UN commissioner Navi Pillay puts Canada on a human rights watch list and says: “Moves to restrict freedom of assembly continue to alarm me, as is the case in the province of Quebec in the context of student protests”. The remarks have drawn a rebuke from the Geneva-based group UN Watch which points out that the bill was adopted by a democratic assembly and already faces a court challenge. — Canada’s CTV National News, June 17, 2012 more…
“When a prosecutor goes after jaywalkers while allowing rapists and murderers to roam free, that’s not only illogical, but immoral,” said Hillel Neuer, the director of UN Watch, a human rights organization that monitors UN compliance with its own charter. Though Canada is fair game for U.N. criticism, it is “simply absurd” to highlight Canada without citing violations in countries such as China, Belarus, and Cuba. — TIME Magazine, June 19, 2012.more…
Canadian lawyer Hillel Neuer said on the UN Watch blog: for Pillay to divert the world’s attention to what in a global context is an absolutely marginal case—a law already before the chief justice of the Quebec Superior Court, and less demanding than the Geneva laws regulating the human rights rallies we hold in front of her own building—is simply absurd. — Al Jazeera, June 18, 2012. more…
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is set to criticize Canada for the controversial law passed by the province of Quebec to clamp down on student tuition protests. UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, a Montreal-born lawyer, commented that “for Pillay to divert the world’s attention to what in a global context is an absolutely marginal case… is simply absurd.” — Russia’s RT, June 18, 2012. more…
“The Canadian activists who presumably put her up to this are misguided,” said UN Watch director Hillel Neuer, and the high commissioner is making a big mistake by sending the message that countries that have blots on their system – if indeed the Quebec law is a blot – are even worse than countries where the blot is the system.” — Britain’s The Week, June 18, 2012. more…
Hillel Neuer, from UN Watch, said Pillay should “keep things in perspective.” He said it’s wrong to criticize Canada without mention of worse offenders. “Most of the world’s worst abuses—like those Pillay fails to cite in the police states of Belarus and Cuba, and in the misogynistic regimes of Iran and Saudi Arabia—are devoid of any scrutiny. Those are the ones that desperately require the UN’s attention,” he added. — Maclean’s, June 18, 2012. more…
“Bien que le Canada puisse s’attirer à juste titre quelques critiques», selon Hillel Neuer, directeur d’UN Watch et Montréalais d’origine, «de détourner ainsi l’attention internationale avec ce qui, dans le contexte mondial, est un cas absolument marginal, soit une loi qui est déjà contestée par la Cour Supérieure du Québec est tout simplement absurde.” —Agence QMI, June 17, 2012. more…
The 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council opened a 3-week session yesterday. According to the official schedule, next week on June 27th the council will hold a 90-minute debate on Syria, possibly featuring Kofi Annan. The following week, on July 2nd, the council will feature anentire day on alleged violations in the “Occupied Palestinan Territory (OPT),”featuring Richard Falk, the council expert on Palestine who was condemned last year by Ban Ki-Moon for promoting 9/11 conspiracies. UN Watchwill take the floor several times during the session to speak up for victims of the world’s most abusive regimes, and to hold the U.N. acountable to the principles of its charter.
• SLAMMING AMERICA:High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay used a major speech before the council to express “serious concern” over U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan and to call for investigations, echoing comments she made in a recent visit to that country. Her remarks sparked a feeding frenzy in the room by some of the world’s worst regimes, with Cuba,Pakistan and Iranrushing to quote her criticism of the United States in their own plenary speeches. READ MORE
• BLAME CANADA: Ms. Pillay singled out Canadaby citing a Quebec law on public rallies as a prime example of “alarming” moves to restrict freedom of assembly in many parts of the world. Her comments — which said nothing about China, Cuba, Iran, or Saudi Arabia — provoked a sharp Canadian response.
