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Resources updated between Monday, April 01, 2013 and Sunday, April 07, 2013

April 5, 2013

Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor

In response to Hamas rocket attacks, Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor calls on the UN Security Council "to start ensuring the security of Israel's citizens" - given its job description is maintaining "international peace an security." In his letter he said "the only thing more deafening than the sirens that go off in Israel when a rocket is fired is the international community's silence." And it fell on deaf ears.

Prosor calls on UNSC to condemn Gaza rockets Article

UNRWA suspends aid in Gaza

The UN Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, is very upset with Gazans. "They have the right to demonstrate peacefully and to protest any decision," said Mr. Abu Hasna, the agency spokesman. "But to reach that level is really unacceptable. They jumped over the walls. They stormed the gates. They began to scream and to threaten, also. What happened yesterday is crossing all the red lines." If jumping and screaming is a red line, it's a little mystifying why the crimes committed by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails - starting with murder - doesn't qualify for equal UNRWA umbrage.

U.N. Agency Suspends Food Aid After Protest in Gaza Article

Navi Pillay

The TOP story on the "human rights news" section of the HOME PAGE of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reads: "Guantanamo should be closed." "The continuing indefinite incarceration of many of the detainees amounts to arbitrary detention and is in clear breach of international law," says UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay. Pillay goes so far as to claim: "this systemic abuse of individuals' human rights continues year after year..." Did you know that the top systematic human rights violator in the world at this moment in time, demanding the attention of the UN's top human rights official, is the United States?

Pillay says Guantanamo detention regime is in "clear breach of international law" and should be closed (Press Release) Development

A Palestinian asks for food at UNRWA headquarters in Gaza

UNRWA, the Palestinian aid agency says that "it was suspending operations in the Gaza Strip after demonstrators angered by aid cutbacks stormed its headquarters" and that the attack was "pre-planned." The irony. The usual scenario is that Gazans riot against alleged Israelis misdeeds and UNRWA announces Israel is to blame and needs to cave immediately. Since the tactic works well on Israel, Gazans must figure, why not try the same on the UN?

UN aid agency suspends Gaza distribution over riot at HQ Article

Mahmoud Abbas

The Obama administration gloves will soon come off, as Secretary Kerry arrives in Israel again. This time Abbas has been asked to suspend use of international criminal proceedings against Israel's use of self-defense in exchange for as yet unspecified tangible Israeli concessions. The UN system - a bargaining chip to reduce Israel's defenses.

Abbas Agrees to Suspend ICC Action Against Israel Article

John Kerry

Secretary Kerry announces a plan to encourage the capture of the leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army (operating in Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic). The state department will offer "up to $5 million for information that leads to the arrest, transfer, and conviction of the top three leaders of the LRA: Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen." Good idea. Now how about doing the same for the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah, terrorist groups that currently enjoy total impunity for killing Americans.

Secretary Kerry on More Work to Bring War Criminals to Justice Article

April 4, 2013

Special Representative on Sexual Violence, Zainab Bangura. (Jean-Marc Ferr)

UN news says UN experts say that sexual assaults are rampant in Egypt and political and religious leaders are blaming women. Talk is cheap. In the month of March, the annual meeting of the top women's rights body in the UN, the Commission on the Status of Women, named only one country for allegedly violating women's rights Israel (for violating the rights of Palesitnian women). The UN Human Rights Council has never adopted a resolution or taken any action on Egypt. In March the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, was provided a unique opportunity to tell the world what in her view were the world's top human rights concerns and press for international action her list included Israeli "occupation" nothing on Egypt.

Women in post-revolutionary Egypt must be free from fear of sexual violence UN envoy Development

Cholera patients hold cups of sugar solution (Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters)

A damning report on institutional rot at the UN exposes, among other things, the close UN relationship with Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe and the price paid by a UN employee who tried to get in the way. The employee's lawyer comments: "If you had a normal organization, heads would roll...Structures would change. But clearly this is not a normal organization. This is an organization that's pathological..."

