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July 28, 2016 / 22 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘UN Watch’

World Health Organization Names Israel as Sole Abuser of Health Rights

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Once again Israel has been singled out as the lone perpetrator of evil by the Council of the Wise at a select agency of the United Nations. This one, however, came as somewhat of a surprise, for it was the United Nations’ World Health Organization — which should know better by now — that passed a resolution last week at its 2016 World Assembly, naming Israel as the planet’s sole abuser of health rights.

It’s tough to believe that some of those who voted in favor of the resolution could actually believe for even a second the nonsense they supported.

The motion was sponsored by the Arab Group of States together with a delegation from the Palestinian Authority.

The resolution calls for an investigation into Israel’s alleged abuse of mental, physical and environmental health rights.

The United Kingdom, Germany, France and other European Union nations also voted in favor of the resolution. Moreover, a report from the investigation is to be placed on the agenda again at next year’s meeting.

The UN assembly, by contrast, did not mention: • the millions of Yemenis denied access to food and water in their war-torn country; • the gassing of Syrian citizens by their own government, the bombing of Syrian hospitals • the weapons, including rocket launchers, hidden by Hamas in Gaza hospitals • the criminals whose limbs have been cut off by the Saudi Arabian government, Just to name a few other basic health concerns.

Out of 24 items on the meeting agenda, however, only one — Item No. 19 against Israel — focused on a specific country.

“The UN reached new heights of absurdity today,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, “by enacting a resolution which accuses Israel of violating the health rights of Syrians in the Golan, even as in reality Israeli hospitals continue their life-saving treatment for Syrians fleeing to the Golan from the [President Bashar al-] Assad regime’s barbaric attacks.”

This is beyond the height of silliness, given the number of Syrians treated in Israeli field hospitals — and in hospitals within Israel itself — regardless of their allegiance, and that humanitarian gesture provided to citizens of a nation with which Israel is still at war.

Hana Levi Julian

The Schabes Report Had ‘Biased Mandate’ and ‘Unreliable Sources’

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Israeli officials continue to analyze The Schabes Report sparked by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and authored by the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict.” Most have noted the striking anti-Israel bias in the report.

“It is regrettable that the report fails to recognize the profound difference between Israel’s moral behavior during Operation Protective Edge and the terror organizations it confronted,” said a statement from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in response.

“This report was commissioned by a notoriously biased institution, given an obviously biased mandate, and initially headed by a grossly biased chairperson, William Schabas.”

Schabas, a Canadian professor of international law, was found to have been a past legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a clear conflict of interest that he tried to conceal from the United Nations, according to the Foreign Ministry. Israel revealed the history, forcing Schabas to resign in February 2015.

“The Commission of Inquiry … lacked the necessary tools and expertise to conduct a professional and serious examination of armed conflict situations,” the ministry added.

The human rights watchdog agency NGO Monitor noted in a separate statement that the report was an “improvement” over its UN investigation-generated predecessors, including the 2009 Goldstone Report.

However, “it still quotes extensively from biased and unreliable political advocacy NGOs,” noted the agency.

“The UNHRC report would be entirely different without the baseless and unverifiable allegations of non-governmental organizations,” said Anne Herzberg, Legal Advisor at NGO Monitor.

“Despite efforts to consult a wider array of sources, the report produced by McGowan Davis and her team lacks credibility as a result of NGO influence.”

NGO Monitor’s initial review of the Commission of Inquiry’s “detailed findings” showed that NGOs were referenced, cited, and quoted at a high volume: B’Tselem was the most referenced NGO with 69 citations, followed by Amnesty International (53), Palestinian Center for Human Rights (50), and Al Mezan (29). UNWRA and UN-OCHA were also featured throughout the report.

NGOs were also sourced for factual claims beyond their capabilities: in one instance, the report repeated B’Tselem’s conclusions about whether individuals in Gaza “posed [] danger to other persons.”