• UN WATCH RESPONDED: UN Watch was the only non-governmental organization in the debate to take the floor and challenge Pillay’s imbalanced censure of the U.S. and Canada, noting how her speech handed propaganda coups to the repressive rulers in Pakistan andZimbabwe. CLICK FOR UN WATCH’S INTERVENTION.
• SYRIA USED PILLAY’S ANTI-CANADA REMARKS Pillay’s disproportionate censure of Canada was immediately exploited by anti-democratic regimes to divert attention from their crimes.
Syria, facing world condemnation over its mass killings, took the floor to gloat about how “the High Commissioner said in her report that there is repression in Canada.”
Then Sri Lanka, on the defensive for refusing to investigate its 2009 killing of 40,000 civilians, stated that it was “surprised by Canada.”
Finally, North Korea, accused of gross atrocities, rejected Canada’s “hypocritical behavior,” saying Ottawa “would be well advised to handle its own affairs.” Echoing Pillay’s remarks almost verbatim, North Korea called on Canada to address its “suppression of freedom of association and and peaceful assembly.”
• RESOLUTIONS, GOOD AND BAD: In this council session, democracies are planning to introduce a resolution on internet freedom, one on Syria, and a resolution to reinstitute the post of a monitor on Belarusabuses, one of two country mandates — the other being on Cuba — that were terminated at the request of repressive regimes as part of the 2007 “reform.” No one, however, is trying to restore the expert on Cuba. It is unclear if the council will have enough votes to renew last year’sresolution opposing violence against gays.
At the same time, anti-democratic regimes are expected to introduce several of their own resolutions, including:
– Israel and The Flotilla, Again: After the council hears a special report by High Commissioner Pillay on the 2010 flotilla incident, there may be yet one another censure resolution against Israel that will perpetuate the issue on the U.N. agenda.
– Resolution Legitimizing Terrorism: The government of Cuba is planning to introduce anti-Western resolutions on “Cultural Rights” and “Foreign Debt.” In addition, a Cuban resolution on “the Right to Peace” is linked to a recent U.N. report which provides that “All peoples and individuals have the right to resist and oppose oppressive colonial, foreign occupation or dictatorial domination.” Experts fear this can be understood as legitimizing terrorism against America and Israel.
IN OTHER NEWS
• PAKISTAN TO JOIN TOP U.N. RIGHTS BODY
UN Watch launched an international campaign by 40 MPs and NGOs to oppose Pakistan’s candidacy to the human rights council, instead circulating a draft resolution for the council to condemn Pakistani abuses. Because the country is running uncontested on the Asian slate, it is virtually assured of election. “A government that turns a blind eye when its women are attacked with acid thrown on their faces simply does not merit appointment as a global judge of human rights,” said UN Watch. The group is calling on UN commissioner Pillay and the EU’s Catherine Ashton to support the campaign. READ MORE
• WALL ST. JOURNAL ON U.N. HUNGER EXPERT
The Horn of Africa was struck by famine last year, killing tens of thousands. So why is the United Nations right-to-food special rapporteur Olivier De Schutter investigating hunger in . . . Canada?
“Only at the U.N.’s Human Rights Council is it considered logical for a so-called hunger expert to be so busy investigating Canada that he has no time for the starving of Syria,” said Hillel Neuer of U.N. Watch. READ MORE
• UN WATCH PLENARY SPEECH: UNESCO MUST EXPEL SYRIA FROM ITS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
UN Watch took the floor yesterday before the 47-nation council:
“In Syria, President Assad is slaughtering his own people. The UN monitors, sent in to help stop the violence, have suspended their mission because. . . — as they explained it — there was too much violence.
“All UN agencies must now send a clear message that the Assad regime has no legitimacy. Yet the very opposite message was sent when UNESCO recently elected Syria to its human rights committee.
“In protest, 55 MPs and human rights groups, led by UN Watch, have called for this shameful act to be reversed. We commend the U.S. and Britain for their support, and we call on the High Commissioner to speak out as well.”