In this Issue:
- Analysis: UN Rights Council Ends Scrutiny of Liberian Abuses, Praises Sudan, Slams Israel
- Debate: Council Bans UN Chief’s Critique of Anti-Israel Bias, Raps UN Watch
- First Time: Sderot Mother Addresses United Nations
- UN Rights Chief Points Finger at West over Durban II
- UN Debate: “Free Jailed Bloggers,” says UN Watch
- Paris Conference:
- Holocaust Survivor Simone Veil Voices Plea on Durban II
- French Human Rights Minister Slams Council, Sides With Embattled NGO Activist
- UN Watch Director Heads Expert Panel, Urges Protection for Free Speech
- UN Watch Hosts First UN Human Rights Debate on Zimbabwe’s New Deal
- In the Media: UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer on Al Jazeera With Riz Khan to Debate Durban II; UN Watch in Reuters, Agence France Presse, Le Temps…
UN Rights Council Ends Scrutiny of Liberian Abuses, Praises Sudan, Slams Israel
The UN Human Rights Council concluded its September 2008 session by eliminating the investigative mandate on human rights abuses in Liberia, praising Sudan, and censuring Israel. (For UN Watch interventions at the session, see below.) The council weakened its mandate on Cambodia, and refused to renew the mandate on Sudan for more than six months, a move that opened the door to its eventual elimination. The council’s censure of Israel was its twentieth since being founded in 2006. The 47-nation body has previously criticized North Korea once, and Myanmar four times, but has ignored the UN’s other 189 countries, including the world’s worst abusers. More…
UN Debate: Israel Under Assault
Council Bans UN Chief’s Critique of Anti-Israel Bias, Raps UN Watch
After Palestinian Envoy Compares Israelis to Nazis, UN Watch Recalls Haj Amin Al Husseini’s Alliance with Adolph Hitler
First Time: Sderot Mother Testifies Before United Nations on Life Under Hamas Rocket Fire
In a session filled with virulent speeches against Israel (see above), Dina Cohen, a 22-year-old mother from the Israeli town of Sderot became the first to testify before the United Nations about life under the constant trauma of daily Hamas rocket attacks.
Cohen addressed the 47-nation council on behalf of UN Watch, in an attempt to bring some semblance of balance to the one-sided session, in a council that has systematically turned a blind eye to terrorism targeting Israeli civilians. The assembly of hundreds of diplomats and human rights activists went silent as Cohen delivered her impassioned speech, unaware that an Israeli victim would take the floor.
Click for Video (in French, with English text)
UN Debate: Blaming the West for Durban II
UN Watch Responds to UN Rights Chief, Iran, Egypt
Addressing the matter of Durban II, the UN’s so-called “anti-racism” conference set for Geneva in April 2009, UN rights chief Navi Pillay suggested the West was solely to blame for the troubles plaguing the planned world gathering. Iran, Egypt and Pakistan echoed her remarks.
Joining the debate, UN Watch pointed out the distortions of Durban II that give cause for legitimate concerns among Western states and proponents of human rights and the anti-racism cause.
Protecting Human Rights
UN Debate: “Free Jailed Bloggers,” says UN Watch
Promoting Human Rights at Paris Conference
Paris Conference: Simone Veil, Holocaust Survivor and Ex-President of European Parliament, Voices Plea on Durban II
Paris — Speaking before a UN audience, Simone Veil, Holocaust survivor and former president of the European Parliament, urged the international community to prevent a recurrence of the 2001 Durban debacle, where a world conference on racism became a hatefest for demonstrators attacking Israel and praising the policies of Adolph Hitler. She addressed the UN’s recent annual conference of non-governmental organizations, assembled in Paris to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing there of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
“In Geneva, we are now starting to look forward to the conference which will follow that of Durban in 2001. May I make an appeal? I would not like there to be the same form of overspill, the same events which occurred in the sidelines of Durban. I know that the international community would condemn that if it were to recur.” More…
Paris Conference: French Human Rights Minister Slams Human Rights Council Censorship, Sides With Embattled NGO Activist
Speaking on the same podium as Veil, French secretary of state for human rights Rama Yade voiced the strongest international backing yet for the human rights activist who was silenced by the Human Rights Council for daring to mention Islamic Sharia law.