Human Rights Watch, as opposed to a military expert, was quoted with regards to the “lethal radius for a 155mm high explosive projectile.”

Breaking the Silence was cited as the basis for the accusation that the IDF adopted “the vast scale of destruction…as a tactic of war.”

The lack of military expertise in the Commission and the UN staff clearly hampered the investigation and the resulting publication,” continued Herzberg. “In particular, the COI makes numerous assertions about feasible precautions, identification of military objectives, military necessity, and standards applied by reasonable commanders.

“In at least four independent studies by military experts, including Richard Kemp, the former head of British forces in Afghanistan, former senior U.S. generals and the former senior military officer for NATO all concluded that not only did Israel exceed the requirements of international law in the Gaza Conflict, but that its precautionary efforts to protect civilians were unprecedented in the history of warfare.”

NGO Monitor and UN Watch have prepared an independent, fully sourced and detailed book on the 2014 Israel-Hamas conflict, called “Filling in the Blanks, which provides an alternative narrative to The Schabes Report. The book is available to readers for download in PDF format by clicking here.

Hana Levi Julian

UN Watch Condemns Saudi Bid to Head UN Human Rights Council

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

The fundamentalist Saudi monarchy is seeking to head the world’s top human rights body, a move liable to be “the final nail in the coffin for the credibility of a body that already counts dictatorships like China, Cuba, and Russia as members, and whose top advisor is co-founder of the Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights group.

“We urge U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and EU foreign minister Federica Mogherini to denounce this despicable act of cynicism by a regime that beheads people in the town square, systematically oppresses women, Christians, and gays, and jails innocent bloggers like Raif Badawi for the crime of challenging the rulers’ radical brand of Wahabbist Islam.”

UN Watch has learned from diplomatic sources that Saudi Arabia, an elected member of the 47-nation Human Rights Council, is actively lobbying the Asian group to be elected as president for 2016. The story was recently confirmed by the Tribune de Genève. Germany currently holds the presidency, a one-year term that rotates among the five regional groups.

“Electing Saudi Arabia as the world’s judge on human rights would be like making a pyromaniac the town fire chief,” said Neuer.

The council has already been heavily criticized by rights activists for turning a blind eye toward the world’s worst abusers. In its 9-year history, for example, there has not been a single resolution, urgent session or investigation of gross abuses by China, Russia, Cuba, Pakistan, or Venezuela.

U.S. & EU Bear Blame for Failing to Oppose Saudi Election as UNHRC Member

The U.S. and the European Union failed to oppose Saudi Arabia’s election to the council in 2013, said Neuer. “We urged them to oppose the election of Saudi Arabia, yet Washington and Brussels did nothing; now they must take responsibility and at least stop the Saudi from seizing the presidency,” he added.

“It’s time for the politics of oil to stop trumping the basic principles of human rights.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

Frenkel’s Mother to Implore UN HRC: Please Help Find Our Boys

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Rachel Frenkel  will address the United Nations Human Rights Council tomorrow, June 24.

Frenkel is the mother of 16 year old Israeli-American Naftali Frenkel, one of the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped on June 12.

UN Watch, a human rights non-governmental organization, invited Frenkel to come to Geneva from Israel, and to use the NGO’s allotted slot to address the HRC. She will use her time to implore the global human rights body and the entire “international community do everything it can to help find the boys and bring them home safely,” according to a statement released by UN Watch.

Frenkel will address the HRC at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow, which is 5:00 a.m. in New York, and 12:00 noon in Israel.

Hillel Neuer is the executive director of UN Watch.

“UN Watch condemns the kidnapping of the three boys, which the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] rightly described as a war crime, and calls for their immediate, unconditional and safe return,” Neuer said.

“This heinous act violates international humanitarian law, which prohibits targeting civilians and the taking of hostages. We are in awe of Mrs. Frenkel’s strength of spirit, and are grateful for the opportunity to offer her an international platform to appeal for the safe release of her son and the other two boys. We hope the international community will collectively heed her call,” he continued.

