Issue 176: UN Declares Islamic Shari’a Taboo; UN Watch lance son site en francais

UN to Pay NGOs to Attend Durban II, Offers $2,000 Lump-Sum Grants

Geneva, July 8, 2008 — The UN’s human rights office announced today that it will pay NGOs up to $2,000 each to attend the upcoming African regional meeting in preparation for the 2009 Durban Review Conference on racism.Click here for UN lump-sum info

Despite assurances to the contrary, this means that the UN will likely wind up funding groups such as the Cairo-based Arab Lawyers Union, which circulated anti-Semitic materials at the original 2001 conference in South Africa, including Nazi-like caricatures that depicted Jews with hook-noses and fangs.

Although the UN announcement only refers to NGO funding for the August 24-26, 2008 preparatory meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, observers expect a similar policy to be applied to the April 2009 final conference to be held in Geneva.

The UN human rights office’s $214 million annual budget, drawn from the general UN budget and voluntary contributions, is mostly paid by Western countries.

UN Declares: Islamic Shari’a Taboo in Council Debates

Geneva — From now on, all references to human rights violations related to Islamic Shar’ia law are prohibited in the chamber of the UN Human Rights Council. So ruled council president Doru Costea after a dramatic debate in the recently concluded June session.

It all started when veteran rights activist David Littman — undaunted by the repressive regimes who only last month sought to expel him from the UN — tried to deliver a speech on violence against women and what Islamic scholars can do to prevent it.

Egypt’s Amr Roshdy Hassan repeatedly interrupted, aggressively challenging the council president: “Regardless of the result of the vote — I couldn’t care less if I will win or lose this vote — my point is that Islam will not be crucified in this council!”

The president ultimately gave in, declaring: “Statements should refrain from making judgments or evaluations of a particular religion. . . I can promise that at the next evaluation of a religious creed, law, or document, I will interrupt the speaker and we’ll go on to the next one.”

The new ruling follows an Islamic-sponsored text adopted by the council in March that turned its mandate on freedom of expression upside down. Instead of investigating the actions of governments in order to protect individual freedom, the expert is now charged with investigating individuals — those who “abuse” their freedom of speech through religious or racial discrimination, i.e., by saying anything deemed offensive to Islamic sensibilities. Everyone in the world is now potentially subject to the UN’s new speech control.

What does all of this signify?

An iron curtain has descended across the world’s highest human rights body. Behind that line lie all the human rights violations committed in the name of a certain religion, about which no one dare speak: suicide terror attacks, honor killings, female genital mutilation, forced child marriage, violence against gays, stonings, state censorship of free speech, jailing of bloggers, prohibitions against freedom of religion, and much, much more.

UN officials, diplomats and even major human rights figures have been afraid to take on this new regime, which now exercises an almost total control over the Human Rights Council, as well as increasing measures of influence over other forums of world opinion.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil,” said Edmund Burke, “is that good men do nothing.” Would that more people showed the courage of Mr. Littman.

Click here for full transcript of UN debate

UN Watch Quoted in National Post: “Arbour exits bruising UN posting”

By Graeme Hamilton

Montreal, June 21 — As United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour has made her share of enemies during the past four years. But with her term expiring on June 30, the former Supreme Court of Canada judge surely never expected that the most ferocious parting shot would come from back home.

On Tuesday, Vic Toews, Conservative MP and Treasury Board President, called Ms. Arbour “a disgrace” in the House of Commons. He later elaborated that “the comments that Louise Arbour has made in respect of the state of Israel and the people of Israel are, in fact, a disgrace, and I stand by those words.”

Far from dressing down Mr. Toews, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesman noted that the government congratulates Ms. Arbour on her “career” but added that it “hasn’t always agreed with the positions she has taken.”

As Ms. Arbour has noted, getting under people’s skins is part of the role of the high commissioner, which she assumed in 2004. “It would be extremely problematic to do this kind of work and make only friends,” she told CBC in March. But what is striking about her tenure is the degree to which her enemies are found not just in repressive dictatorships but in modern democracies. Critics accuse her of focusing too much on Israel and the United States, leaving the impression that they are abusers on a par with terrorists and tyrants.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch, has taken exception to much that Ms. Arbour has done in the Middle East. (Although even he thinks Mr. Toews went too far: “That’s not the kind of language we would use.”)

