Resources updated between Monday, June 15, 2015 and Sunday, June 21, 2015
June 21, 2015
"Only eight months ago, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness viciously attacked our agency on Fox News claiming that our agency acts in a fraudulent manner without 'evidence' when we documented that the Hamas military wing had been present in the UNRWA schools in Gaza, as revealed in our book.
Gunness said over and over that there was no 'evidence'.
Now the UNRWA director admits that Hamas military presence in the UNRWA schools was there all along."
June 19, 2015
"The Palestinian Authority is set to submit their first files next week to the International Criminal Court to open a case against Israel, AFP reported on Thursday.
Their accusations against Israel include allegations of abuses which occurred in Gaza during last year's war, and additional alleged crimes that have taken place in the Palestinian Authority territories since 2014.
The first files are to be submitted on June 25 for review by the board, Palestinian Authority official Ammar Hijazi was quoted as saying by AFP..."
Speaking at a Security Council general debate on children and armed conflict on June 18, 2015, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon voiced his "deep alarm" only about Israel. Millions of children around the world suffer violence and displacement due to armed conflict in states such as Syria, Iraq, Central African Republic, and South Sudan, but the latest annual report from the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict spends more ink on Israel than any other state. At the same time, the Secretary-General in his statement never even once mentioned "Hamas." He also didn't censure Palestinian use of children as human shields. And he didn't call for the Syrian regime to stop barrel bombing or using chlorine gas upon Syrian children. He directed his one specific call to action only to Israel.
In the Secretary General's words:
"I am also deeply alarmed at the suffering of so many children as a result of Israeli military operations in Gaza last year. I urge Israel to take concrete and immediate steps, including by reviewing existing policies and practices, to protect and prevent the killing and maiming of children, and to respect the special protections afforded to schools and hospitals."
June 18, 2015
"Last week, the Secretary General published his annual report on children and armed conflict. With all the regimes, with all the organizations that intentionally and strategically target children all around the world, it is simply absurd that this report disproportionately focuses on Israel.
The report has 17 paragraphs on Syria, 9 on Yemen, 8 on Iraq, 6 on Libya and no less than 32 paragraphs on Israel. Yes, you heard right, twice as much space was dedicated to Israel as to Syria, where approximately a quarter of a million people have been killed, including, according to the New York Times, over 3500 children just this year, 3500, while the report misleads by inexplicably putting the number at 368.
The reason for this skewed presentation is evident. Instead of being balanced, neutral, and focused on facts, the report's discussion of Israel is politicized, stained with interests, and distorts reality...
I must express deep concern about the report's statement that the question of intent when determining responsibility will be not be a crucial consideration. The Laws of Armed Conflict provide one of the critical barriers preventing war from descending into unrestrained barbarism. Ignoring intention would be contrary to existing international law and plays into the hands of those who intentionally target and use civilians in combat, and leave children more vulnerable...
Israel's commitment to protection of children is absolute."
"The United Nations General Assembly elected Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark as president of its upcoming 70th session, which commences this September...
Mr. Lykketoft ... has demonstrated an animus against Israel. For example, as Denmark's foreign minister back in 2001, he declared that the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi by Palestinian terrorists was no worse than Israel's targeted killing of terrorists. In a glaring display of moral relativism, he claimed that 'all these types of murder, including what is called Israel's extrajudicial killing of Palestinian leaders,' are equally harmful.
That same year, Mr. Lykketoft called for the European Union to impose sanctions on Israel on account of its settlements.
In 2011, he defended the right of Danes to boycott Israeli goods 'in protest against Israel's colonization of the West Bank.'
Now, Mogens Lykketoft will have a global platform as president of the UN General Assembly to promote his ideology to a largely sympathetic audience. Fortunately, the General Assembly has become little more than an annoying but meaningless echo chamber in which pretentious speeches and non-binding resolutions allow delegates to delude themselves into believing they are doing something important."
"Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, sent a letter of complaint Wednesday to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in which he accused the secretary general's special representative for children and armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui, of bias against Israel.
Prosor accused her of attempting to hide the fact from Israel that she was writing a report about harm suffered by children in the West Bank and Gaza Strip...
In his letter, Prosor noted a number of deficiencies in the drafting process of the chapter of the report on Israel. Zerrougui, he stated, wrote it together with pro-Palestinian organizations that had what he said was a clear anti-Israeli agenda that includes promoting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. Some of the groups even have contacts with Hamas, he added.