Frenkel will also be meeting with senior international officials while she is in Geneva, in an effort to enlist their assistance. UN Watch is helping to facilitate those meetings.

Naftali Frenkel, along with Gilad Shaar and Eyal Nifrach, are believed to have been kidnapped by Hamas terrorists. They were abducted Thursday evening, June 12. One of the boys was able to leave a brief telephone message with a police hotline, explaining that they had been kidnapped. The Israel Defense Force and other security organizations have been searching ceaselessly to recover the boys.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Falk’s Departure a Victory for Human Rights (VIDEO)

Monday, March 24th, 2014

One year after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Richard Falk’s comments blaming the Boston Marathon bombings on “the American global domination project,” and three years after the UN chief addressed the council plenary and condemned Falk’s “preposterous” support for 9/11 conspiracy theories, the controversial UN official will address the UN Human Rights Council today for the last time, as his six-year mandate comes to an end.

“This is a victory foremost for the Arab Palestinian people,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, “whose UN representatives famously urged Falk to leave because his extremism severely harmed the Palestinian cause.”

The PA also froze one of Falk’s reports for many months.

Falk is the only UN official in history to have been denounced by top UN figures and world leaders.

In reaction to Falk’s April 19, 2013 justification of the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks, UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman said: “The Secretary-General rejects Mr. Falk’s comments” which “undermine the credibility and the work of the United Nations.” Click here for sources.

The British Mission to the United Nations also condemned Mr. Falk’s April 19, 2013 remarks on the Boston bombing as racist, highlighting it was the third time the British Government had to do so.

CONDEMNED FOR SUPPORTING 9/11 CONPIRACY THEORISTS

Falk is one of the world’s most high-profile supporters of the leading 9/11 conspiracy theorists, lending his name to those who accuse the U.S. government of orchestrating the destruction of the Twin Towers as a pretext to launch wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Falk has actively promoted the writings of David Ray Griffin, a disciple and close friend of Falk who has produced 12 books describing the World Trade Center attack as “an inside job.”

Falk not only contributed the Foreword to Griffin’s 2004 “The New Pearl Harbor”—praising the author’s “patience,” “fortitude,” “courage,” and “intelligence”—but Griffin credits Falk for getting the book published, and also specially thanks Falk’s wife, Hilal Elver, top nominee this week to be named a UN human rights council expert on hunger. Elver quotes Griffin in her scholarly essays.

In 2011 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon  took the floor of the Human Rights Council to issue an unprecedented condemnation of Falk’s 9/11 remarks, saying they were “preposterous” and “an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in that tragic terrorist attack.”

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice in 2011 denounced Falk’s comments as “despicable and deeply offensive,” and condemned Falk’s “one-sided and politicized approach,” saying his words were “so noxious that it should finally be plain to all that he should no longer continue in his position,” and that “the cause of human rights will be better advanced without Mr. Falk and the distasteful sideshow he has chosen to create.”

Watch a UN Watch uploaded video of Richard Falk explaining why Israel is “genocidal.”

Hillel Neuer

Campaign to Oust Russia, Others, From UN Human Rights Council

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

On the same day that Russia issued an ultimatum to Ukraine either to hand over Crimea or prepare for a Russian military assault on that sovereign nation, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations thanked delegates for supporting Russia’s election to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

During the opening session of the UNHRC, on Monday, March 3, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov thanked delegates for supporting Russia’s election to the Council. He said that vote was “an acknowledgement of our country’s constructive approach to this sphere of multilateral cooperation.” He added, that “the protection of human and civil rights and freedoms is a basic priority.”

The irony was apparently too much even for longstanding residents of the Orwellian world of the U.N.

