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Resources updated between Monday, June 18, 2012 and Sunday, June 24, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

A version of This article by Anne Bayefsky originally appeared on PJ Media.

The Obama administration has fallen into an unfortunate habit in its desperation to burnish strong foreign policy credentials – claiming its representatives have made robust statements to an international audience that they haven't. On Monday this week it happened again. The State Department posted what was alleged to be a hard-nosed speech delivered by UN Human Rights Council Ambassador Eileen Donahoe in Geneva at the opening of the Council's latest session. Listening closely to what she actually said, the tough talk wasn't uttered.

Here is what the State Department claims Obama's Ambassador said, but didn't:

    The United States demands an end to the Assad regime's outrageous crimes against the people of Syria. Those who committed these atrocities must be identified and held accountable.

Here are more words from her purported "speech" that Donahoe failed to mouth:
    Some believe that the Human Rights Council should not address country-specific situations. We disagree. The credibility of the UN's human rights machinery depends on its capacity to address urgent and persistent human rights situations where and when they emerge; to make a difference in the lives of the people who suffer under oppressive governments; and to protect those around the world who work to advance the cause of human rights.

This isn't the first time that the Obama administration record has been doctored.

In September 2010, two months after a series of systematic mass rapes began in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there was an informal meeting on the subject over a Human Rights Council session lunch break. Very deliberately it was not a meeting of the Council itself, there was no advertisement in the UN bulletin, no webcast, no recording service, and no UN press release on the event. But the U.S. mission to Geneva issued a press release with the title: "United States Welcomes Engagement by Human Rights Council on Abuses in DRC." The press release included a large file photo of a full meeting in the Council chamber - though the "informal dialogue" had purposely not been scheduled in that chamber. The press release also quoted Ambassador Donahoe as saying: "Today's meeting demonstrated that the Council can react to events in real time." A few days later, Donahoe wrapped up the Council session with the praise: "I also recognize the forward movement made on other important human-rights issues this session. ... I welcome the council's engagement on the issue of the mass rapes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This showed the council's ability to react to real events in real time and to contribute its voice to this important issue." Not only was two months later not "real time," but the Council itself had not reacted at all.

Again in September 2010 the U.S. UN mission to Geneva gave UN officials a copy of a Donahoe "speech" to the Human Rights Council – that was duly posted on the UN website –containing a spirited defense of Israel. Israel was under attack for having prevented Turkish-backed thugs from breaking its lawful blockade of Hamas-run Gaza. But here are the words in the posted statement that Donahoe did not in fact deliver:
    In contrast to the unbalanced mechanisms adopted under this agenda item, Israel has been conducting its own process of credible investigations, and Israeli officials have been actively engaged in scrutinizing doctrinal issues. Israel has also established an independent public commission to examine the Israeli mechanism for investigating complaints and claims raised in relation to violations of the laws of armed conflict. This commission is headed by respected Israeli jurist Yaakov Turkel and includes two international observers: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lord David Trimble and former Canadian Judge Advocate General Kenneth Watkin. This commission, along with the ongoing inquiries and changes in combat doctrine demonstrate Israel's ability to conduct credible investigations and serious self-scrutiny, and we urge this Council to consider these factors as it deliberates.

Here's another. The Council continued its Turkish flotilla discussion in September 2010 and the State Department website claims that Donahoe delivered a speech in which she said: "We have received the lengthy report of the fact-finding mission. We are concerned by the report's unbalanced language, tone and conclusions." But what she actually said was: "On an initial reading, we are concerned by the report's unbalanced language, tone and conclusions."

And again. In June 2010 the State Department posted a hard-hitting speech supposedly delivered at the Human Rights Council on the subject of Iran by the Norwegian Ambassador on behalf of a group of countries including the United States. In point of fact, after being interrupted by fourteen separate points of order and a two-hour suspension of the meeting, the Ambassador carefully omitted the word 'Iran' three times from the original written text and cautiously sputtered: "We call on *the aforementioned government* to live up to the commitments it has undertaken ... and to fulfill its obligations. ... [We] wish to see an improvement in the human rights situation of individual people *in this country.*" Donahoe even acknowledged the walking back, telling Reuters that the statement "is intended as a show of solidarity with the human rights defenders, rather than a condemnation of the government" – but the alleged tough rebuke of Iran still graces the Obama administration website.

In short, team Obama has given new meaning to the caveat – which they don't bother to use – "Check Against Delivery."

