World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN rights council raps Israel, worst regimes misuse UPR

MEDIA RELEASE

UN rights council raps Israel, allows worst regimes to misuse UPR review


UAE threw a party yesterday at the UN to celebrate its UPR. Photo by UN Watch.

GENEVA, January 29 - The UN Human Rights Council today adopted yet another resolution on Israel, “regretting” that the Jewish state skipped a mandated review of its human rights record. Here is the text, obtained exclusively by UN Watch.

Israel’s 2012 decision to sever all ties with the the UNHRC, which maintains a permanent agenda item exclusively on Israel at every one of its sessions, meant that it would also miss its scheduled Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a process that examines all 193 countries for one day, every five years.

The one chosen earlier this month, by a draw of lots, to be one of three overseers of Israel’s review was newly elected UNHRC member Venezuela, the Iranian-allied dictatorship of Hugo Chavez.

"A jury of brigands is not justice, it’s a travesty," said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. "We regret that today's resolution failed to acknowledge the elephant in the room: the council's systematic bias against Israel."

While a chorus of dictatorships today lashed out at Israel’s decision to skip the UPR, accusing the Jewish state of wreaking apocalyptic damage upon a supposedly precious world institution, in reality, the UPR is, for the most part, a mutual praise society, as documented by the 100-page 2009 report by UN Watch of the same name.

Though the New York Times today praised the UPR’s “universal and collaborative characteristics,” saying it provided “a platform to scrutinize and discuss the situation of human rights in even the most closed and repressive regimes,” it apparently forgot that earlier it had reported on how Qaddafi’s Libyan regime came out of this supposedly rigorous review with top marks:

"Until Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s violent suppression of unrest in recent weeks, the United Nations Human Rights Council was kind in its judgment of Libya. In January, it produced a draft report on the country that reads like an international roll call of fulsome praise, when not delicately suggesting improvements. Evidently, within the 47-nation council, some pots are loath to call kettles black, at least until events force their hand." - New York Times, March 5, 2011

Former Amnesty USA director Suzanne Nossel called the UNHRC's UPR report “abhorrent.”

"It’s not for nothing that despots walk into this court with confidence and ease," said Neuer. UN Watch reported on yesterday’s lavish UPR party put on by the United Arab Emirates.

"What is more," said Neuer, "those accusing Israel of desecrating the UNHRC temple are the same who systematically turn a blind eye to the council’s persistent and pathological lynching of Israel: the special agenda item and special day against Israel at every session; the lopsided amount of resolutions against Israel, often amounting to more than the total adopted on the rest of the world combined; Israel’s exclusion from any of the council’s regional groups; and the completely one-sided mandate of the council’s permanent investigator on Palestine, Richard Falk, a man who was condemned by Ban Ki-moon for endorsing the 9/11 conspiracy theory, and who supports Hamas."

"For a council that does such things on an ongoing basis to then accuse Israel of undermining principle is the height of audacity and hypocrisy; the complainants come with unclean hands — very unclean hands," said Neuer.

How UPR is Used by Worst Abusers

UN Watch is deeply concerned that during the UPR reviews of the world's worst abusers, the proceedings, despite seeing a minority of genuine scrutiny, have been dominated by mutual praise.

We share the view of UPR supporters that the cause of human rights is advanced by the placing on record of positive recommendations and pledges of compliance.

Conversely, however, it also logically follows that the placing on record of a great many false statements harms the cause of human rights.

When members of large voting blocs grant each other immunity from scrutiny, as happened during the 2010 review of the Qaddafi regime, and of Venezuela in March 2012, the voices of victims are silenced.

UN Watch is concerned by a deepening culture of mutual praise, where members of large voting blocs grant each other immunity.

A substantial UN Watch study in 2009 measured how countries conduct UPR. Points were given to the degree a state scrutinized the country concerned, identifying specific and genuine human rights issues, and challenging non-compliance—which is the only way UPR can help victims.

Of 55 countries examined, including all 47 Council members, only 19 had overall positive scores. These included Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, the UK and the US.

Those found to contributed negatively to the process included Angola, Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Indonesia, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, the Philippines, Syria, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

The danger of the mutual praise is that the UPR review is then used as a seal of legitimacy.

For example, the government of Sri Lanka, on its Geneva Mission website, boasts of how it won “high praise for protecting human rights” and how “a number of delegations praised Sri Lanka for the quality of its national report.”

On 13 April 2008, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported as follows: “We felt that we were on Cloud 9, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said, in reporting the applause accorded the Philippine human rights presentation at the UPR.”

On 12 February 2009, IPS reported as follows: “Cuban delegates hailed the document, registering the opinions expressed at the debate during the UPR mechanism as a 'victory for truth and justice'.” The Cuban mission website features a similarly glowing account.

To improve the UPR, it will be important to reflect on all uses of this mechanism, the positive as well the counter-productive.

www.unwatch.org

UN Watch is a Geneva-based human rights organization founded in 1993 to monitor UN compliance with the principles of its Charter. It is accredited as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and as an Associate NGO to the UN Department of Public Information (DPI).

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news