Resources updated between Monday, March 03, 2014 and Sunday, March 09, 2014
March 9, 2014
"Two daughters of the King of Saudi Arabia claim they and their sisters have been held prisoner in the royal palace for 13 years.
Princesses Sahar, 42, and Jawaher, 38, said that they are being kept against their will in a guarded villa in the royal compound in Jeddah.
Their claims shed light into the usually secret world of royal family of a country where women are effectively treated as second-class citizens.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving. It scored 130th out of 134 countries analysed by the World Economic forum in a 2009 report on gender parity.
But the restrictions allegedly placed on Sahar and Jawaher go well beyond what is allowed under Saudi law.
In emails and phonecalls to a Sunday newspaper, Sahar and Jawaher claimed that their sisters Hala, 39, and Maha, 41, are also being held, incommunicado, in separate villas in the Jeddah compound."
The UN 's top human rights body, the Human Rights Council, has no conditions for membership - so human rights violators are keen to run and are elected to direct "human rights" attention away from themselves. The NGO Freedom House carefully ranks countries free, partly free and not free using a detailed analysis of political and civil liberties. Currently there are 11 countries with the worst possible rating of "not free" that are members of the Council. And one of them was even chosen to serve as Council president - Gabon.
Gabon was elected to serve a 3-year term on November 12, 2012 when 187 UN member states, out of 193 UN General Assembly members, voted in favor of Gabon's candidacy. In fact, this is Gabon's third term on the UN Council since its establishment in 2006. In December 2013, Gabon was also elected Council president for 2014.
This is just some of what the most recent State Department report says about human rights in Gabon:
"In 2009, the United States gave Wazhma Frogh the International Woman of Courage award for her women's rights activism in Afghanistan. Prominently displayed in Frogh's office is a picture of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton granting her the award as First Lady Michelle Obama smiles, clapping by her side.
Four years later, the United States denied her a visa when she was trying to get away from an Afghan militia commander who she says was persecuting her.
For Frogh, the experience underlined the state of the women's rights movement in her country. Thirteen years after the fall of the Taliban, billions of dollars have been spent, the West and the Afghan government have offered countless words of support, yet the successes that have been achieved remain vulnerable. Ultimately, women still have nowhere to turn when their battle for equal rights puts them on the firing line, she said.
'They give you an award but they don't support you when you need them,' she told The Associated Press. 'I always thought that if my government didn't help me I would always be able to turn to the United States. I never thought that they would turn their back on me.'"
March 8, 2014
The UN Human Rights Council marked the adoption of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide on March 7, 2014. The "high-level panel discussion" featured the representative of Sudan, whose president has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide but remains at large. The Sudanese diplomat thought this was an ideal time to champion her country's commitment to the prevention and punishment of genocide.
She said: "The Islamic Sharia and respect for human beings and to God means that we must respect all human beings, in particular their rights. Furthermore, God has forbidden us to kill or take a life from anyone. For that reason, genocide remains one of the most serious crimes that exist. Sudan reiterates the need to respect human dignity. We have built a state based on the promotion of human rights and the noble and eternal values. We have several cultures in our country and we have bolstered cohabitation and coexistence among various groups in our society...The Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other instruments all guarantee right to life and we acceded to that without exception."
The Council President thanked the speaker for her remarks.
And while states guilty of genocide professed their innocence, others thought the occasion was an opportunity to fabricate charges of genocide. Venezuela, a member of the UN Human Rights Council despite its abysmal human rights record, suggested Israelis were like Nazis and guilty of genocide. Venezuela told the Council: "65 years ago the United Nations committed itself to preventing genocide... However, as we see such atrocities continue to be committed in the 21th century with utter impunity, such as those suffered by the heroic Palestinian people."
The Council President thanked the speaker for his remarks.
March 7, 2014
On March 6, 2014 Navi Pillay presented her last annual report to the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council as the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Pillay will finish her second term in August this year. Under the section "Impunity and the rule of law" she singled out the United States for condemnation:
"The International Federation for Human Rights on Thursday raised the alarm over what it termed the deliberate denial of medical care to sick political prisoners in Iran. 'Iranian authorities deny prisoners access to medical care on purpose,' Karim Lahidji, president of the Paris-based FIDH, said in a statement. 'They punish prisoners of conscience twice: first by arbitrarily arresting and imprisoning them, then by creating unbearable conditions of detention, including deprivation from medical treatment for sick prisoners, that aggravates further their bad health and physical conditions.'"
