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Resources updated between Monday, December 11, 2006 and Sunday, December 17, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

The only immediate question to be asked after UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan vented his spleen upon leaving office is: Do Americans, and the Bush administration, finally get it? After all, this White House was directly responsible for keeping Kofi Annan in office after the gigantic Oil-for-Food scandal could easily have taken him down. It was similarly responsible for allowing Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - the other high-ranking U.N. official fighting vociferously against sanctions on Iran - a third term. What will it take for this administration to recognize the U.N. has become the enemy of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law? And every minute wasted there pretending the Security Council is serious about stopping the gravest threat to humankind today - an Iranian nuclear weapon - takes us a step closer to the permanent destruction of our way of life.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Kofi Annan, 3 September 2006
It didn't take much for Kofi Annan to come clean - and with the huge infusion of cash expected soon from George Soros into Annan's new institute, he is just warming up. "No nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over all others," said Annan. Is that what America is all about? The apologists for demagogues and despots are fond of crying "international democracy," when anybody with a calculator can figure out that leaves real democracies in the minority. For Kofi Annan, one of the greatest fakes of our age, it's all about "giving the poor and the weak some influence over the actions of the rich and the strong." No mention of the tyrants and murderers ensuring the poor and the weak squirming beneath them are forever human pawns in this feigned interest in their welfare, or the genocidal demagogues also seeking "some influence" in the name of development by way of their friends at the U.N.

For the likes of Kofi Annan, "The [Security] council is not a stage for acting out national interests. It is the management committee of our fledgling global security system." What rot. The U.N. was supposed to be about the victory of human dignity over fear and want. If only those countries firmly rooted in the supremacy of freedom and the rule of law could see such "national interests" realized through the Security Council! As it is, the so-called "global security system" is not only "fledgling," it's a one-way ticket to nuclear war.

Kofi Annan will forever be remembered as the secretary-general who presided over the biggest and most insidious hijacking of the global agenda which has ever occurred. With the defeat of Communism, there was a chance that the U.N. could come to be not the tool for developed to triumph over developing, - but the instrument that permitted democratization and the protection of human rights to step out from behind the shadows as the sine qua non of progress in our time. Instead, over a decade with Kofi Annan at the helm, the U.N. has become an instrument of terror. A place which has no definition of terrorism because the terrorists and their allies run it, while democracies pay the bill.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezollah terrorist leader, and Kofi Annan, 20 June 2000
No one "reform" orchestrated by Kofi Annan makes the legacy of his reign of terror clearer than his new Human Rights Council. Eleanor Roosevelt - the first chair of the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the U.N.'s central human-rights agency - would have been the first to walk out the front door and never look back. The Commission, recently headed by Libya, was terminated this year to make room for the Council. In only six months of operation it has had an equal number of "special" sessions on Israel alone as "regular" sessions on all the rest of the world combined. It has spent more time during its regular sessions on Israel than the other 191 U.N. states put together. It has adopted seven resolutions denouncing Israel, given one mild nod in the direction of Sudan - and nothing on the billions denied any semblance of dignity in China, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, or anywhere else. And now that the takeover of the Council by the Organization of the Islamic Conference is complete, it is clear it will never specifically condemn these human-rights violators. On Friday, December 8, 2006 the Council decided to hold another Durban Racism Conference in 2009; Durban was the hate-filled global meeting that ended only two days before 9/11.

So the question remains: Do we get it yet? Do we understand that Kofi Annan was given a decade to assemble a weapon pointed at our head? Will the $5.3 billion the American taxpayer sends the U.N. annually finally be channeled to a new institution of democracies, by democracies, and for democracies? Or will Kofi Annan (and his cohort Ahmadinejad who Annan has urged us "not to isolate") literally have the last laugh?

This article originally appeared in the National Review Online.

Annan's Legacy Article

Thursday, December 14, 2006

www.EYEontheUN.org ALERT
EXPOSÉ ON THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL AND SUDAN


Rebecca Tobin reporting from Geneva
Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The government of Sudan is committing grave violations of human rights against the citizens of Darfur as well documented by the media, non-governmental organizations on the ground and various UN agencies. Rape is widespread, hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions displaced. The government of Sudan has instigated and supported these atrocities. And yet at today's conclusion of the Human Rights Council's fourth special session, convened on Darfur, a decision was adopted that failed to condemn Sudan for a single act. The one positive element – a mission to assess the situation and report back to the Council – has been designed to leave precariously little hope for achieving its mission objectively.