How the UN Covered Up a Cholera Epidemic in Zimbabwe Article

Nuclear weapon awaiting launch or disarmament?

The Disarmament Commission continued its meetings at UN Headquarters in New York and wasted no time proving its worthlessness. For one thing, Syria is a major fan. The Syrian delegate took the microphone to "emphasize the Commission's importance as the only deliberative United Nations body for disarmament." Damned with faint praise. Syria also demanded "confidence-building measures for conventional arms." It might start by not using them to kill its own citizens. Lebanon spoke for the Arab Group and said the Commission's forte was as a "source of new ideas." And then went on to demand Israel disarm in a welcoming "nuclear-free Middle East." Iran told the Commission: "Let's be honest" - yes, that's what their representative actually said - attention should not be diverted "from the real threat: the danger of the existence of nuclear arsenals." (Arsenals it hopes to acquire in the near future.) North Korea's diplomat said at this "disarmament" commission: "his country had no other option than to become a nuclear-weapon state." Responding to criticism, he added: "As for living conditions in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, there is no need to worry about it". The grossly malnourished population would disagree.

Disarmament Commission 'place where we can think and debate', say delegations hoping to reframe discussion, find convergence on critical issues (Press Release), DC/3427 Development

April 3, 2013

Robert H. Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process

The United Nations Special Coordinator, Robert Serry, demonstrates today the moral obscenity of today's UN: Hamas rocket attacks intended to kill Israeli civilians are equivalent to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails. And again, the UN never-ending problem with Jewish self-defense.

Statement by the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Mr. Robert Serry, on rocket fire from Gaza and increased tensions on the ground Development

Syrians seeking aid

Staggering Syrian numbers. World Food Programme says it is "aiming to feed 2.5 million people inside Syria and close to one million refugees in neighbouring countries" at a cost of 19 million dollars a week. Now consider that the United Nations General Assembly is empowered to hold Emergency Special Sessions, but the only emergency special session they have held since 1997 has been about Israel. This so-called "10th emergency special session" that began 16 years ago has been "reconvened" 16 times - for the sole purpose of condemning Israel. But there is no "emergency" in Syria.

Regular press briefing by the information service in Geneva Development

Yukiya Amano, UN Nuclear Chief

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, told AP that "we have information indicating that Iran was engaged in activities relevant to the development of nuclear explosive devices in the past and now." But with President Obama still talking about open doors, and the Iranians still talking circles around him, it seems clear that no amount of information will ever be enough for this President to act before it's too late.

AP Interview: UN nuke chief says information indicates Iran may be continuing work on bomb Article

April 2, 2013

UN General Assembly votes on global arms trade treaty

The UN General Assembly today adopted the Arms Trade Treaty, but not by consensus. The treaty was adopted by a vote of 154 in favor to 3 against (Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iran, Syria), with 23 abstentions. The United States voted in favor. The treaty will not apply internally without Senate ratification. The countries abstaining (for reasons unrelated to internal opposition within the U.S.) included a who's-who of non-democracies and human rights abusers, like Russia, Sudan, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia, Egypt, Belarus, and China. India and Indonesia also abstained. Syria, speaking against the treaty, said it was worried about "the immoral chaos" surrounding the illicit arms trade, and about its victims. Syria was especially upset that the treaty didn't "include a paragraph banning the supply of weapons to unauthorized non-State actors" - by which it means terrorists not officially approved by the likes of the Syrian government. Sudan - whose President has been indicted for genocide - said "provisions should have been based on the United Nations Charter." Egypt said it abstained because there weren't enough Israel-bashing provisions - or in UN-eze: "non-cooperation with the United Nations Human Rights Council should constitute a serious violation that triggered prohibition."

Sixty-seventh General Assembly Plenary (Press Release), GA/111354 Development

A UNESCO-funded NGO, Miftah, has claimed "the Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover." The NGO, founded by Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi, deleted the statement after exposure.

