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What's New

Resources updated between Monday, May 11, 2009 and Sunday, May 17, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

  • Number of fully free countries on the UN's lead human rights body

    -> less than 50%

  • Balance of power on the UN Human Rights Council

    -> Organization of the Islamic Conference

    (Islamic states elected enough states to form a majority of both the African and Asian regional groups; the African and Asian regional groups together hold a majority of seats on the Council)

  • Number of votes obtained by the United States as compared to the number of votes for Kyrgyzstan: 167 U.S. vs. 174 Kyrgyzstan

  • Number of votes for the three slots reserved for Western states, with only three Western states running (i.e. a fixed slate):

    -> Norway - 179

    -> Belgium - 177

    -> United States - 167 (the least number of votes)

Watch video here.
Human Rights Council Elections

held in the UN General Assembly;

Commentary, Anne Bayefsky

May 12, 2009

New York, UN Headquarters

This article, by Anne Bayefsky, originally appeared in National Review Online.

In advance of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the United States on Monday, President Obama unveiled a new strategy for throwing Israel to the wolves. It takes the form of enthusiasm for the United Nations and international interlopers of all kinds. Instead of ensuring strong American control over the course of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations or the Arab-Israeli peace process, the Obama administration is busy inserting an international mob between the U.S. and Israel. The thinking goes: If Israel doesn't fall into an American line, Obama will step out of the way, claim his hands are tied, and let the U.N. and other international gangsters have at their prey.

It began this past Monday with the adoption of a so-called presidential statement by the U.N. Security Council. Such statements are not law, but they must be adopted unanimously - meaning that U.S. approval was essential and at any time Obama could have stopped its adoption. Instead, he agreed to this: "The Security Council supports the proposal of the Russian Federation to convene, in consultation with the Quartet and the parties, an international conference on the Middle East peace process in Moscow in 2009."

This move is several steps beyond what the Bush administration did in approving Security Council resolutions in December and January - which said only that "The Security Council welcomes the Quartet's consideration, in consultation with the parties, of an international meeting in Moscow in 2009." Apparently Obama prefers a playing field with 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, 22 members of the Arab League - most of whom don't recognize the right of Israel to exist - and one Jewish state. A great idea - if the purpose is to ensure Israel comes begging for American protection.

The U.N. presidential statement also makes laudatory references to another third-party venture, the 2002 Arab "Peace" Initiative. That's a Saudi plan to force Israel to retreat to indefensible borders in advance of what most Arab states still believe will be a final putsch down the road. America's U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, announced to the Security Council that "we intend to integrate the Arab Peace Initiative into our own approach."

Make no mistake: This U.N. move, made with U.S. approval, sets America on a well-calculated collision course with Israel. U.S. collusion on this presidential statement was directly at odds with Israel's wishes and well-founded concerns about the U.N.'s bona fides on anything related to Israel. Israeli U.N. ambassador Gabriella Shalev issued a statement of Israel's position: "Israel does not believe that the involvement of the Security Council contributes to the political process in the Middle East. This process should be bilateral and left to the parties themselves. Furthermore, the timing of this Security Council meeting is inappropriate as the Israeli government is in the midst of conducting a policy review, prior to next week's visit by Prime Minister Netanyahu to the United States. . . . Israel shared its position with members of the Security Council."

By contrast, Rice told reporters: "We had a very useful and constructive meeting thus far of the Council. We welcome Foreign Minister Lavrov's initiative to convene the Council, and we're very pleased with the constructive and comprehensive statement that will be issued by the president of the Council on the Council's behalf. This was a product of really collaborative, good-faith efforts by all members of the Council, and we're pleased with the outcome."

The Obama administration's total disregard of Israel's obvious interest in keeping the U.N. on the sidelines was striking. Instead of reiterating the obvious - that peace will not come if bigots and autocrats are permitted to ram an international "solution" down the throat of the only democracy at the table - Rice told the Council: "The United States cannot be left to do all the heavy lifting by itself, and other countries . . . must do all that they can to shore up our common efforts." In a break with decades of U.S. policy, the Obama strategy is to energize a U.N. bad cop so that the U.S. might assume the role of good cop - for a price.

On Tuesday the Obama administration did it again: It ran for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council. As expected, the administration won election to represent the Council's Western European and Others Group - it was a three-state contest for three spaces.

The Council is most famous, not for protecting human rights, but for its obsession with Israel. In its three-year history it has:

  • adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than condemning the 191 other U.N. members combined;

  • entrenched an agenda with only ten items, one permanently reserved for condemning Israel and another for condemning any other U.N. state that might "require the Council's attention";

  • held ten regular sessions on human rights, and five special sessions to condemn only Israel;

  • insisted on an investigator with an open-ended mandate to condemn Israel, while all other investigators must be regularly renewed;

  • spawned constant investigations on Israel, and abolished human-rights investigations (launched by its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights) into Belarus, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Moreover, every morning before the Human Rights Council starts, all states - and even observers like the Palestinians - get together in their regional blocs for an hour to negotiate, share information, and determine positions. All, that is, except Israel. The Western European and Others Group refuses to give Israel full membership. Now the U.S. will be complicit in this injustice.

Joining the Council has one immediate effect on U.S.-Israel relations: It gives the Obama administration a new stick to use against Israel. Having legitimized the forum through its membership and participation, the U.S. can now attempt to extract concessions from Israel in return for American objections to the Council's constant anti-Israel barrage.

