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Resources updated between Monday, May 05, 2014 and Sunday, May 11, 2014

May 9, 2014

One of the arrested demonstrators

"Military troops stormed four tent cities set up by antigovernment protesters Thursday, arresting scores of people, as U.S. lawmakers debated leveling sanctions against Venezuelan officials accused of human-rights abuses...The tent raids were aimed at stamping out the last vestiges of a three-month-old protest movement that has resulted in at least 42 deaths and shaken the populist government that has ruled Venezuela for 15 years. Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres told reporters 243 demonstrators were taken into custody in an operation that began before dawn Thursday. The camps, he said, were sheltering 'the most violent groups that would commit terrorist acts.'...Since the protests erupted in early February, officials have accused participants of being violent mercenaries out to topple the state with U.S. assistance. The government hasn't offered evidence of its claims, and the U.S. had denied involvement in the unrest."

Venezuela Police Break Up Student Protest Camps, Arresting Scores Document

Palestinian prisoner in Hamas-controlled Saraya prison

"Complaints of torture and other mistreatment rose by 50% last year in areas governed by the Palestinian Authority, according to a report by an independent commission. The annual report by the Ramallah-based Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), published Thursday, offers a hint at the kind of scrutiny the Palestinian Authority might face after joining United Nations agencies and treaties this year. Though the report covers the period before the Palestinian Authority joined those treaties, including the four Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture, commission officials said the international community would be watching the Palestinian Authority to make sure it abided by the terms of those agreements. The Palestinian Authority submitted papers April 2 to join 15 international treaties as part of a drive to assert statehood, after the U.N. in 2012 upgraded the authority's status to non-member observer state. The treaty signatures scuttled talks with Israel. 'Palestine will be now obliged to present periodical reports on what measures it is taking to eliminate torture to show that it is committed to the Convention Against Torture, said Randa Siniora, executive director of ICHR."

Human Rights Complaints Rise In Palestinian Territories Document

May 8, 2014

Hilal Elver

On May 8, 2014 the wife of notorious antisemite Richard Falk and his close professional "collaborator" - to use Falk's own words - Hilal Elver, was officially appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to be the new UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. With U.S. approval.

Elver's writing includes references to the "Jewish lobby" and admiration for 9/11 conspiracy fans. In 2007, in a paper she co-authored with her husband, she accused Israel of "genocide" and compared Israelis to "Nazis." In 2014 she wrote an Al-Jazeera article on Israel practicing "water apartheid" against the Palestinians.

At the Council's meeting on May 8, 2014 prior to her formal appointment, the President gave the members of the Council - which include the United States - an opportunity to comment, object and call for a vote. Not one member state objected to Elver's appointment and her tenure was approved by consensus.

Several hours after the meeting ended, however, the United States UN mission in Geneva issued a press release complaining about Elver's appointment - to which they had agreed without a peep a few hours before. Here is their media note for public consumption:

    "The United States again expresses its concern on today's appointment of Hilal Elver by the UN Human Rights Council to be the new Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Ms. Elver's lack of relevant experience in this area raises questions about her readiness for this assignment. In addition, several of Ms. Elver's previous publications include biased and inflammatory views regarding the United States and the state of Israel. These views run counter to the dispassionate professionalism central to the work of a Special Rapporteur. Furthermore, this appointment could reflect negatively on the Council's other special procedures mandates, most of which produce crucial work that highlights, promotes, and protects human rights around the world. Notwithstanding these concerns, the United States hopes Ms. Elver will use this position to take a constructive approach to addressing the complex challenges of global food security and nutrition."

State Dept. issues phony complaint of appointment of Richard Falk's wife as UN human rights "expert" Development

Raif Badawi

"A Saudi court has sentenced blogger and activist Raif Badawi to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes for "insulting Islam." Amnesty International called him "a prisoner of conscience who is guilty of nothing."

Badawi, currently serving a seven-year prison term on the same charges, was also ordered to pay a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals (about $265,000) by the Criminal Court in the eastern city of Jeddah...

Badawi's persecution of what was called by the country's authorities as "insulting Islam" started in 2008 after he co-founded the "Free Saudi Liberals" website to discuss the role of religion in Saudi Arabia. The network declared May 7, 2012 a "day of liberalism" in the kingdom and called for an end of religion domination over public life.

In order to escape arrest, the blogger then fled the country. He returned when the charges against him were dropped, but was jailed in June 2012.

In July 2013 Badawi was sentenced to 600 lashes and seven years in prison for "insulting Islam" via his online forum, as well as violating Saudi Arabia's anti-cybercrime law."

'Prisoner of conscience': Saudi blogger gets 10 years, 1000 lashes for 'insulting Islam' Document

Makarim Wibisono

For over a month the UN's top human rights body has been struggling with a major dilemma. How much prior Israel-bashing experience is necessary to be appointed UN "independent expert" on Israel?