Showing more courage and candor than any other European official to date, Yade said that “certain governments would like certain forms of slander to be acknowledged as criminal law offences which run counter to the principle of universality upon which human rights are predicated.” She added, “it is very saddening that within the UN Human Rights Council, last June, a speaker of an NGO was censored because he was talking about the stoning of women in countries applying Sharia law. We have to be very determined as to maintaining the universal nature of human rights even if they are mistreated by States who defend a view of things that they themselves describe as cultural.” More….
Paris Conference: UN Watch Director Heads Expert Panel on Human Rights Council, Urges Protection for Free Speech
As vice-president of the Geneva NGO Special Committee on Human Rights, UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer headed an expert panel at the UN’s recent annual conference of non-governmental organizations, assembled in Paris to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing there of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The conference gathered 1,700 NGOs associated with the United Nations for three days of debate.
Neuer chaired a panel discussion on the UN Human Rights Council, co-sponsored by the Conference of NGOs and Pax Romana, featuring Willy Fautre of Human Rights Frontiers International, Peter Prove of the Lutheran World Federation, Paula Schriefer of Freedom House, and Lukas Machon of the International Commission of Jurists. More…
Promoting Human Rights
UN Watch Hosts First UN Human Rights Debate on Zimbabwe’s New Deal
Geneva, Sept. 19, 2008 — UN Watch and the Global Zimbabwe Forum co-hosted the first NGO debate at the UN Human Rights Council on Zimbabwe’s new deal and its implications for human rights. Chaired by Hillel Neuer, the panel heard from Arnold Tsunga of the International Commission of Jurists, Daniel Molokele of the Global Zimbabwe Forum, and Katinka Ridderbos, a country analyst with the International Monitoring Displacement Center. More…
UN Watch in the Media
New York, Sept. 24, 2008 — In the first major TV debate on Durban II, the UN’s upcoming “anti-racism” parley, UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer debated Islamic Human Rights Commission Chair Massoud Shadjareh, the controversial leader of mass anti-Israel demonstrations at the original 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa.
“Why is the commissioner aiming her fire at the world’s most tolerant democracies, instead of at racist tyrants like Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who, under the chairmanship of Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya, have already begun to hijack the conference?’ asked UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.” — “Pilay urges states to take part in anti-racism conference,” The Press Trust of India, Sept. 9, 2008.
“Navi Pillay tire dans la mauvaise direction’, a réagi l’ONG ‘UN Watch’. Et de se demander pourquoi la Haut Commissaire ne critique pas plutôt l’attitude du Soudan, de l’Iran et de la Libye ‘qui ont commencé à détourner la conférence’ de ses buts…” — “Reprise du Conseil des droits de l’homme Navi Pillay veut sauver la conférence de Genève contre le racisme,” Schweizerische Depeschenagentur AG, service de base francais, Sept 9, 2008.
“The threat of Western non-participation remains the only force with the slightest chance of preventing the conference from degenerating into an out-and-out fiasco…” — H. Neuer quoted in “UN rights official urge US, Canada, Israel to join anti-racism meeting,” Agence France Presse, Sept. 8, 2008.
More…(with French and Spanish versions)
“The threat of Western non-participation remains the only force with the slightest chance of preventing the conference (Durban-2) from degenerating into an out-and-out fiasco…” — H. Neuer quoted in L. Maclnnis “New UN human rights chief calls for racism debate,” Reuters, Sept. 9, 2008.
More… (with Spanish version)
“…Ms. Pillay must denounce the proposal adopted last week by African states in Nigeria that attacks free speech, singles out Israel, and endorses a text calling for the elimination of Zionism and comparing it to apartheid…” — H. Neuer quoted in B. Avni, “Planned Conference on Racism Raises Concerns at the U.N.,’” The New York Sun, Sept. 5, 2008.
“Haute Commissaire Pillay a exhorté tous les Etats à participer à la Conférence d’avril, même ceux qui ont exprimé leur volonté de ne pas le faire. Cette déclaration a suscité l’ire d’UN Watch. L’ONG ne comprend pas pourquoi Navanetham Pillay fait allusion aux démocraties telles que le Canada, les Etats-Unis et Israël qui ont déjà promis de boycotter le sommet genevois. Pour UN Watch, la haut-commissaire se trompe de cible et devrait plutôt fustiger l’attitude d’Etats comme le Soudan ou l’Iran…” — “Droits humains: ce qui attend la haut-commissaire,” Le Temps, Sept. 9, 2008.