BACKGROUND

Not until six months after it began, at the end of its fourth session (and second regular session) did the Human Rights Council first take action on Darfur. On November 28th the European Union (EU) and the African regional group failed to reach an agreement on a resolution on Darfur. The EU wanted to emphasize "the primary obligation of the Government of Sudan to protect all individuals against violations, including sexual and other forms of gender-based violence and the use of child soldiers" while the African group wanted to give Sudan more "financial and technical assistance". The matter was called to a vote, and the EU lost. As a result of the adoption of the weak African group text on Sudan, the Human Rights Council began facing increasing skepticism that perhaps the Council was unable to act on the world's worst human rights crisis today. In response, the EU, Canada and others requested a special session on the situation in Darfur. Instead of opposing such a request, the skilled African ambassadors chose to join the request for a special session–-knowing that they could control the outcome of the session if they appeared to go along with it. The special session was called with the support of 35 of 47 member states.

THE TEXT WEAKENS

During the special session, the EU and the African Group each submitted a resolution to be adopted. The EU was desperate to achieve consensus, and hence proposed a weak text which avoided condemnation of Sudan or references to its abuses; it did, however, include references to the Council's mandate to address "gross and systematic violations," "impunity," and call for the dispatch of an assessment mission to Darfur headed by the UN Special Rapporteur on Sudan. Then the negotiations began. Here are the details of everything the EU gave up in order to reach agreement with the African Group and avoid a vote.

Original EU text Final Text after compromising with the African Group including Sudan
"The Human Rights Council, Recalling that the General Assembly by its resolution 60/351 of 15 March 2006, decided that the Council should address situations of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations, and make recommendations thereon," deleted
"expresses grave concern regarding the seriousness of the human rights and humanitarian situation in Darfur and calls for an immediate end to the ongoing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law..." became: "expresses its concern on the seriousness of the human rights and humanitarian situation in Darfur"
"...for all parties to ensure that there is no impunity" deleted
"Decides to dispatch an urgent assessment mission to Darfur headed by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan..." became: "Decides to dispatch a High-Level Mission to assess the human rights situation in Darfur and the needs of Sudan in this regard, comprising five highly qualified persons, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council following consultation with the members of the Council; as well as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan"


NEGOTIATING WITH SUDAN ON....SUDAN

In order to avoid a vote (that they would lose), the EU allowed the text to get weaker and weaker. What happened? During informal negotiations on the text earlier in the week, Egypt and Pakistan had noted their displeasure with the reference to "gross and systematic violations" since that would allegedly prejudge the assessment mission being sent. The EU capitulated and removed it. Furthermore, in the adopted text the Council no longer expresses "grave concern" for human rights violations – just mere "concern." And despite statements that the decision is intended to help the victims on the ground, the adopted version also lacks a call to end ongoing violations of human rights. The reference to impunity – also gone.

The biggest sticking point during negotiations over the text became the composition of the "assessment mission" that would go to Darfur and report back to the Council at the next regular session. Sudan and its allies pushed hard for a diplomatic mission, made up of the members of the bureau of the Human Rights Council, to assess the situation, and then report back to the Council on what they found. The EU wanted a group of UN experts to assess the situation to improve the likelihood of impartiality. The compromise was deliberately ambiguous – a "High-Level Mission" made up of "five highly qualified persons, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council."

This ambiguously worded compromise text does not solve the problem of whether to fill the mission with ambassadors or experts – but it does ensure that the process of choosing the members of the mission will take place behind closed doors, far from microphones and webcasts, where regional groups will now pressure and lobby the President to respond to the concerns of both groups. And as the President made clear at the end of the session, this "decision places an enormous responsibility upon the presidency and that responsibility is to be exercised in the light of the context in which this agreement was reached bearing in mind the diversity among delegations..." Another compromise is expected. Furthermore, the decision asks the President to "consult as appropriate with the concerned country" – meaning Sudan – on the prompt and efficient fulfillment of the mission's mandate.

Far from taking strong action on Sudan, the members and bureau of the Human Rights Council bent over backwards to accommodate Sudan and its protectors in the African regional group:
    1. Sudan was a negotiating party to the text through the African Group, who advocated for Sudan enthusiastically, thus weakening the decision. (Israel was never consulted on any of the three special session texts condemning it for violations.) Sudan spoke up at both open informal consultations and held its own informal meeting to present its own distorted "facts" on the situation. The Sudanese representative was also offered no time limit in speaking during the actual special session where he argued that 80% of Darfur was stable and "the incidents of violence against women have been exaggerated." Sudanese insistence that only 9,000 people have died in Darfur created the idea, echoed by many in the Council, that to even suggest that there is a human tragedy numbering hundreds of thousands dead is biased.
    2. Sudan was repeatedly thanked for cooperating with UN human rights mechanisms during the debate on the situation in Darfur. The text adopted also states that the Human Rights Council "welcomes the cooperation established by the Government of Sudan with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan..."
    3. States speaking at the Human Rights Council advocated giving Sudan financial and technical assistance to help it promote and protect human rights, as if a lack of money were the problem.