Zerroughi and her associates, he said, nearly completely headed off any effort by Israel to present different facts to provide balance in the report. It is therefore not surprising, the Israeli ambassador stated, that Israel appears in the report more than ISIS, Taliban or Al-Qaida, while Hamas is absent from it entirely, he claimed. It was as if the report was designed to strengthen a regular anti-Israel stance and satisfy politically interested parties at the UN, he said..."
June 17, 2015
"Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged Tuesday that the Iran nuclear deal most likely won't require the country to detail suspected past efforts to develop a nuclear weapon, a concession sought by Tehran...
His comments downplayed a long-standing demand by world powers that Iran come clean about any past efforts to develop a military dimension to its nuclear program. U.S. officials and European diplomats previously pledged that sanctions relief would be tied to Iran answering lingering questions from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog.
A preliminary deal reached in April, which provides a framework to hash out the details of the final agreement, said Iran 'will implement an agreed set of measures to address the IAEA's concerns regarding the possibility military dimensions (PMD) of its program' in a final pact...
Iran has denied it has engaged in covert efforts to develop warheads and delivery systems but has yet to grant the UN nuclear agency access to nuclear scientists or suspicious sites..."
"The Security Council's five permanent members and Germany, discussing Iran's nuclear-weapons program, have reportedly agreed on a mechanism intended to reactivate United Nations economic sanctions if Tehran breaches the deal currently under negotiation. Iran now is apparently reviewing the proposal.
If what is publicly known about this so-called 'snapback' formula is even vaguely accurate, it is an act of consummate folly. Allegations of Iranian violations would be referred to a committee of the Perm Five, Germany and (surprise!) Iran. This committee (which might also include other nations) would, through an as-yet-undisclosed process, decide whether Iran had breached the final agreement, and, therefore, whether the sanctions would come back into effect...
Deciding what constitutes a violation - and who gets to make that decision - obviously are the critical preconditions to tee up a decision on restoring sanctions. It is almost inconceivable that any permanent member would delegate that authority to an international bureaucracy, such as the IAEA, even if the prospective deal's verification and compliance provisions were adequate, which they manifestly are not.
Instead, given the U.N.-sanctions focus of the Perm Five and Germany, every likelihood is that this new committee will proceed by 'consensus,' which in U.N.-speak means every member will have a veto. If breaches were to be decided merely by majority vote of a committee, Russia and China simply would have given away their vetoes. Do we really believe they are that gullible?
Allowing Tehran any say in a U.N.-style committee reviewing its own alleged violations is roughly equivalent to providing Al Capone a seat in the jury room. At a bare minimum, formally involving Iran greatly enhances the prospects for inordinate delays, the obvious benefits of which will accrue to Iran..."
Today marks the 32nd day of Simon Aban Deng's hunger strike for South Sudan. Though Mr. Deng-a former child-slave turned competitive swimming champion in Sudan, now a human rights activist & New York City lifeguard supervisor-is growing weaker by the day, he remains resolute. Until President Obama and his administration signal an immediate shift in U.S. policy toward South Sudan, Simon will continue his fast.
June 16, 2015
"Each year the United States gives approximately $8 billion in mandatory payments and voluntary contributions to the United Nations and its affiliated organizations. The biggest portion of this money – about $3 billion this year – goes to the U.N.'s regular and peacekeeping budgets.
If that seems like a lot, it is-far more than anyone else pays And it's also, in some cases, bad value for money...
In 2015, 35 countries will be charged the minimum regular budget assessment of 0.001 percent which works out to approximately$28,269 each. Twenty countries will be charged the minimum peacekeeping assessment of 0.0001 percent or approximately $8,470 apiece.
By contrast, the U.S. is assessed 22 percent of the regular budget (approximately $622 million) and over 28 percent of the peacekeeping budget (approximately $2.402 billion).
Put another way, the U.S. will be assessed more than 176 other member states combined for the regular budget and more than 185 countries combined for the peacekeeping budget. Who says America isn't exceptional!...
The U.N. badly needs reform, but the U.S., despite the mammoth checks it writes, can't reform the U.N. alone. In the one-nation, one-vote world of the U.N., it needs support from other nations. Unfortunately, many of them remain blasé about U.N. budget increases, corruption, and inefficiencies because the financial impact on them is miniscule.