More… (with English version)
“…«Navi Pillay tire dans la mauvaise direction», a réagi l’ONG «UN Watch». Et de se demander pourquoi la haut-commissaire ne critique pas plutôt l’attitude du Soudan, de l’Iran et de la Libye «qui ont commencé à détourner la conférence» de ses buts.…” — H. Neuer quoted in “Conférence sur le racisme: le premier défi de Navi Pillay,” La Tribune de Genève, Sept. 15, 2008.
UN Watch Quoted on Durban II African Conference in Abuja, Nigeria
“All of these African victims, and millions more in the future, are harmed by the [African Durban preparatory] conference’s failure to ensure accountability for crimes committed in African countries,’ said Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch.…” — “Africa states to raise Palestinian issue at UN forum,” Reuters, Aug. 26, 2008.
“…The text [the declaration adopted by an African regional meeting] according to UN-Watch’s executive director Hillel Neuer, ‘flouts international human rights principles, and breaches the red lines set by France, Britain, the Netherlands, and other Western states, which they have warned could trigger their boycott of the 2009 meeting in Geneva’.…” — “Africa wants racism, xenophobia to be criminalized,” Agence France Presse, Aug. 26, 2008. Also published in The Herald (Zimbabwe).
“…UN Watch, a Geneva- based independent human rights group that is actively participating as an international non-governmental organisation at the current African Regional Conference in Abuja, Nigeria, is deeply concerned that the draft declaration set for adoption later yesterday threatens to derail this year’s UN follow-up to the 2009 world conference in racism…” — “African Meeting in Nigeria Threatens To Derail World Conference,” Leadership (Nigerian Newspaper), Aug. 26, 2008.
“…More recently we were informed by Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director, and one of Canada’s unsung heroes, that a declaration adopted on Aug. 26, 2008, by an African regional meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, ‘fails to address racial and ethnic crimes committed by Sudan, tramples international human rights guarantees on free speech, places Islam above all other religions, and targets Israel alone, implying that it is uniquely racist.’…“ — N. Emmanuel, “Darfur: Two Measures for Muslim Corpses,” The Suburban, Sept. 3, 2008.
“Portraying Israel’s conflict as racial is more than political mischief…It’s an attempt to dehumanize Israelis and their supporters as uniquely evil’…” — H. Neuer quoted in P. Goodenough, “African States Want to Condemn Israel While Ignoring Darfur,” CNS News, Aug. 29, 2008.
“…« La déclaration ne fait pas mention des crimes raciaux et ethniques commis au Soudan, piétine les droits internationaux garantissant la liberté d’expression, place l’Islam à une position supérieure aux autres religions et vise Israël comme étant un pays raciste » rapporte Hillel Neuer, directeur de l’organisation UN Watch, qui promeut les Droits de l’Hommes à travers le monde…” —Guysen International, “Durban II, le retour!”, Aug. 27, 2008.
“A draft document circulating at the United Nations suggests human rights violators will get off the hook at the upcoming Durban II anti-racism conference in Geneva while Israel will again come in for special opprobrium, and the West – including its fundamental respect for free speech – will come under attack, said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch…” — “Durban II prep conference called a concern,” The Canadian Jewish News, Sept. 18, 2008.
UN Watch Continues to be quoted on background on the Human Rights Council
“…Pillay müsse ihr Amt vor allem dazu nutzen, politische Aufmerksamkeit auf die weltweit größten Menschenrechtsverletzungen im Sudan, in Burma, China und Simbabwe zu lenken, forderte die Organisation UN Watch nach der Ernennung der Südafrikanerin im Juli…” — UN Watch cited in “Neue UN-Kommissarin für Menschenrechte,” Kurier (Austria), Sept. 2, 2008.
“…The UN watch report on former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Arbour calls on the new Commissioner use her ‘bully pulpit’ to promote human rights everywhere. With a staff of almost a thousand and an annual budget (from the UN budget and donations) of $150 million, her office is a well-appointed pulpit, but the fact remains that her only weapon is persuasion. …” — “Human rights at the UN,” Oxford Analytica, Aug. 30 – Sept. 5, 2008.