"Four young men were convicted of gay sex and whipped publicly as punishment Thursday in an Islamic court in northern Nigeria, a human rights activist said. The four were among dozens caught in a wave of arrests after Nigeria strengthened its criminal penalties for homosexuality with the new Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act in January. The men could face further violence in prison if human rights organizations do not come up with an additional fine of 20,000 naira ($120) each meted out Thursday by a judge in Bauchi city, Dorothy Aken'Ova, convenor of the Coalition for the Defense of Sexual Rights Network, told The Associated Press. The four were sentenced to 15 strokes plus a year's imprisonment if they cannot pay their fines. Aken'Ova said the men, aged between 20 and 22, should not have been convicted because their confessions were forced by law agents who beat them."
March 6, 2014
Israel Navy intercepts Gaza-bound Iranian rocket ship near Port Sudan
"As Iranian negotiators were sitting and smiling glibly to news crews in Geneva, reports emerged on Wednesday that elite Israeli naval commandos, called 'Flotilla 13,' had interdicted an Iranian vessel in the Red Sea carrying a massive arms shipment to the Gaza-based terrorist group, Hamas...
A video published by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) indicates that Israeli intelligence had been tracking the shipment of advanced missiles since the rockets were initially loaded onto airplanes at the Damascus international airport. From there they were transported to Iran, and then to Iraq, and later boarded onto a Panamian-registered cargo vessel named the KLOS C, which set sail about ten days ago en route to a port in Sudan.
The shipment was allegedly headed to the Gaza Strip and contained, among other things, advanced M-302 missiles, which have a range of 200 kilometers and a payload of up to 170 kilograms, and are capable of blanketing Israeli population centers, all the way from Naharia in the North to Eilat in the South."
Rouhani's rockets Article
At the UN Human Rights Council's session in Geneva, Iran's Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Morteza Sarmadi, made a speech patting himself on the back over Iran's human rights record. Saramadi said:"Iran's commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights is rooted in its historical, religious and cultural heritage."
Here are two recent examples of Iran's "religious and cultural heritage."
March 5, 2014
"Farzaneh (Razieh) Moradi (26) was hanged in the prison of Isfahan this morning- She was convicted of murdering her husband, to whom she had been married to at the age of 15. Farzaneh's daughter is 10 year old and has not seen her mother since she was arrested six years ago...Farzaneh Moradi, was convicted of murdering her husband six years ago. At the beginning she confessed to the murder but later she said that it was another man identified as Saeed who had committed the murder. However, the court didn't accept the new explanation and sentenced her to death (qisas, retribution in kind). According to the Iranian law, the only way to save her life was if the family of the offended pardoned her."
At the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Russia delivered a statement on March 4, 2014, on behalf of a rogue's gallery known as the "Like Minded Group of Countries." The gang - which are all members of the Council - includes states like Cuba, China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE. Russia has just violated the UN Charter's fundamental principles of territorial integrity and non-interference in domestic jurisdiction by sending 16,000 troops into Ukraine. And yet Russia's Human Rights Council delegate had no shame in telling the Council: "In today's world promotion and protection of human rights involves...the promotion of preventive approaches [that] can be acceptable only...without having any implicit or explicit interference in the internal affairs of any state..."
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an elected member of the UN's top human rights body, the Human Rights Council. In addition to membership, the UAE evidently believes that the best way to acquire human rights credentials at the UN, and to dictate what "human rights" the UN prioritizes, is to buy them. Hence, speaking at the opening of the UN Human Rights Council on March 4, 2014, UAE Foreign Affairs Minister Anwar Mohammed Gargash, announced: "The UAE also encourages the Human Rights Council to prioritize its work, avoid repetition and duplication, and focus on new initiatives with greater added value...This also requires that we provide adequate financial resources for carrying out its important work. That is why the UAE decided to donate 1.5 million dollars to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2013. And I can announce today that we will soon enter into an agreement with the UN to finance 11.5 million dollars' worth of restoration to Hall 17 of the UN buildings here in Geneva."
At the Council, Gargash also fashioned his country as a champion of women's rights and human rights more generally. His worlds included: "The UAE is deeply committed to promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms...Islam [is] a religion which is conducive to modernization, tolerance and women's empowerment...we see the empowerment of women as fundamental for our development."
Actually, this is how the UAE is promoting "respect for human rights" and the "empowerment of women", according to the 2013 State Department report:
March 4, 2014
The UN Human Rights Council - the UN's top "human rights" body - continues to provide a platform for the dissemination of antisemitism during its current session in Geneva, Switzerland. On day two, March 4, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, spoke to the Council and distributed a written statement now posted on the Council's web-site. In it she analogizes Israeli actions to that of the Nazis:
The UN Human Rights Council is notorious for its obsessive bias against Israel - regardless of human rights conditions around the world. Once a year world dignitaries gather in Geneva at the opening of the main Council session in a so-called "High-Level Segment."
Though more than 130,000 Syrians are already dead, and hundreds more die every week, on March 4, 2014 Dato Sri Anifah Aman, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, said this:
"There remains serious human rights concerns that merit the Council's continued and focused attention. Topping the list should be...the Palestinian people."