To change the institution, the first thing that needs to change is the thumb-on-the-scales system that makes the U.S. the biggest bill-payer, but just one of 193 voting members when it comes to demanding honesty, efficiency and effectiveness in return for its over-generous payments..."
"The United Nations Human Rights Council is set to shortly release a so-called fact-finding report on the war last year in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, prepared by its "commission of inquiry." The report is scheduled for "debate" by the Human Rights Council members on June 29th. The only thing that is likely to be debated is which member of this hypocritical body, consisting of some of the world's worst human rights abusers, gets to use the most strident adjectives to condemn Israel for alleged 'war crimes' and 'crimes against humanity.'...
In short, Israel will be blamed for virtually all of the fatalities and injuries in Gaza that occurred during last summer's conflict. Ignored or barely mentioned will be Hamas's initiation of the conflict via the relentless firing of rockets deliberately aimed at Israeli civilian population centers, Hamas's refusal to accept successive cease-fire offers which resulted in a prolonging of the conflict, Hamas's use of human shields and storing of rockets and other arms in residences, schools, mosques and hospitals, and Israel's unprecedented advance warnings to civilians to evacuate before specific military operations were launched...
The Palestinian propaganda machine, aided and abetted by their UN sympathizers, most notably by the grossly misnamed UN Human Rights Council and its kangaroo 'investigatory' commission, will try to drown the truth with distortions, omission of critical facts and outright lies. Sadly, as Winston Churchill once said, 'A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.'"
According to the UN, committing genocide is no bar to serving as a high ranking official in the UN's legal apparatus. On June 15, 2015, the UN General Assembly elected Sudan as one of only five member states serving on the executive of its top legal committee. Sudan will become "Rapporteur" when the General Assembly starts a new annual session in September. Over 300,000 people have been killed and 2 million displaced in Darfur, and Sudanese President Omar al Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and genocide. Perhaps the UN was thinking his expertise in committing international crimes makes him an expert in defining and applying international criminal law.
Saudi Arabia on Monday beheaded a Syrian drug trafficker and a convicted murderer, taking to 100 the number of executions in the kingdom this year.
The number of executions has surged in 2015 compared with the 87 recorded for all of last year. But it is still far below the record 192 which rights group Amnesty International said took place in 1995.
Syrian Ismael al-Tawm smuggled 'a large amount of banned amphetamine pills into the kingdom', said an interior ministry statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency. He was beheaded in the northern region of Jawf. A separate statement said that Rami al-Khaldi was convicted of stabbing another Saudi to death and was executed in the western province of Taef.
Drug and murder convictions account for the bulk of executions in Saudi Arabia.
The Berlin-based European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights said in a report that the death penalty in the kingdom is 'often applied to powerless individuals with no government connection'.
Ali Adubisi, the group's director, has said that economic factors could be leading to a rise in drug crimes. Many are turning to the illegal business 'because they are poor', he said. According to London-based Amnesty, use of the death penalty for other than the 'most serious crimes' -- premeditated killings -- violates international law.
Saudi judicial proceedings 'fall far short' of global norms of fairness, according to the rights watchdog.
Under the Gulf state's strict Islamic sharia legal code, drug trafficking, rape, murder, armed robbery and apostasy are all punishable by death.
Those beheaded this year include Siti Zainab, an Indonesian domestic worker convicted of murder despite concerns about her mental health, according to the Indonesian newspaper Kompas.
Jakarta summoned Riyadh's ambassador over her case, a rare diplomatic incident linked to Saudi Arabia's executions, around half of which involve foreigners.
Also among this year's dead are at least eight Yemenis, 10 Pakistanis, Syrians, Jordanians, and individuals from Myanmar, the Philippines, India, Chad, Eritrea and Sudan.
Saudi Arabia ranked among the world's top five executioners in 2014, according to Amnesty.
Executions are carried out in public, mostly by beheading with a sword. A surge in executions began towards the end of the reign of King Abdullah, who died on January 23. It accelerated this year under his successor King Salman, in what Amnesty has called an unprecedented 'macabre spike'.
Activists are unable to explain specific reasons for the surge, and officials have not commented. One activist said the death penalty is carried out only with the king's final approval.
Salman has adopted a more assertive foreign policy, and in April promoted his powerful Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef to be crown prince and heir to the throne.
Saudi Arabia recently advertised for eight new executioners, recruiting extra staff to carry out the increasing number of death sentences.
The main role is 'executing a judgement of death' - but workers must also perform amputations on those convicted of lesser offences, according to the advert posted on the civil service jobs portal.
