Issue 178: Alfred Moses Op-Ed on Durban II, Report on Louise Arbour, Qaddafi Jr. Arrested for Beating Maid

Is the United Nations’ follow-up to the racist 2001 Durban World Conference Against Racism headed for the same fate? Perhaps. In response to the newly released UN blueprint for next April’s Durban II in Geneva, EU members need to defend the red lines set by France, the UK and the Netherlands.

What went wrong with Durban I? Despite its supposedly universal intentions, compromises were made to satisfy the non-aligned group of 118 countries, dominated by Islamic states.

Slavery was and is evil. But by addressing only the trans-Atlantic slave trade of previous centuries while ignoring the modern Arab slave trade and other forms of slavery, the 2001 conference showed itself to be more concerned with scoring points than promoting human rights.

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UN Watch Releases Major Report on Tenure of Former UN Rights Chief Louise Arbour

UN Watch this week released a major study of Louise Arbour’s performance as UN rights chief over the past four years, refuting inflated claims made by both her critics and defenders, and giving the Canadian jurist mixed reviews on how she took on violators. Click here for report. The report also offers concrete recommendations for her replacement, Navanethem Pillay of South Africa, urging her to adopt a stronger approach in confronting UN heavyweights like China, Russia and Egypt.

Critics and defenders of Arbour’s record seem to agree on one thing: a principal measure of her efficacy and success as High Commissioner is the degree to which she properly criticized countries that violate human rights. Bearing neither the power of the purse nor of the sword, the UN’s top human rights official must make use of her unique bully pulpit to name and shame violators, throwing a spotlight on their abuses.

How Arbour carried out this mission is thoroughly analyzed in UN Watch’s 48-page report, “The Right to Name and Shame,” released today at inaugural meeting of the UN Human Rights Council’s expert advisors. The first part examines every one of her official UN statements issued in 2007 and 2008, precisely measuring Arbour’s criticisms of countries. Detailed tables show the 40 countries that Arbour criticized, with comparative analysis; the 153 countries that she did not criticize; and an examination of the 2008-2009 membership of the UN Human Rights Council — the countries that new High Commissioner Pillay will have to deal with. The final part of the report provides in-depth analysis of Arbour’s approach toward selected regions.

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Défis majeurs pour la nouvelle chef des droits de l’homme à l’ONU

par Hillel Neuer, directeur exécutif de UN Watch

Après sa nomination au poste de Haut Commissaire aux droits de l’homme à l’ONU, qui devrait être rendue officielle aujourd’hui, la juge sud-africaine Navanethem Pillay, qui remplacera la Canadienne Louise Arbour, devra immédiatement faire face à trois défis majeurs pour écarter les attaques, de plus en plus nombreuses, menées contre les libertés individuelles dans le monde.

Dans un premier temps, Mme Pillay devra intégrer rapidement les différences qui existent entre une position de juge à la Cour pénale internationale de la Haye, où la délibération est le maître mot, et un poste de Haut Commissaire aux droits de l’homme, qui requiert un pouvoir de décision et d’influence sans égal. Mme Pillay ne devra pas hésiter à exposer les pires violations des droits de l’homme dans le monde, comme les massacres au Darfour, la brutalité de la junte militaire en Birmanie, les persécutions en Chine ou encore la destruction du Zimbabwe par Mugabe.Cliquez ici pour en savoir plus.

More Than Just Talk

By Ban Ki Moon

Detractors often call the United Nations a “talking shop” of 192 nations where, it has memorably been said, “no issue is too small to be debated endlessly.”

But the real UN, almost invisible to the general public, is the action-oriented UN. This real UN feeds 90 million people in more than 70 countries – forming a thin blue line between hungry people and starvation. It wipes out debilitating diseases like smallpox and polio and vaccinates 40 percent of the world’s children. It provides $2 billion annually in emergency disaster relief and maintains the second-largest army in the world – a global peacekeeping force of 120,000 men and women who go where others can’t or won’t go. Read More

Qaddafi Tells Durban II of “Racism Against Maids,” as Son Arrested for Beating Maid at Geneva Hotel

Many newspapers over the past few weeks have reported on Libya’s hostile measures against Switzerland and its citizens. Few, though, have noted the irony of it all, in several ways tied to the UN.

The conflict began after Hannibal, the youngest son of Libyan dictator Col. Muammar Qaddafi, and his wife Aline were arrested by Geneva police in their luxury hotel, which is situated next to the UN human rights office. Two of their servants, a Moroccan man and a Tunisian woman, had complained of being beaten with a belt and coat hanger, causing hotel staff to call in the authorities. The 32-year-old son of the desert despot has a long record of violent run-ins with the law across European capitals.

The couple were charged with assault. Hannibal spent two evenings in detention while his wife, who came to Geneva to give birth, was transferred to a maternity unit. Released on $500,000 bail, they flew back to Libya escorted by doctors from Geneva’s main hospital. Read More: Libya’s Durban II pledge to fight “racism against maids”

“The Bad Boy of Diplomacy”: Israel’s Maariv magazine cover story on UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer

Yesterday’s magazine section of Maariv, Israel’s second-largest newspaper, featured a cover story on the work of UN Watch. “UN Watch is a non-profit organization whose role is to monitor the various United Nations councils and to make sure that they are faithfully performing their duties and meet the criteria that the UN set for them in its founding charter,” reported Maariv. “With the help of research, routine contact with ambassadors and regular appearances before the Human Rights Council, UN Watch has successfully influenced public opinion by means of leading media outlets around the world, such as the New York Times, the Economist, Al-Jazeera and others. Its impact has been clear.” Click here for PDF scan of the article

UN Watch Quoted by BBC, Reuters, Agence France-Presse,Agencia EFE, Press Trust of India, front page of Ottawa Citizen, and more…


UN Watch