Lessons from the Council's debate against Israel

UN Watch Testimony to United Nations Human Rights Council
25 March 2014

Delivered by Hillel Neuer


Thank you, Mr. President.

I remind the council that this agenda item, when it was adopted in 2007, was criticized strongly by the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for breaching the principles of equality and universality.

UN Watch welcomes the fact that so many stakeholders today had made their position known by refusing to legitimize an agenda item that runs contrary to the founding principles of this council.

Now, we are about to appoint a special rapporteur at the end of this week. And there is a discussion on who that rapporteur will be. We wish to note that the issue at core is the mandate, which looks only at one side, “Israel’s violations.” It is the only country mandate that does so. It does not look at the region as a whole.

UN Watch welcomes this general debate here today, where we, human rights NGOs, can exchange ideas and learn from the member states. Today we have heard many interesting ideas.

The Russian Federation stated that it opposes unilateral acts of force. Russia further stated that it supports diplomatic solutions. Mr. President, UN Watch applauds this statement. We could not agree more.

We’ve heard from Sudan that all countries must respect all human rights. Does this include genocide and other crimes for which a head of state could be wanted by the ICC?

Iran also spoke here of the need to observe human rights. This should be defined. Does this include the prosecution of gays and religious and ethnic minorities? I know that Israel hosts a famous Baha’i temple. Was Iran referring to their human rights perhaps?

Saudi Arabia spoke here of the human rights. Does that include the right of women to equality, the right of women to drive a car?

Turkey spoke here of illegal settlements. Mr. President, I have no doubt that everyone, including the people of Cyprus, will welcome this news. I should note that UN Watch has been twitting this debate for the benefit of Twitter followers of the world over. Well, perhaps not everywhere.

Thank you, Mr. President.

UN Watch