June 15, 2015
Human Rights Voices Board member Simon Deng on hunger strike. South Sudan needs WH help now!
He is a free man now, and he's determined to use that freedom to stir President Obama to "save the lives of untold millions of Africans" who are in danger of dying in Southern Sudan.
Simon Deng, an escaped slave and Sudanese-American human rights activist, is on Day 22 of a hunger strike to prompt the Obama Administration to do something to halt the violence in South Sudan.
Deng has returned to Washington DC after a brief time in his home in New York City. He is standing in Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, as he did initially for 17 days. He has eaten no food in 22 days, drinking only water and juice.
A Coney Island lifeguard supervisor who lives in the Bronx, Deng says he is determined to continue his hunger strike until President Obama, the first black President of the United States, speaks out to help the world's newest African nation, South Sudan.
"The newest black nation needs help like a newly born baby," said Deng. "The President has a lot of responsibilities in this war-torn world, but South Sudan represents a core American value in so many ways -- it's black liberation, it's freedom from slavery, it's about people who have bravely resisted jihad terrorism for decades and now need our help."
At issue is the fate of South Sudan, the world's newest country. It was born in July 2011, after the Southern Sudanese - who are Christians and animists, or practitioners of native religions - voted overwhelmingly to secede from the Islamist North, whose government perpetrated the Darfur genocide and sheltered Osama bin Laden in the 1990's. That historic vote took place after U.S. President George W. Bush brought the warring parties to the negotiating table.
Since that time, however, the United States has, while providing the new country with aid money, abandoned its role as mentor and monitor. And those in power in the South, unable to resolve their differences, have turned to violence.
The fight started in Juba, the new nation's capital, as an intra-party dispute between Sudan's President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, and its former Vice President, Riek Machar. But it has spilled out into the surrounding areas and claimed the lives of 70,000 people, many of them women and children, most of whom have nothing to do with the warring factions. Deng says his 9-year-old niece and several other relatives died recently in the fighting.
Now the United Nations says four and a half million are on the verge of starvation. And Deng believes that, absent U.S. leadership, the situation could escalate to violence of Rwanda-like proportions.
The Southern Sudanese who are dying in huge numbers now are the same people who resisted Islamist terror in the past, according to Charles Jacobs, President of the American Anti-Slavery Group, a Boston-based organization combating modern day human bondage. "Slave raids were the terror weapon of choice for the jihad raiders from the north, just like Boko Haram does today in Nigeria," Jacobs told me.
Jacobs and others worked for many years to help free Southern Sudanese enslaved by Sudan's Islamist North. Deng himself was enslaved as a child during the 1960's against the backdrop of a decades-long civil war between Sudan's Islamist North and the Christians and others in the South who resisted domination.
"South Sudan was given birth by America," Jacobs said. "Credit goes also to South Sudan's fighters. They were victims of Islamist jihad before jihad became known in America."
Because the United States helped bring about South Sudan's independence, President Obama should step up and show leadership, Deng and Jacobs believe.
Moreover, they argue that, as jihadist terror spreads like a virus across Africa and hearts break for innocent children like those kidnapped by Boko Haram, the American President and people should recognize that Southern Sudanese Christians and animists have survived such oppression - and now need Western guidance.
"South Sudan is a black nation that survived the sort of jihadist terrorism now being forced on other African nations, and it needs U.S. guidance and support," said Jacobs.
What can the U.S. do?
Deng has written an open letter to President Obama with suggestions. For starters, the U.S. President could threaten harsh sanctions on South Sudanese oil exports - and follow through with such sanctions if the violence continues.
Obama could also threaten South Sudan's leaders with an arms embargo, and possible prosecution in international criminal court, if they fail to halt the bloodshed.
And if Sudan's elected leaders prove reluctant to stop the violence, Deng would like to see the United States step in and identify capable leaders who can form an interim government that can restore trust and protect human rights. He also suggests the U.S. President appoint a special envoy to oversee the allocation of U.S. funds to South Sudan, and to report directly back to Obama. Suggestions for the role include former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
A peaceful end to the current conflict in South Sudan "will not require U.S. boots on the ground" Deng writes. "But it will require consistent engagement, seriousness of purpose, and a willingness to both make threats and follow through on them. In short, it will require your leadership."
At a time when many around the world view the U.S. President as weak, the crisis in South Sudan presents President Obama with a historic opportunity to show strong leadership -- as a peacemaker and savior of hundreds of thousands of innocents.
