Issue 493: Why Does the U.N. Elect Syria to Top Positions?

“Why Does the U.N. Elect Syria to Top Positions?”

click for video
Testimony before the UN Human Rights Council, delivered by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, 18 June 2014, during the Interactive Dialogue with the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry on Syria
Mr. President, what the Commission of Inquiry on Syria has just described is a living hell. Faced with these continuing reports of mass murder, torture, rape, the gassing of civilians by chemical weapons, how is the United Nations responding?
With notable exceptions, this inquiry being one, the UN’s policy and practice toward Syria can be described in three words: business as usual.
Consider the following. In November 2011, well into Syria’s atrocities, UNESCO elected the Syrian regime—unanimously—to its human rights committee.
Will the commission share its view as to what message the UN sent, when, up until only several months ago, it  allowed the Assad regime to sit as a world judge on petitions submitted by human rights victims?
But Mr. President, it didn’t stop there.
On February 20th of this year, as Syria’s Juhayna news website trumpeted with glee, that country, that mass murdering regime, was “unanimously re-elected as Rapporteur of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization.”
In fact, as we meet here, that committee—with Syria as its Rapporteur—is in session this week in New York, debating the future of Gibraltar, the Falklands, Bermuda, French Polynesia and New Caledonia.
So while Assad’s forces starve Palestinians to death in Yarmouk, his representative sits on a UN podium telling liberal democracies like Britain, France, the U.S. and New Zealand how to treat their populations—all in exercise of his UN-elected mandate to end the “subjugation, domination and exploitation” of peoples.
But Mr. President, I’m afraid it didn’t stop there.
In March, this Council, undermining its own credibility on Syrian human rights, adopted a resolution entitled “Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan” — a resolution drafted by Syria itself.
The U.S. delegate said at the time: “To consider such a resolution—while the Syrian regime continues to slaughter its own citizens by the tens of thousands—exemplifies absurdity.”
Mr. President: If we say we care about Syria’s dead and dying, then why are we acting like it’s business as usual?
Thank you, Mr. President.

UN Watch