On the first day of its latest 4-week session, the UN Human Rights Council once again provided a platform for antisemites and Israel-bashers. On March 3, 2014 Iyad Ameen Madani, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said:
March 3, 2014
"Islamist insurgents have killed at least 31 people in a village in northeast Nigeria, a lawmaker said on Monday, taking the death toll from three days of attacks to 116 as soldiers struggle to contain raging violence. Insurgents have killed more than 400 people in just over a month, security sources say, making it one of the deadliest periods in the Islamist sect Boko Haram's insurgency, which began with an uprising in Borno state in 2009...President Goodluck Jonathan launched an intensified military campaign almost a year ago to crush Boko Haram but the bloodshed has since escalated, albeit with violence largely contained in the sect's northeast stronghold...Opponents of Christian southerner Jonathan are becoming increasingly critical of his failure to stem the violence in the majority Muslim north, where his main opponent in next year's presidential election will likely originate from."
"Iran executed two gay men on Sunday for the crime of 'perversion' and has sentenced a third individual to death for 'insulting the prophet,' according to human rights activists tracking the situation...The executions come less than two months after Iranian authorities publicly hanged 40 individuals in a two-week period. Iran is executing at least two people a day, according to activists. Executions in Iran have surged over the past year with well more than 500 being killed for crimes ranging from 'waging war against God' to misdemeanor drug charges that would carry minimal penalties in Western countries. State-sanctioned killings have spiked since the election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who initially vowed to address the issue."
Iran Executes Two for 'Perversion' Document
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was in Geneva on March 3, 2014 and used a UN Human Rights Council podium to present Russia as a human rights champion. Lavrov said (with a straight face): "For Russia the protection of human and civil rights and freedoms is a basic priority...human rights is too serious a matter to be used either as bargaining chip in political games or a means of imposing one's will on others, not to mention as a pretext for regime change operation...All internal crises should be overcome without external interference..." He also thanked the Council members for electing Russia as a member of the UN's top human rights body "by an overwhelming majority."
Russia is currently occupying parts of Ukraine on the pretext of protecting ethnic Russian speakers in a foreign country.
On March 3, 2014 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the opening of the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
As expected he was full of praise for the UN's top rights body: "The Human Rights Council is mandated to advance human rights every day and everywhere...The HRC is helping the world become more vigilant in tracking the earliest signs of crisis...your work for accountability and an end to impunity are critical."
The UN Secretary-General was at pains not to name or single out Syrian President Assad for responsibility for the suffering of his people. Instead, on the bloodbath in Syria he pointed to "all parties" as violating human rights.
And the Secretary-General said, for instance,: "I welcome the High Commissioner's report on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka." Actually, this is how the UN Human Rights Council has been promoting accountability in Sri Lanka. In 2009 more than 100,000 people were killed in Sri Lanka by the government forces during the conflict with the Tamils. In May 2009 the UN "Human Rights" Council adopted a resolution praising the Sri Lanka government for respecting human rights during the conflict. Five years after the massacres there has been no credible investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the government forces.
Ban Ki-moon saved his last words for the UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay who is finishing her term in August: "Pillay has been a fearless defender of the most vulnerable ...on the frontline of crisis...an eloquent voice against racism, xenophobia and intolerance." In fact, a look back at the record of Navi Pillay paints a very different picture. She spent a major part of her tenure as the UN High Commissioner singling out and promoting intolerance against the Jewish state. Among other things, she called for the creation of the notorious Goldstone inquiry. After Goldstone claimed that Israel had intentionally targeted civilians, the High Commissioner expressed "full support to Justice Goldstone's report and its recommendations" and though Goldstone himself retracted this libel, Pillay did not.
The UN's top human rights body will adopt no resolution condemning Russian aggression in the Ukraine despite it being a direct attack on democratic rights, and do nothing to stop horrors around the world - because its own members include some of the world's worst human rights violators - like Russia, China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia. Instead, the Council is scheduled to adopt 5 times as many resolutions condemning Israel than North Korea.
Yes, "the Human Rights Council is mandated to advance human rights every day and everywhere." But it's a mandate that it has not, and will not, fulfill.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is set to finish her second and final term at the end of August. Known for her anti-Israel and anti-American agenda, which includes defending the notorious Goldstone report and questioning the legality of the killing of Osama bin Laden, she is leaving office true to form. The antisemitic platform of the UN Durban conferences, and the Durban Declaration, include charging only one country with racism - Israel. And speaking at the opening of the Council's 25th session on March 3, 2014 Pillay singled out Durban for high praise. She said: "...Full implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and Outcome Document, as affirmed by the Durban Review Conference, is no less important today than it was in 2001. My Office is already promoting the implementation of many of its recommendations through our 58 field presences."