Meanwhile, Simon Deng, once a slave, has returned to Washington DC, where he continues his hunger strike in front of the White House.
Results of 69th General Assembly Elections Development
The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jordanian Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, is less than a year in the job but he has already found how to win hearts and minds in the UN "human rights" world. Pick on Israel and give the Palestinians a pass.
Speaking at the opening of the 29th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on June 15, 2015, the High Commissioner raised concern about the human rights of Palestinians. And nothing about the human rights of Israelis. Notwithstanding ongoing rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, targeting Israeli civilians and clearly a war crime, the High Commissioner never once named Hamas. Nor did he mention Hamas abuses of its own people, which include extrajudicial killings and torture of Gaza residents. His only call to action was directed to Israel.
In his words, "The continued presence and expansion of Israeli settlements and related activities, as well as settler violence, remain at the core of most of the violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and I repeat my calls to Israel to end immediately the expansion of the settlements, and to address settler related-violence."
On June 15, 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna. Prime Minister Netanyahu stated:
"Mr. Minister, yesterday I received our official government report about last year's conflict in Gaza. The report demonstrates unequivocally that our military actions during that conflict were in full accordance with international law, that Israel was exercising its legitimate right of self-defense.
We fulfill our responsibility to protect our people against terrorist who perpetuate and perpetrate a double war crime. Hamas terrorist deliberately target our civilians while deliberately hiding behind their civilians. That's a double war crime. And I think that it under-points the fact that there is a travesty here. Because even though we're fighting, Hamas terrorists who are committing the double war crime of targeting our civilians while hiding behind their civilians, Israel operates in accordance with the highest standards of international law. We take every step to avoid civilian casualties, including on the enemy's sides.
We don't do this because of some UN committee. We do it because this is deeply ingrained in our values. We don't shrink from investigating ourselves when necessary and Israel's mechanisms to investigate our own military are second to none. I say that without any hesitation. There is no country that investigates its military for possible wrongdoings more that Israel. There is no such country in the world. We examine all such allegations professionally, thoroughly, where they're subjected to an independent judicial review by military and civilian courts.
Now I compare this to this committee that we have. The UN Human Rights Committee that has put a so called investigation against Israel. Israel was pronounced guilty before the investigation even began. They appointed a person to head this committee who was being paid by the Palestinian. This committee has more resolutions against Israel than against North Korea, Syria, and Iran combined. This tells you of what we're dealing with. So this campaign, these attacks against Israel, these investigations against Israel have nothing to do with human rights. They have everything to do with politically inspired attacks in a cynical effort to de-legitimize Israel using UN bodies.
Yesterday Palestinian President Abbas called for the labeling and boycotting of Israeli products. This is definitely not the language of peace. We will continue to resist boycotts, defamations, de-legitimization. We'll do that internationally, we'll do that locally if we need to, and our hand will remain stretched out for peace for any partner that wants to have peace with us. And I hope, Mr. Minister, we can discuss how to advance a genuine peace and stop the slandering of Israel.
I say that to the foreign minister of a free proud and independent Poland, on whose soil the defamation of the Jewish people happened when the Nazis controlled Europe. The attacks on the Jews were always preceded by the slander of the Jews. What was done to the Jewish people then is being done to the Jewish state now. We won't accommodate that. In those days we could do nothing. Today we can speak our mind, hold our ground. We're going to do both."
"The U.N. peacekeepers arrive; months later, some leave infants behind. Now the United Nations has quietly started to offer DNA testing to help prove paternity claims and ensure support for the so-called 'peacekeeper babies.'
It's a delicate step, as countries that contribute U.N. troops might not welcome a practice that could prove not only fatherhood but wrongdoing. Of the dozen paternity claims received last year, four were associated with alleged sexual abuse of a minor...
No one knows how many children have been fathered by U.N. peacekeepers over the decades in some of the world's most troubled places. About 125,000 peacekeepers are deployed in 16 locations, almost all in Africa or the Middle East. Sexual abuse and exploitation remains a problem, with little support available for victims.
While the U.N. has worked with member states before on paternity claims, it only started offering a DNA collection protocol, and testing kits, last year...
Almost half of the paternity claims reported since January 2010 – 14 out of 29 – were made by minors who said they had been sexually abused. The U.N., nervous about angering member states amid a persistent need for peacekeepers, does not even list the countries whose troops are accused..."