why many journalists, many well-known feminists, many students and many members of civil society are in prison now,' she said. She also pointed to an increase in executions, averaging three a day. While some are criminals, she said, a number are political prisoners and prisoners of conscience..."
The UN has just appointed yet another anti-Israel panel, this time to investigate alleged Israeli strikes on UN premises during the 2014 Gaza war.
On November 10, 2014 the UN Secretary-General announced the establishment of "an internal and independent United Nations Headquarters Board of Inquiry into certain incidents that occurred in the Gaza Strip between 8 July and 26 August 2014" that "will review and investigate a number of specific incidents in which death or injuries occurred at, and/or damage was done to United Nations premises."
The Board is also charged with "investigating incidents in which weapons were found to be present on United Nations premises." The "UN premises" are the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools where rockets were found on 3 occasions last summer. At least once, the weapons were returned to the owner and would-be user of the weapons, Hamas.
Throughout the war, UNRWA never condemned Hamas' firing rockets from in and around its facilities, or any other locations such as residential areas, hospital parking lots, and hotels. On the contrary, on one occasion UNRWA went so far as to accuse Israel of targeting civilians sheltering in a school when in fact those deaths were caused by a Hamas rocket that fell short of its Israeli target. And on another occasion UNRWA accused Israel of targeting a shelter and civilians when in reality terrorists outside the facility were hit and civilian bodies possibly planted at the scene.
In addition, in the midst of the war UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness encouraged reporters to interview a professor with a history of supporting terror attacks against Jewish civilians. In July 2014 Gunness tweeted:
November 11, 2014
"Iran has refused five times to let a U.N. atomic agency official, believed to be an American bomb expert, into the country as part of a team investigating its disputed nuclear activities, diplomats said...
The IAEA said Iran did not issue a visa for one member of the U.N. agency's team visiting Tehran last month, adding it was the fourth time this individual had been denied access. It did not specify the time period for the previous refusals.
In addition, diplomatic sources said the same person was not able to travel to the Iranian capital for another IAEA trip on Nov. 2 to press for progress in the investigation.
The IAEA did not identify the individual or reveal his or her nationality. Diplomats last month said they believed he was a U.S. national and an atomic arms expert."
November 10, 2014
"Boko Haram were suspected of killing nearly 50 pupils Monday in a suicide bombing in northeast Nigeria, in one of the worst attacks against schools teaching a so-called Western curriculum.
"The explosion at the all-boys school in Potiskum is the latest in a series of atrocities against schoolchildren in the state of Yobe, and the second suicide attack in the town in eight days.
"The massacre came just a day after the release of a new Boko Haram video in which the group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, again rejected Nigerian government claims of a ceasefire and peace talks.
"Students at the Government Comprehensive Senior Science Secondary School in Potiskum were waiting to hear the principal's daily address when the explosion happened at 7:50 am (0650 GMT).
"'There was an explosion detonated by a suicide bomber. We have 47 dead and 79 injured,' national police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu said, adding that Boko Haram was believed responsible.