On May 7, 2014 we found out. Indonesian Makarim Wibisono has just the right mix of confirmed anti-Israel bias and diplomatic cover to replace outgoing UN "expert" Richard Falk.

Falk was a notorious antisemite, infamous 9/11 conspiracy theorist, and Boston-marathon apologist. But at the UN, a six-year time limit forced his retirement and not a matter of principle.

Former Indonesian UN ambassador Wibisono is from a country that does not recognize Israel's right to exist. He served as the President of the UN Human Rights Commission in its last year of operation in 2005 – a body which even UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said "cast a shadow on the reputation of the United Nations system as a whole."

In a 2006 statement to the new Human Rights Council, Ambassador Wibisono, described Israel as showing "ruthless contempt for the lives of the innocent," perpetrating "callous attacks against terrorized and defenseless civilians," and so on.

A biography touts that up until January 2014 (and his application for the job) he was "active in the private sector as an advisor to the Third World Network." That NGO spews out hysterical antisemitic vitriol – such as, Israel is guilty of "bestiality, barbarity," AIPAC pays "cash and other perks" for "towing the Zionist line," and "the US plays the role of God in modern times" holding "back the sun to enable Israel...to finish the job" against its Arab victims.

And there's more. Wibisono's appointment was part of larger deal, because the UN Human Rights Council had nineteen openings for the job of UN human rights expert or "special rapporteur" on a variety of subjects.

Wibisono was not the top anti-Israel choice of Arab and Islamic countries. So at the same time as Wibisono got the nod, someone who had been slated to become the UN independent expert on the human rights of older persons, was suddenly denied the post. Who was he? Internationally-renowned Israeli professor of gerontology, Israel Doron.

And there's still more. Richard Falk lives to see another day. His wife and close professional "collaborator" – to use his words – Hilal Elver, will become UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food. Notwithstanding the generic title, as have past UN incumbents in this particular position, Elver can be counted upon to spend her time Israel-bashing from her new UN perch. Elver's writing circles right back to Falk, including references to the "Jewish lobby" and admiration for 9/11 conspiracy fans.

These UN jobs matter. Though they do not carry a salary, they do involve other perks: expenses, travel, status and most importantly – an instant global platform as the world's leading "expert" on the human rights subject at hand.

That is why Arab and Islamic states fight so hard to ensure anti-Israel discrimination is embedded into the system. An allegedly independent guru on human rights is a potent weapon in a systematic campaign to use lethal politics to destroy the Jewish state.

The sordid background to the appointment of Wibisono indicates how much better America's enemies play the UN game than the State Department.

In the case of the Israel rapporteur position, there were ten candidates. A consultative committee of five states, geographically representative, produced a short-list and ranked first, Christina Cerna. She was an international human rights lawyer with no known political views on the Arab-Israeli conflict. So the Arab and Islamic groups of states formally objected to Cerna on the grounds that she did not have the "relevant experience."

The Arab Group then put forward extremist Christine Chinkin as the candidate "with the relevant experience." Chinkin's "relevant" expertise included her prior membership on the infamous UN Goldstone committee, which declared that Israel deliberately intended to murder Palestinian civilians rather than act in self-defense against eight years of Hamas rocket attacks.

The Arab and Islamic choice was initially supported by the President of the UN Human Rights Council – who just happens to be from Gabon, a member of the Islamic group. When he ran into opposition, he chose Wibisono instead. His selection is to be confirmed by the Council on May 8, 2014.

Wibisono then emerges as the laughable "compromise."

In fact, no UN rapporteur on Israel could be independent. The 1993 UN job description says the mandate-holder must investigate only Israel's human rights violations. Investigating Palestinians is off limits.

With Falk's replacement and Falk's wife now firmly ensconced as UN Human Rights Council "experts," the anti-Israel bias is all set to continue uninterrupted.

UN Replaces Notorious Human Rights "Expert" Richard Falk With Another Anti-Israel Foe Article

May 7, 2014

Qatar has turned a review at the UN Human Rights Council of its human rights record into an opportunity to promote itself as a excellent tourist destination.

The so-called Universal Periodic Review or UPR process is touted as the number one reform of the Council over its discredited predecessor, the UN Human Rights Commission.

In theory, the UPR is a "review based on objective and reliable information, of the fulfillment by each State of its human rights obligations and commitments..."

In practice, the UPR has become a favorite place for the worst violators of human rights to present themselves as human rights champions - or in Qatar's case - as a tourist paradise.