THE TREATMENT OF ISRAEL VS. OTHER STATES AT THE UN

Why would so many countries resist singling out Sudan for condemnation of its crimes? Does the Council view overall "cooperation" with the country concerned as more effective than "naming and shaming"? No – at least not when the target is the Jewish state. Compare the Council's treatment of Israel to its treatment of Sudan.

Original EU text Final Text after compromising with the African Group including Sudan Similar language in Resolution from First Special Session on Israel S-1/1 Similar language in Resolution from Second Special Session on Israel S-2/1 Similar language in Resolution from Third Special Session on Israel S-3/1
"The Human Rights Council, Recalling that the General Assembly by its resolution 60/351 of 15 March 2006, decided that the Council should address situations of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations, and make recommendations thereon," Deleted   Recalling General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006 in which the Assembly decided that the Human Rights Council: (a) Should address situations of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations, and make recommendations thereon; and (b) Shall respond promptly to human rights emergencies  
"expresses grave concern regarding the seriousness of the human rights and humanitarian situation in Darfur and calls for an immediate end to the ongoing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law..." "expresses its concern on the seriousness of the human rights and humanitarian situation in Darfur" Expressing deep concern at the breaches by Israel, the occupying Power, of international humanitarian law and human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory..."

"Expresses grave concern at the violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people caused by the Israeli occupation..."

"Expresses grave concern at the detrimental impact of the current Israeli military operation..."

"Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, end its military operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, abide scrupulously by the provisions of international humanitarian law and human rights law..."
"Condemning Israeli military operations in Lebanon, which constitute gross and systematic human rights violations of the Lebanese people"

"Appalled at the massive violations of the human rights of the people of Lebanon by Israel resulting in the massacre of thousands of civilians..."

"Strongly condemning the indiscriminate and massive Israeli air strikes..."

"Strongly condemns the grave Israeli violations of human rights and breaches of international humanitarian law in Lebanon"

"Condemns the massive bombardment of Lebanese civilian populations..."

"Also condemns the Israeli bombardment of vital civilian infrastructure..."
"Gravely concerned at the continued violation by the occupying Power, Israel, of the human rights of the Palestinian people..."

"Expresses its shock at the horror of Israeli killing of Palestinian civilians ..."

"Condemns the Israeli killing of Palestinian civilians, ..."

"Denounces the Israeli massive destruction of Palestinian homes, property and infrastructure in Beit Hanoun"

"Expresses its alarm at the gross and systematic violations of human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory by the occupying Power, Israel, ..."
"...for all parties to ensure that there is no impunity" Deleted      
"decides to dispatch an urgent assessment mission to Darfur headed by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan..." "Decides to dispatch a High-Level Mission to assess the human rights situation in Darfur and the needs of Sudan in this regard, comprising five highly qualified persons, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council following consultation with the members of the Council; as well as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan" "Decides to dispatch an urgent fact-finding mission headed by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967" "Decides to establish urgently and immediately dispatch a high-level commission of inquiry comprising eminent experts on human rights law and international humanitarian law, and including the possibility of inviting the relevant United Nations special procedures to be nominated to the Commission..." "Decides to dispatch urgently a high-level fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to travel to Beit Hanoun to, inter alia: (a) assess the situation of victims; (b) address the needs of survivors; and (c) make recommendations on ways and means to protect Palestinian civilians against any further Israeli assaults;"


So far three special sessions have been convened on Israel each with urgent and condemnatory language. By comparison, one special session has been called on Darfur that produced a weak resolution with Sudan given a role in planning the details. The EU believed that any consensus resolution would save the Council's credibility, since the Council is obviously incapable of speaking directly and unambiguously against Sudan's brutality. On the contrary, the Council's weakness in the face of genocide is now more glaring. The UN's lead human rights agency condemns Israel repeatedly while tiptoeing around the Sudan. What will the desperate victims of Darfur think of more silence from the UN?

December 13, 2006

December 12, 2006

December 11, 2006