HRC Round-up: UN Watch Confronted Mauritania on Slavery, Cuba on Repression, North Korea on Concentration Camps
IN THIS ISSUE:
v Dignitaries to gather in NYC on Sunday for cocktail celebrating UN Watch’s 20th anniversary
v Mauritania, UNHRC Vice-President, forced to take the floor to deny it practices slavery
v Cuba overruled, fails to silence widow of slain Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya
v Head of UN’s North Korea inquiry thanks UN Watch speaker
Dignitaries to gather in New York on Sunday to celebrate UN Watch’s 20th anniversary, honor Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird
With Canadian foreign minister John Baird as honoree, dignitaries from around the world will be joining supporters of UN Watch at an historic venue in Manhattan on Sunday evening, September 29th, for a private cocktail reception to celebrate the 20th anniversary of UN Watch.
Attendees will include current and former cabinet ministers, ambassadors, consuls-general, human rights dissidents, leading editorial writers, TV and radio correspondents, heads of philanthropic foundations, NGOs, and community organizations—and possibly one prime minister.
Legendary civil rights advocate Ambassador Morris Abram founded UN Watch in Geneva in September 1993, to monitor the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter, combat racism, antisemitism, and anti-Israel bigotry, and promote human rights for all.
UN Watch is today chaired by Ambassador Alfred H. Moses, a prominent attorney, former diplomat and public servant who was recently awarded Georgetown University’s highest honor for his distinguished service and example for America and the world.
Mauritania, UNHRC Vice-President, takes the floor to deny UN Watch charges it practices slavery
UNHRC, September 16 – “We are exercising our right to reply with regard to what was said by UN Watch. UN Watch said a large number of persons in Mauritania live in a state of slavery. We reject those allegations…It cannot be said that legislation in Mauritania favors slavery. Islam is at the source of our legislation and Islam came to free mankind from slavery. What was said as an allegation by [UN Watch] is totally false. We are against attacks on our reputation…” Click for more
Cuba overruled, fails to silence testimony by widow of slain Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya
UNHRC, Sept. 17 – Cuba’s delegate to the UN Human Rights Council today interrupted testimony by the widow of famed Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, in a failed bid to block her from requesting an international inquiry into the death of her husband.
Ofelia Acevedo, whose testimony in the UNHRC plenary was hosted by UN Watch, was interrupted first by Cuba, which demanded that the Chair block her from speaking, and then by China, which supported Havana’s point of order. But the U.S. immediately took the floor to defend UN Watch’s right to speak. The Chair effectively overruled Cuba’s objection by allowing Acevedo to continue her testimony.
Timed with Acevedo’s testimony, UN Watch formally presented an international petition to the UNHRC demanding an inquiry into Paya’s death, circulated today to all delegates as official UN document HRC/NGO/3 under the council’s agenda item on “human rights situations requiring the council’s attention.”
Signatories of UN Watch’s appeal include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, European Parliament Vice-President Edward McMillan-Scott, Chinese dissident Yang Jianli, numerous former presidents, foreign ministers & ambassadors, MPs and human rights activists. This is the first time that the demand for an inquiry into Paya’s death was published as an official UN document.
Head of UN’s North Korea inquiry honors UN Watch speaker
Photo: Michael Kirby, Chair of UN Commission of Inquiry on North Korea, with UN Watch intern Diane Rhim after her testimony
UNHRC, Sept. 17 – “I am Korean, and both of my grandfathers come from North Korea, so it means a lot to me to deliver this statement on behalf of UN Watch,” said Diane Rhim, UN Watch intern, as she addressed the UNHRC plenary and its new commission of inquiry on North Korea.
Her speech focused on the story of Shin Dong-hyuk—who recently received UN Watch’s 2013 Moral Courage Award, and then testified before the UNHRC inquiry—the only known surviving escapee from a North Korean total control zone prison camp.
Michael Kirby, chair of the inquiry, was moved by the UN Watch speaker. “I honor the grandfathers of Diane Rhim who spoke for UN Watch – and it is to all grandfathers and grandmothers and all grandchildren and people everywhere in the Korean peninsula, but particularly in the DPRK, that I address these closing thoughts.” Read More
Recent college graduates with degrees in international relations or related fields are invited to apply for the prestigious one-year Morris B. Abram Fellowship with UN