Issue 347: On Syria, the U.N. Human Rights Council Has Been Wrong for So Long

Today’s urgent UN Human Rights Council meeting on Syria concluded with a resolution criticizing Syria’s widespread violations, yet fell short of calling on Assad to go. Russia, China and Cuba defended the Assad regime. Below is the video and text of UN Watch’s testimony to the session, delivered by executive director Hillel Neuer.

On Syria, the U.N. Human Rights Council

Has Been Wrong for So Long

Thank you, Madam President.

The nations gathered here, including Syria, have solemnly pledged to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Yet when a government massacres thousands of its own citizens—innocent men, women and children—it violates that declaration’s most basic right: the right to life.

When a government turns heavy artillery upon its own cities, day after day, it commits inhuman acts that shock our collective conscience.

When a government announces that it has held a referendum adopting a new constitution, on the same day that it bombards whole neighborhoods, killing 138 people, its cruelty is compounded by cynicism.

We ask: Does Syria believe the UN will be silent while it commits mass murder before the eyes of the world?

If so, perhaps it is because, for too long, this council turned a blind eye to Syria’s gross human rights abuses.

Perhaps it is because this council, for too long, turned a blind eye to regimes such as Qaddafi’s Libya, whose representative was elected as its chair.

Sadly, this council allowed Syria to play the role of a human rights champion.

For too long, this council adopted Syrian-sponsored resolutions against a neighboring state, a liberal democracy that protects, not attacks, its citizens.

We have just heard several council members defend and justify the actions of Syria’s regime. In doing so, they breach their pledge to promote human rights, and place their own membership credentials in question.

Madam President,

The Human Rights Council has been wrong for so long. As a result, millions have suffered. For the sake of Syria’s victims, it is time to right this wrong.

As stated in the preamble of the Universal Declaration, a government that shows contempt for human rights, and practices tyranny and oppression, loses its right to govern.

Today, it is time for this council to send a clear message: a government that murders its citizens must go.

Thank you, Madam President.

 

_________________________

 

Global Impact:  UN Watch Comment and Analysis

 

 

Pour Hillel Neuer, directeur exécutif de l’ONG UN Watch, la Russie a “cherché à bloquer toute réunion ou résolution” car elle sait que “si le Conseil ne peut pas envoyer des troupes sur le terrain, un message fort de la communauté internationale aiderait à rallier les opinions”.  — Le Monde, Feb. 28, 2012.

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UN Watch calls on human rights council to cancel review on report drawn up at 2010 session, before the breakout of the Libyan civil war. — Jerusalem Post, Feb. 27, 2012.

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Uno de los primeros en pronunciarse contra esta candidatura ha sido la ONG UN Watch, que rechaza la participación de este país por no respetar los derechos humanos. A través de su director ejecutivo, Hillel Neuer, acusan al presidente de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, de hacer una campaña “absurda e hipócrita” ya que, en su opinión, están “sistemáticamente violando los DD.HH”. — Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Feb. 27, 2012.

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Die revolutionären Libyer sind nach der im März eingetretenen Sperre zum ersten Mal wieder im UN-Menschenrechtsrat zu einer Sitzung erschienen und haben gleich eine deutliche Position markiert, berichtet das Blog UN Watch… — Der Spiegel, Feb. 14, 2012.

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La organización no gubernamental UN Watch creó una coalición internacional para bloquear las candidaturas de Venezuela y Pakistán como miembros del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas (ONU)… Dijo que Venezuela y Pakistán están entre los pocos estados condenados por graves violaciones de derechos humanos según las resoluciones adoptadas en una cumbre de más de 25 grupos disidentes. — Mexico’s Impacto, Feb, 23, 2012.

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