GENEVA, July 23, 2014 – From its inception in 2006 until and including today’s urgent meeting to condemn Israel, the UN Human Rights Council has held 21 special sessions. Of the 17 sessions that criticize countries, more than 30 percent have been on Israel. They are examined below.
In addition, in the middle of regular sessions, the HRC has three times convened an “Urgent Debate”: the first one against Israel over the flotilla incident of June 2010, for which the council created the entire urgent debate mechanism itself, and in which a fact-finding mission was created that produced a one-sided report whose conclusions were later refuted by the UN Secretary-General’s own Palmer Commission; and two on Syria, in February 2012 and May 2013. No other country has been subjected to an urgent debate.
17 Special Sessions that Criticized Countries
- 7 on Israel. Initiated by Arab states, devoid of any condemnation of Hamas terrorism or other Palestinian violations.
- 4 on Syria’s massacre of over 100,000 of its own people. Some of the concluding resolutions included language drafted by Syria’s backers. See also here.
- 1 on Central African Republic (criticizes all parties, but fails to name government or others)
- 1 on the Qaddafi regime.
- 1 on Cote d’Ivoire.
- 1 on DR Congo.
- 1 on Myanmar.
- 1 on Sudan (also included praise).
4 Special Sessions that Failed to Criticize Specific Countries
- 1 that praised Sri Lanka after it killed 40,000 civilians.
- 1 on Haiti’s earthquake, involved no criticism of any government of human rights abuse.
- 2 sessions on food and financial crises, both of which pointed an accusing finger at the West.
Full List of all 21 Special Sessions
21st Special Session (July 23, 2014): Draft resolution by Arab and Islamic bloc would condemn Israel, but not Hamas, for “widespread” human rights violations , and create inquiry only into Israeli actions.
20th Special Session (Jan. 20, 2014): Adopts resolution on “Situation of human rights in the Central African Republic and technical assistance in the field of human rights,” which condemns “widespread violations and abuses of human rights perpetrated by all actors,” but fails to name who they are.
19th Special Session (June 1, 2012): Criticized Syria for “The deteriorating human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic and the recent killings in El-Houleh.”
18th Special Session (Dec. 2, 2011): Criticized Syria for “The human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic.”
17th Special Session (Aug. 22, 2011): Criticized Syria for “The situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic.”
16th Special Session (Apr. 29, 2011): Criticized Syria for “The situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic.”
15th Special Session (Feb. 25, 2011): Call for suspension of Qaddafi regime’s membership in the council over “The situation of human rights in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.”
14th Special Session (Dec. 23, 2010): “The situation of human rights in Cote d’Ivoire since the elections on 28 November 2010.”
13th Special Session (Jan. 27, 2010): A non-condemnatory session on “Support to the recovery process in Haiti: A Human Rights approach.”
12th special session (October 2009): Condemned Israel for alleged violations (but failed to condemn Hamas), and adopted report of UN Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (“Goldstone Report”).
11th special session (May 2009): Praised Sri Lankan government (ignored killing of 20,000 civilians).
10th special session (February 2009): Financial crisis (blamed the West).
9th special session (January 2009): Condemned Israel for Gaza war (ignored Hamas terrorism).
8th special session (November 2008) DR Congo (failed to reinstate investigator eliminated by council earlier in the year).
7th special session (May 2008) Food crisis (blamed the West).
6th special session (January 2008): Condemned Israel for actions in Gaza (ignored Hamas terrorism).
5th special session (October 2007): Myanmar.
4th special session (December 2006) Darfur (praised Sudan for its “cooperation”).
3rd special session (November 2006): Condemned Israel for errant shell in Beit Hanoun (ignored Hamas terrorism).
2nd special session (August 2006): Condemned Israel for Lebanon war (ignored Hezbollah terrorism).
1st special session (July 2006): Condemned Israel for responding to Gilad Shalit capture (ignored Hamas terrorism).