Issue 286: UN Watch Leads Global Coalition to Defeat Syrian Bid for UN Rights Council Seat

UN Watch Leads Global Coalition to Defeat Syrian Bid for UN Rights Council Seat

GENEVA, April 27 — Led by the Geneva-based UN Watch, an international coalition of human rights groups, survivors of China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, and an Italian legislator today called on the UN Human Rights Council to reject the Assad regime’s controversial bid for a seat on the 47-nation body, at a special session to be held this Friday on Syria’s crackdown against peaceful protesters.

The coalition also urged action from the UN Security Council to protect Syria’s civilian population from “war crimes and crimes against humanity,” and called for leadership from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton, Ban Ki-moon, and UN rights chief Navi Pillay. Switzerland was requested to convene the high contracting parties to the Geneva Conventions, to address the Syrian army’s assault on civilians.  For full text of the appeal by the International Coalition to Prevent Syria’s Election to the UNHRC, click here.

Worldwide coverage of UN Watch’s campaign:

Canada’s National Post, Critics blast UN Rights Council’s two-faced stance on Syria, ‎April 27: Choosing Syria to be a global judge of human rights would be like appointing Bernie Madoff to protect victims of financial fraud,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch in Geneva, referring to the former Wall Street broker convicted of operating a multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme. He also warned that the emergency session is not guaranteed to put Syria on the hot seat — recalling that in 2009, the council ended up praising Sri Lanka for its conduct during that country’s civil war, after European countries sought an emergency session to condemn the violence there.     More

Sky News’ “Boulton & Co.” program, April 27:  UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer was interviewed live today by Sky News TV political editor Adam Boulton regarding Syria’s bloody crackdown. Neuer described how the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been firing indiscriminately and killing hundreds of peaceful protesters, as well as funeral mourners, people in mosques, and civilians in their homes. Also in the segment was British MP Rory Stewart of the ruling Conservative Party, who agreed that the Assad family had hitherto received favorable treatment in the West that was undeserved.

 

Deutsche Presse Agentur, Groups protest Syrian bid for UN Human Rights Council seat‎, April 27:   Human rights advocacy groups on Wednesday protested Syria’s intention to run for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council despite its deadly crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. ‘Syria utterly fails to qualify for membership on the council,’ said UN Watch, one of the groups. ‘The claims made by Syria in its candidacy pledge are utterly false. Syria under the Assad regime is a brutal police state that over four decades has perpetrated gross and systematic abuses of basic human rights against the citizens of Syria, while sponsoring terrorism abroad.’    More

Brazili’s O Globo newspaper,Ativistas protestam contra candidatura síria a Conselho de Direitos Humanos, April 27: An international coalition of NGOs, however, today asked today the Human Rights Council to withdraw the candidacy of Syria, arguing that one of the criteria to be a member of the Council is to promote and protect human rights. “Syria does not have the qualifications to be a member of the Board,” said a statement from UN Watch, one of the organizations in the coalition. “Under the Assad regime, Syria is a brutal police state that over four decades perpetrated systematic human rights abuses.”   More (in Portuguese)

The Jerusalem Post, Campaign to block Syria’s election to UNHRC underway, April 27: Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based monitoring group, said Syria’s currently unopposed bid for a Human Rights Council seat, “only underscores the pathologies of that body, where abusers like China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia control the ruling faction and routinely shield human rights criminals from accountability, ensuring that selectivity and politicization trump genuine human rights. UN Watch has planned that several human rights groups, together with Syrian dissidents and victims, will appear at UN headquarters on May 19, the eve of the UN General Assembly election, for a press conference to lobby against Syria’s election.
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Russia Today (Arabic edition), France and Italy asking EU to examine sanctions against Assad regime, April 27: Human rights organizations launched a campaign headed by UN Watch. The NGO issued a statement saying that “electing Syria as a global judge of human rights is like choosing Bernie Madoff to protect fraud victims.” 
حصة الدول الاسيوية لعضوية مجلس الامم المتحدة لحقوق الانسان، بينما بدأت منظمات حقوق الانسان حملة ضد ذلك برئاسة منظمة “UN Watch” غير الحكومية التي نشرت بيانا موقعا من 50 مجموعة لحقوق الانسان جاء فيه ان “اختيار سورية
More (in Arabic)

Russia’s Interfax news agency, International human rights activists oppose accession of Syria to the UN Human Rights Council, April 27: Human rights organizations have launched a campaign against the election of Syria to the UN Human Rights Council, led by the non-governmental organization UN Watch, says Interfax. UN Watch is going to lead the campaign, featuring human rights groups and Syrian dissidents at a press conference at UN Headquarters on the eve of the UN General Assembly vote, to oppose Syria’s candidacy.   More (in Russian)

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