“There is no question that in her statements she has applied a double standard,” he said. “Israel, of course, has to be held accountable… The problem was that she made no distinction between terrorist groups that celebrate every time they hit civilians as a victory, as opposed to Israel, which is trying to defend itself from terrorist groups, and which regards every civilian killed in collateral damage as a tragedy.”

Ms. Arbour angered supporters of Israel when during the 2006 war in Lebanon, she said Israeli commanders were courting possible war-crimes prosecution. “The scale of the killings in the region, and their predictability, could engage the personal criminal responsibility of those involved, particularly those in a position of command and control,” she said. Later, during a visit to Israel, she implied that Israel was more deserving of blame because the terrorist rockets were rarely lethal, whereas the Israelis displayed “recklessness” and “catastrophic” civilian casualties were foreseeable.

Mr. Neuer said such statements play into Hezbollah’s hands. “The effect was really to encourage extremists,” he said. “I’m sure her intentions are pure, but I think it’s part of an ideology that does see America and Israel as part of the problem and not part of the solution.”

Click for more

UN’s Expert on Palestine Repeats Sept. 11 “Inside Job” Theory

By Joseph Abrams

June 19, 2008 — Critics are calling for the resignation of a U.N. official who publicly supports investigating theories that the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were an “inside job.”
Richard Falk, the special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, investigates alleged Israeli violations of human rights law for the U.N.’s Human Rights Council.

But the former Princeton professor would also like to investigate whether “some sort of controlled explosion from within” destroyed the Twin Towers, he told

“I do think there are questions that haven’t been answered, questions about the way the buildings collapsed and the failure to heed a variety of signals that there was danger coming,” Falk said…

Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, a non-governmental organization that monitors the U.N., wants Falk removed from his job.

“He should resign,” said Neuer, who raised concerns about Falk’s ability to be an objective observer…

Click for more

Nouveau : UN Watch lance son site en français

UN Watch vient de lancer aujourd’hui la version française de son site Internet. Les francophones ont désormais accès aux publications de UN Watch – et autres – en français sur des sujets clefs concernant les Nations Unies, les droits de l’Homme, Israël et le Proche-Orient, ou encore l’antisémitisme. Le site offre une sélection, pour l’instant modeste, des principaux travaux de UN Watch et sera étendu par la suite. Pour accéder à la version française du site de UN Watch, cliquez ici.

Despite 4 Million Dead, UN Eliminates Congo Human Rights Investigation; UN Watch Protests in Plenary Speech

In testimony before the June session of the UN Human Rights Council, UN Watch called the 47-nation body to task for its recent elimination of the country mandate investigating the Democratic Republic of Congo, “a place where conflict over the last eight years has led to four million deaths.” Intern Daniel Kuhn delivered the speech. Click for video and text

Article par Alfred H. Moses, président de UN Watch, dans Le Temps: “L’UE doit agir dès maintenant pour sauver Durban II”

1 Juillet 2008 — Hier lundi s’est ouverte la réunion du comité des Nations unies chargée d’entamer les négociations sur le contenu de la déclaration finale de «Durban II», la conférence de suivi du très controversé sommet mondial contre le racisme de Durban en 2001, qui se tiendra à Genève en avril 2009.

Est-elle condamnée à subir le même sort que Durban I? Non. L’Union européenne (UE) peut encore sauver le processus en agissant, dès maintenant, avec fermeté. Suite à la publication du projet de travail de la conférence de Durban II, les pays démocratiques doivent défendre leurs lignes rouges…

Pour en savoir plus, cliquez ici

Directeur de UN Watch interviewé par Radio-Canada au sujet du bilan de Louise Arbour

Hillel Neuer, directeur exécutif de UN Watch, est interviewé par Radio-Canada au sujet du bilan de Louise Arbour, Haut Commissaire pour les droits de l’Homme. “Elle n’a pas su faire la différence entre ceux qui célèbrent la mort des civils et ceux qui perçoivent ces pertes comme une tragédie. En d’autres termes, elle a assimilé le pyromane et le pompier.”

Pour écouter et lire l’entretien, cliquez ici


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