In this Issue:
On Wednesday, Archbishop Desmond Tutu reported to the Council this week on his inquiry into Israel’s “willful killing of civilians” in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, created in November 2006. What the Council did not expect, however, was the speech that followed. In a powerful address, Irwin Cotler — Canadian parliamentarian, former justice minister and UN Watch board member — made public for the first time that he had rejected the Council president’s offer to join the mission, “a kind of Alice-in-Wonderland inquiry , where the conviction was secured and the sentence passed even before the inquiry began…” See text and video
On Monday, UN Watch addressed the Council to thank UN racism expert Doudou Diene for censuring Iran over its anti-Semitism and its hosting of anti-black racist David Duke : “When the Iranian leader addresses the General Assembly, he talks a lot about ‘human dignity’ and ‘justice.’ Yet in December, this same Assembly condemned Iran for treating its minorities with neither dignity nor justice…” See text and video
On Tuesday, UN Watch confronted Jean Ziegler , the virulently anti-Western UN official, in an address before the full plenary:”Mr. Ziegler, though your report cites the Libyan situation only in passing, you are uniquely positioned to protect these victims. As you mentioned last year on Swiss TV, once or twice a year you are personally hosted by Colonel Khadaffi, the Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution, for what you described as ‘intellectual discussions.’ Also, your credibility on human rights issues with the Libyan government is unimpeachable, due to your status as original spokesman, jury member and 2002 laureate of the Muammar Kaddafi Prize for Human Rights …” See text and video
D Libya Candidate to Head UN Anti-Racism Panel: The government of Libya was chosen for the 15-member governing bureau of a UN anti-racism conference to be held in Geneva later this month, and is a candidate to be its Chair. The Human Rights Council’s five regional groups also named Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Russia to the bureau of the conference charged with preparing a 2009 gathering that will follow up on the controversial Durban conference of 2001. Also declaring its candidacy for the Chair position is Armenia—hardly a paragon of virtue, except by comparison. Simply put, choosing Colonel Kaddafi to head a world anti-racism conference would be like appointing a pyromaniac to be town fire chief. How can a regime that consistently ranks as one of the most notorious violators of human rights—that sentenced to death five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor only because they were foreigners and therefore easy scapegoats—be charged with promoting fundamental principles of human dignity and equality?
C International Labor Organization Slams Iran, Myanmar, Venezuela: The UN’s International Labor Organization slammed Iran for its oppression of union members. The ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association deplored Iran’s heavy penal sentences against trade unionist organizers of a 2004 rally and requested their immediate release. The Committee also questioned the arrest of leaders from the Teachers Guild Association, who were allegedly interrogated, threatened and harassed by the Intelligence Ministry. Separately, the ILO credentials committee also rebuked the government of Iran—as well as Venezuela and Burma (Myanmar)—for manipulating employer and employee associations in order to control their delegates.