This Blood Libel Brought to You by the West Development

A woman marches against the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo (Gary Calton)

Egypt's radical rulers are busy "crush[ing] the lives and hopes of women." A draft law will lower the age of marriage to 13. Sex assaults, rapes, harassment are "skyrocketing." 75% of Egyptian girls have their genitals mutilated. Morsi calls it "a family matter."

How Egypt's radical rulers crush the lives and hopes of women Human Rights Voices

March was deadliest month for Syria

Syrian activist group says 6,000 people killed in March, deadliest month yet. The UN hasn't updated its 70,000 dead figure since February. Why not?

Syrian activist group says 6,000 people killed in March, deadliest month yet in conflict Article

Wall shows people gone missing under the Saleh regime (Rebecca Murray/IPS)

Yemen's Arab "spring": abusers want immunity via "reconciliation." Victims want justice first and are angry at the lack of follow-up to a 2011 UN report on human rights violations. UN too busy "following-up" on Israel.

Yemen Struggles With Past Crimes Human Rights Voices

Palestinian girls at a graduation ceremony in southern Gaza (Eyad Al Bab/Zuma Press/Corbis)

Hamas has decided to ban men teaching at girls' schools and segregate students from the age of nine. Mandatory segregation will apply to all private and UN schools too. UNRWA, who runs the schools, was supposedly "invited to discuss the legislation but failed to do so." The silence in the face of Hamas bigotry is deafening. The imposition of gender apartheid and nothing from the UN.

Hamas to ban men teaching at girls' schools Human Rights Voices

Nuclear bomb explosion

The annual "substantive" meeting of the Disarmament Commission opened with Commission Chairman Christopher Grima of Malta being remarkably frank: "The Commission's record in the last few years had hardly been flattering, as Member States had failed to adopt recommendations since 1999." It isn't difficult to figure out why. Undemocratic regime after regime took the floor to complain that the priority must be for democratic countries to disarm and that Israel's (assumed) possession of nuclear weapons was the greatest threat to international peace and security. Iran, as the anointed spokesperson for the 120-member non-aligned movement said: "the highest priority" is "the total elimination of nuclear weapons" - from the country that is galloping towards their acquisition. The first day was also marked by a sharp exchange between North and South Korea and the United States, with the North Koreans invoking the favorite UN-speak of "double-standards," and "selectivity" - concepts never applied to singling out their own enemies.

Disarmament Commission Will Be Judged Less by Words, More by Quality of Outcomes (Press Release), DC/3425 Development

April 1, 2013

Iran President Ahmadinejad

"President Obama likes to describes Iran as "isolated." But there is nothing lonely about Iran's berth at the United Nations, where in the corridors and on the boards of powerful agencies, the Islamic Republic has been cultivating its own mini-empire." See also Human Rights Voices - UN Authority Figures.

At the U.N., Iran Is a Powerhouse, Not a Pariah Article

Inefficient UN management of aid funds

"The United Nations spends billions annually to relieve the suffering caused by natural disasters and civil war, but those costly efforts are uncoordinated, overlap or duplicate effort, and often don't show where the money went, according to a report by a special U.N. watchdog unit."

UN humanitarian aid financing is disorganized, unpredictable and hard to track, two-year watchdog study says Article

Egypt women demonstrate for equality with men. (Cam McGrath/IPS)

Egypt Revolution Makes It Worse for Women Document

Martin Nesirky, Spokesman for Secretary-General

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson told reporters about the UN investigation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Here's what they are actually doing: we "await the early affirmation from the Syrian Government on modalities and arrangements."

Spokesperson's Noon Briefing Development

Egyptian Satirist Bassem Youssef

Morsi government issues arrest warrant for (Muslim) TV satirist Bassem Youssef, "accusing him of insulting Islam and the country's president." Just maybe the constant refrain of "insulting Islam" isn't really about insulting Islam after all.

Egypt issues arrest warrant for satirist Human Rights Voices