Obama administration officials may believe they can put the lid back on Pandora's box after having invited the U.N., Russia, the Arab League, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to jump into the process of manufacturing a Palestinian state while Israel is literally under fire. They have badly miscalculated. By making his bed with countries that have no serious interest in democratic values, the president has made our world a much more dangerous place.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Remember that Germany had the courage and conviction to refuse to participate in the Durban II racist "anti-racism" conference? Remember that Germany decided it would not sit on the anniversary of Hitler's birthday - opening day of Durban II - and listen to Iranian President Ahmadinejad promote another Holocaust? Remember that Germany refused to lend credibility to Durban II by deciding not to attend any of it?

That was weeks ago when the fiasco of Durban II was in the public eye. Today, the same Germany has double-crossed Jews, Israel and all those who care about anti-semitism and the demonization of the Jewish state.

Germany has now agreed to the outcome document from Durban II - the document which "reaffirms" Durban I's smear that Israelis are racists.

Confirmation of Germany's position on the Durban II outcome document can now be found on the website of the German mission to the United Nations: the "document, from the German point of view, is an acceptable basis for the continuing struggle against racial discrimination and xenophobia."

German officials also now admit that they have highlighted their new found enthusiasm for Durban II to UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay in a bilateral meeting.

Furthermore, the Draft Report of the UN High Commissioner's office on Durban II, claims that Germany attended the conference. Germany is listed under the heading "The following States were represented at the Review Conference." In fact, Germany was not physically present and its chair was empty throughout. German officials, however, have confirmed that they have not asked the UN High Commissioner to correct the report.

So here is how Germany in 2009 does business - the dirty business of encouraging anti-semitism while claiming it is doing the opposite:

(1) Germany represents itself to the world as a country which rejects Durban II as a vehicle for combating racism. On April 19, 2009 German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier declared that "there is still a risk the conference will be used as a platform for the pursuit of other interests, just as its predecessor in 2001 was. That is something we cannot accept." The German UN mission website subsequently explained their refusal to participate by saying "we feared that this conference, just as the previous conference in 2001, would be abused as a platform for other interests. Unfortunately, these fears were confirmed."

(2) Behind closed doors Germany represents to the UN that it accepts the product of this platform for anti-semitism.

(3) Germany decides to cover-up the fact that it had denied Durban II legitimacy by refusing to participate - and is allowing the UN to claim that it participated, when it didn't. Editor Anne Bayefsky asked on April 17th, 2009 during the last Durban II planning meeting: will Germany grant legitimacy to a forum which tolerates the presence of an advocate of genocide against the Jewish people? The answer, we now know, is "yes."

This article, by Anne Bayefsky, originally appeared in The Washington Times.

The United Nations General Assembly elected the members of its lead human rights body, the Human Rights Council, Tuesday in New York and among them are some of the world's worst human rights abusers.

Now in a position to give the rest of us advice on protecting human rights are Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba and Russia. In a slap in the face to President Obama, the United States was elected with fewer votes than either Belgium or Norway, the only two other states running for the three Western slots. Even a country like Kyrgyzstan received more votes than the United States.

A special mockery of the process resulted from this year's election of Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan. The U.N. resolution that created the council, and abolished the discredited commission before it, was hailed as an achievement because it was said to require pledges from candidates to protect human rights. Candidates Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan had no difficulty getting elected though neither had bothered to make any pledge at all, let alone making promises they had no intention of keeping.

Electability as a U.N. human rights authority, however, has little to do with caring about human rights. The Chinese circulated a pledge reading: "The Chinese government is committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Chinese people and has worked unremittingly toward this goal." That would be news to the billion Chinese subject to arrest for typing "human rights" into an Internet search.

And China is not alone - Tuesday's election also means a majority of council members are not fully free democracies (on the Freedom House scale).

The election also solidified the chokehold of the Organization of the Islamic Conference on the United Nations' human rights agency. The OIC managed to defeat Kenya, a non-Islamic but major African state. This enabled the OIC to retain a majority of the council seats allotted to the African regional group. The OIC also maintained a majority of the seats allotted to the Asian group. Since the Africans and Asians together hold an absolute majority on the council, Islamic countries hold the balance of power.

The OIC stranglehold on what the United Nations considers "human rights" has meant the council has been fixated on condemning Israel and removing Islamic and other human rights violators from their agenda. In its short three-year history the council has adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning the state of Israel than all other 191 U.N. member states combined. At the same time, it has abolished human rights investigations into the abysmal human rights conditions in Belarus, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Into this human rights farce now strolls the United States.

Following the election, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice could hardly contain her glee. She told reporters the United States was there to change things - that old "join now and reform some time in the future" line. It is hard to understand why Ms. Rice and Mr. Obama can't just do the math. Of a total of 47 seats, there will be one U.S. vote and 26 votes controlled by the Islamic group; there are just seven Western votes altogether. The United States is either going to lose big or it is going to join "consensus" on human rights abominations because news of losing too often might find its way back to American taxpayers - who foot 22 percent of the bill.

On Tuesday, the United States became part of the problem and not the solution. By being elected to pretend to protect human rights along with the likes of China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia, the United States gave the election and the council a stamp of approval it didn't deserve. Promoting the tool of human rights abusers promotes human rights abuse - now courtesy of the president of the United States.

May 13, 2009

Navanethem Pillay

Pro-Islamist UN High Commissioner for Human Rights analogizes Gaza to Darfur while calling the racist Durban anti-racism conference a great success.

Human Rights at the U.N. Article

May 12, 2009

May 11, 2009