The Obama foreign policy in a nutshell: Check Against Delivery

State Department Fakes Tough Talk at UN Human Rights Council Article

June 21, 2012

First time up, UN freedom of assembly & association "expert"- labeled big success by Obama admin - falls short

Charade continues: "Human Rights" Council expert on peaceful assembly equates Canada with - Belarus Development

UN 'Human Rights" Council member Saudi Arabia again beheads someone for sorcery, witchcraft

Saudi Witch Hunt: A man beheaded on ''witchcraft and sorcery'' charges Human Rights Voices

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This article by Anne Bayefsky originally appeared on National Post.

The UN's top human rights body, the UN Human Rights Council, opened its current session in Geneva this week with...Canada-bashing. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, ran down a list of human rights issues around the world that in her view were particularly pressing: Syria for crimes against humanity, a military coup in Mali, torture and summary executions in Eritrea, political prison camps and public executions in North Korea – and human rights in Quebec.

The only human rights issue Pillay described as "alarming" were "moves to restrict freedom of assembly" and the only alarming instance she could summon up were restrictions in Quebec. The only issue about which she said she was "disappointed" was the law in Quebec. And the only specific concern she had with the violation of "freedom of association" anywhere the world over was in Quebec.

What's behind her preposterous move?

In the same speech she spoke about those very same rights in a different context, namely, the Arab world. Her short remark was this: "She [the UN Deputy High Commissioner] visited Lebanon in May 2012, to attend a regional conference on freedoms of expression, association and assembly." In other words, the High Commissioner used the occasion of landscaping the world's human rights problems and her office's response, to promote a Hezbollah-backed "human rights" charade and legitimize the terrorist-backed government's purported interest in freedom of expression, association and assembly.

More specifically, her deputy Kyung-wha Kang traveled to the Lebanese conference on May 22, 2012, glad-handed Hezbollah-backed officials, and declared to the assembled: "Countries represented here today are States Party to most of the core international human rights treaties, and to the Arab Charter on Human Rights. The human rights standards developed by the community of States in those treaties provide us with the necessary guidelines that define freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly. They define the allowable restrictions and the scope of interpretation that can help find the needed balance."

Just what does the Arab Charter on Human Rights say? It begins with the following "human rights" agenda: "Rejecting all forms of racism and Zionism, which constitute a violation of human rights and a threat to international peace and security." It goes on to reaffirm "the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam" which – among other things declares "All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah."

So now what we know what "definitions" and "balance" would make more sense to the UN's top human rights officials than Bill 78.

Perhaps most troubling about Pillay's action, was the total failure of the UN's top human rights expert to acknowledge the essential distinction between democracies and non-democracies. The Quebec law has been challenged in a court system characterized by an independent judiciary which will ultimately determine its legality. Though the difference between Canada and the Syria's of this world could not be more basic, a twisted concept of even-handedness drives UN outcomes.

Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, has long been familiar with this UN modus operandi. The Human Rights Council – created in 2006 as the new and improved version of the UN Human Rights Commission that once sported Libya as its President – has adopted resolutions and decisions condemning specific states for human rights violations. 41% of all them have been directed at Israel alone.

By contrast, there has been no resolution about Saudi Arabia, which this week again beheaded someone for sorcery, witchcraft and adultery. Nor has there been a single resolution on China, where fleeing to the American embassy during a visit of the U.S. Secretary of State is the most viable option for a human rights activist wanting to leave the country. On the contrary, Saudi Arabia and China are both members of the Human Rights Council. Exasperated by the hypocrisy, Israel has decided not to participate in the kangaroo court and this is the first session in which its observer seat is empty.

Navi Pillay's decision to target Canada in this go-round was, therefore, entirely in character. She is perhaps best known for having questioned the legality of the killing of Osama Bin Laden within hours of his death. She is also the lead champion of the Durban "anti-racism" declaration and remained glued to her chair during the second Durban Conference – while diplomats from democratic states walked out en masse – when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad questioned the veracity of the Holocaust.

The tragedy of the contorted view of human rights applied by UN officials anxious to impress UN majorities – Pillay's term was renewed just a few weeks ago – is that Canada is a true friend of human rights at home and abroad. Over the years, regardless of party, Canadian representatives have never argued that Canada is above reproach and cannot do better. Not only has Canada been generous with human rights-related dollars on many fronts, for decades it has taken the lead at the UN itself on central human rights issues ranging from freedom of expression to Iran.

Today's UN "human rights" system, therefore, poses a serious challenge for democracies wanting to move forward, a challenge requiring a fundamental rethinking of international priorities, institutional commitments, and new organizations fit for the 21st century.

June 19, 2012

After 10 years and hundreds of millions of dollars, the ICC has completed precisely one trial

The Absurd International Criminal Court Article

June 18, 2012