The response by a coalition of government members, non-governmental organizations and human rights activists was to kick off a global campaign to suspend the memberships of Russia and fellow human rights abusers China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia. The four took their seats Monday as the UNHRC’s newest members.

They based their effort on Article 8 of the UNHRC charter, which permits the suspension of member states guilty of gross and systematic violations of human rights. There is a precedent. In 2011, Libya was suspended after a similar campaign was led by the Geneva-based human rights NGO UN Watch, which is also spearheading this effort.

“Hypocrisy on this scale undermines the credibility of the human rights council and of the United Nations as a whole,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

“The UN’s top human rights body is supposed to protect victims and hold the world’s worst perpetrators to account, not turn them into judges and prosecutors.”

European Parliament vice-president Edward McMillan-Scott, Canadian parliamentarian Irwin Cotler, Baroness Ludford of the European Parliament, and former MP of Hungary Matyas Eörsi have joined NGOs and rights activists from around the world to call for the UN to suspend the four abusers from the 47-nation body.

Irwin Cotler, member of Canadian Parliament, former Canadian Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada joined with other parliamentary leaders who signed UN Watch’s #dictatorfreeHRC campaign to suspend China, Cuba, Russia, and Saudia Arabia from the UNHRC.

Colter said, “The membership of China, Cuba, Russia, and Saudi Arabia on the Human Rights Council constitutes a standing repudiation of the international struggle for human rights, and a betrayal of the victims. It makes a mockery of both the UNHRC and the purported commitment to human rights of the many countries who cast votes for the human rights reprobates in question.”

Matyas Eörsi, a former member of the Hungarian parliament and the former president of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, spoke harshly about the membership in the UNHRC.

“With such members in the Human Rights Council, the UN continues to remain a lame duck. We have no hope from the UN. As long as the Russian Federation, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and China sit in the Human Rights Council, we Ukrainians, we Cuban dissidents, we Chinese Christians and we Saudi Arabian women cannot seek for any support by the UN.”

This is a video describing the effort to remove dictatorships from sitting in judgment as members of the UN Human Rights Council.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Report: Israel to Join Europe Group at UN Human Rights Council

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Israel may join for the first time a regional group within the United Nations Human Rights Council as part of a deal to improve the U.N. body’s relations with the Jewish state.

The council’s Western European and Others Group (WEOG) is expected to announce that its member states have voted in favor of Israel’s admittance, The Times of Israel reported Friday.

The European states had agreed to welcome Israel into their midst in exchange for the Jewish state’s return to the council and its participation in its Universal Periodic Human Rights Review process.

Israel had left the council a year and a half ago to protest its alleged bias against it.

Since 2006, the council has passed 27 resolutions criticizing Israel and has convened 19 special sessions, six of which were about Israel. Regular sessions feature a permanent agenda item 7, “the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.”

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and several Western nations have criticized the council for singling Israel out for criticism.

“Though it’s not yet final, we are hopeful that Israel will very soon be admitted into the Human Rights Council’s Western group, putting an end to a longstanding act of discrimination whereby the Jewish state was the only nation to be excluded from a regional group,” said Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch, an NGO that monitors the United Nations.

Admission to the group would allow Israel to participate with all other U.N. member states in receiving regular briefings, and would enable it to have a say in the selection of council investigators, Neuer said. “More than anything, admission for Israel would be a sign of equal treatment, removing what has been an ugly stain of bigotry upon the reputation of the U.N.”

However, he added, “it will not detract from the Arab states’ continued ability to target Israel in resolutions, urgent sessions and a special agenda item.”

Earlier this month, senior diplomats from the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, Germany and France sent a letter to the U.N.’s institutions in Geneva and to the ambassador of Spain, who heads the WEOG, telling them to finally admit Israel into their circle.

On Oct. 29, Israel participated in the council’s so-called Universal Periodic Review, during which it was widely criticized for alleged human rights abuses.

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-israel-to-join-europe-group-at-un-human-rights-council/2013/12/01/

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