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Resources updated between Monday, March 20, 2006 and Sunday, March 26, 2006

March 24, 2006

Tom Lantos

When members of Congress visit the UN to discuss the state of UN reform it would be helpful if they got the facts straight. This article states: "For the first time, membership in a U.N. body will require meeting specific criteria." This is not correct. There is not a single specific criterion that is required for membership in the Council. The article states: "The U.S., working with our allies, can challenge each and every bogus council candidate and block them by recruiting sufficient support." This is not correct. The U.S. and its allies cannot block every bogus council candidate. It is 100% certain that China and Cuba will be elected. The likelihood of other bogus human rights candidates being elected is also assured - the only issue is how many. The article states "It creates a unique opportunity to reclaim the United Nations' human rights mechanism from those forces that have hijacked the commission and used it to launch a vicious and systematic attack against the democratic state of Israel." This is not correct. The Council can call a special session with only 30% of the members' approval. (The previous Commission required 50% support for an emergency session.) This is certain to result in more emergency sessions on Israel, not less. Furthermore, the proportional representation of members of the Asian regional group (which excludes Israel from membership though it is geographically entitled to belong), and which contains the highest number of states from the Organization of the Islamic Conference, increases with the Council. At the same time, the proportional representation of members from the Western regional group, decreases with the Council. This is certain to increase the vitrolic and discriminatory treatment of Israel, not reduce it. One can only hope that Congress is not interested in spending taxpayer dollars on the pretense of UN reform.

Wrong move on rights Article

U.N. slow roll Article

March 23, 2006

King Gyanendra

Among the friends of the new UN Human Rights Council is Nepal - ranked amongst the least free countries in the world by Freedom House. The most recent State Department Report on Nepal for 2005 says: "The government's poor human rights record worsened and the government continued to commit many serious abuses, both during and after the state of emergency that suspended all fundamental rights except for habeas corpus. Members of the security forces and the Maoist insurgents committed numerous grave human rights abuses during the year."

Nepal hails establishment of UN Human Rights Council Article

Bashar al-Assad

The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) - an oxymoron if there ever was one. Here we have a newly-released report (regardless of the UN's practise of back-dating) of Syria to the CTC. It is all about Syria's fabulous new law on combating "terrorist financing." The slight problem relates to Syria's notion of who is a terrorist. Says the report - "a terrorist-financing offence" is defined as "a terrorist act...according to the Syrian laws and regulations in force or international, regional or bilateral agreements to which Syria is a party." Needless to say, Israelis, Americans and many others are fair game by Syrian rules. But the UN Committee is sure to write a cordial letter back to Syria asking another round of questions (which it is unlikely to make public) and sit back and wait for another self-congratulatory report. The Committee will make no requests for a visit or on-the-ground inspections, since they only go when invited and Syria would hardly extend such an invitation.

Addendum to the fourth report from Syria submitted to the Counter-Terrorism Committee Development

Rafik Hariri

How cold will the trail leading to former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri's murder have to get before the UN really decides to hold Syria to account?

Report of the Secretary-General on setting up a tribunal for the assassination of Rafik Hariri (pursuant to paragraph 6 of Resolution 1644) Document

March 22, 2006

March 21, 2006

March 20, 2006

U.S. contributions to the UN in 2005 totalled: $1,959,053,000. This includes the regular budget, peacekeeping operations, international tribunals, specialized agencies and subsidiary organizations.

What the U.S. Pays the U.N. Straight UN Fact