On May 6, 2014 the UN staff set up an unusual display for the UPR at the Palais des Nations in front of the Room XX where the UPR of Qatar will be formally conducted on May 7, 2013. The display includes a big screen with the words "State of Qatar - Universal Periodic Review"; a Qatari flag; a TV; and 3 tables filled with numerous publications purporting to show Qatari human rights "achievements" and - several brochures by the "Qatari Tourism Authority".

The "human rights" display of Qatar gracing the UN building in advance of the "human rights" review includes: "Map of Doha – Welcome to Qatar"; "Qatar your destination – discover a spirited world of enjoyment and relaxation in 48 hours" and "Qatar Mini Visitors' Guide" which includes tips on where to shop, places to stay and a few words in basic Arabic which "may earn you a smile when out and about".

The publications include, for example, "Qatar Labor and Worker's Guide" with "employees' guidelines" such as "don't eat or drink in public during Ramadan" and "don't escape, run away under any circumstances". However, there is no mention of migrant domestic workers which, according to an Amnesty International report, face "forced labor, physical and sexual violence" in Qatar.

The Qataris also decided to display its "Guide to Human Rights Standards in Detention Facilities and Penal and Reformatory Institutions" which aims to "improve" human rights in Qatar in "a fair and balanced manner". Apparently, "fair manner" in Qatar means imprisoning women convicted for pregnancy out of wedlock, and interpreting sharia as allowing corporal punishment "including court-ordered flogging in cases of alcohol consumption and extramarital sex by Muslims."

Also displayed was the antisemitic 2004 Arab Charter on Human Rights, obligingly translated by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Charter "reject(s) all forms of racism and Zionism, which constitute a violation of human rights and a threat to international peace and security" and states that "All forms of racism, Zionism and foreign occupation and domination constitute an impediment to human dignity and a major barrier to the exercise of the fundamental rights of peoples; all such practices must be condemned and efforts must be deployed for their elimination."

UN Human Rights Council subs as Qatar tourist agency: human rights record takes back seat to "48 hours of relaxation" Development

May 6, 2014

"A 15 year old Afghan juvenile offender has been executed in the prison of Isfahan. Reports indicate that he was convicted of drug-related charges and didn't have access to lawyer. Iranian authorities claim that juveniles are not executed in Iran. This is the seventh juvenile offender being executed in Iran in 2014. What separates this case from the other juvenile executions is that this is the first known case in several years where a juvenile is executed on drug charges."

Afghan Juvenile Executed in Iran for Drug-Related Charges Document

May 5, 2014

Palais Wilson, headquarters of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland

The spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has said that 5 of 8 human rights treaties which "Palestine" signed and acceded to on April 2, 2014, entered into force for "Palestine" on May 2, 2014. The treaties are:

    • the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination;
    • the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women;
    • the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
    • the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
    • the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Spokesperson Colville also said that the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict will enter into force for "Palestine" on May 7, 2014, and the two major treaties, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, will enter into force for "Palestine" on July 2, 2014.

What is conspicuously missing from this list are all the provisions in these human rights treaties, or their associated "protocols," that permit individuals to complain of violations of human rights by the ratifying party.

In other words, "Palestine" is only too happy to appear to be interested in human rights protection, but it won't allow Palestinians to hold them to it by empowering people to complain if it doesn't.

For instance, the Torture Convention and the Racial Discrimination Convention in theory permit individuals to complain of violations of the two treaties. But "Palestine" refused to agree to these discretionary features.

Other complaint provisions are associated with the two covenants on civil and political rights, and economic rights, and the conventions on women's rights, children's rights and disability rights. There is no indication that "Palestine" is acceding to any of them - effectively excluding any Palestinian from complaining to UN bodies about "Palestine's" violations of their new rights.

Despite this glaring omission, spokesperson Colville proceeded to praise the Palestinians for "a significant step towards enhancing the promotion and protection of human rights". He said
    "I believe, but am checking this, that Palestine is the only country in the whole of the Middle East and North Africa not to make a single reservation on any of the treaties it has ratified...This was a lot of treaties to ratify in one go. But in the end this is really a cause for celebration, and for a State to ratify so many treaties in one go is really commendable."
He also added that the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, "commend(s) the commitment of the State of Palestine to be bound by the international human rights standards."

The truth is that the UN rushed through the "Palestine's" treaty accessions ignoring that it fails to meet the legal qualifications for statehood, and every one of these treaties requires that signature and accession is open only to "states."

On April 2, 2014 the Palestinian Authority officially asked that the "state of Palestine" become a signatory to 21 international conventions. On April 10, 2014 Stιphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General confirmed that "instruments of accession to 14 multilateral treaties" which were received on April 2, 2014 "were in due and proper form".

UN's Office for Human Rights lavishes praise on "Palestine" after it officially joins 5 UN treaties Development