GENEVA, October 5, 2020 — In a rare move, Uruguay fired one of its top diplomats after UN Watch exposed the country’s vote for a UN resolution that singled out Israel alone in the world for supposedly violating women’s rights.
As reported exclusively by UN Watch on September 18th, Uruguay — one of the strongest democracies in Latin America — shamefully joined the likes of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Belarus and Pakistan in adopting a resolution at the UN’s 54-nation Economic and Social Council, which declared that “the Israeli occupation remains a major obstacle for Palestinian women and girls” with regard to the “fulfillment of their rights, and their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development of their society.”
UN Watch’s exposure of the absurd resolution, and of the countries which sponsored the text and voted for it, caught the attention of Uruguayan activists and politicians who demanded to know why their government supported a biased resolution and targeted a fellow democracy.
The results were remarkable.
Uruguay’s Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo declared that his country’s UN vote against Israel was a “circumstantial error,” and removed the foreign ministry’s director-general of political affairs, Ambassador Pablo Sader, from his post.
All too often, dictatorships are able to subvert the UN system by virtue of democracies that go along to get along, turning a blind eye to—or even colluding in—the passing of anti-Israel resolutions.
By exposing the anti-Israel bias in the UN, and holding democracies to account for their own votes, it is possible to effect change.
Timeline: UN Watch Protest Sparks Uruguay Action
• September 18: UN Watch exclusively reports on the adoption of a resolution by the UN’s 54-nation Economic and Social Council which condemned Israel for allegedly violating women’s rights. UN Watch publishes voting sheet showing Uruguay supported the resolution. UN Watch’s social media posts spark global outrage.
Citing UN Watch’s report, Uruguayan website Semanario Hebreo JAI protests Uruguay’s vote, saying “the content of the resolution has nothing to do with the human rights of women. This resolution, like many other resolutions from the UN, is only aimed at demonizing Israel in every possible area.”
• September 21: Uruguayan lawmaker Ope Pasquet files official protest letter to foreign ministry, writing that “Israel is a democracy, besieged by authoritarian regimes that have been meaning to destroy it since its first day of existence. It’s clear that Israel treats its women — Jewish, Muslim, Arab or from any ethnic background — in an incomparably better way than the Muslim states of the region.” Pasquet demands that the foreign ministry explain the reasons why the Uruguayan mission to the UN voted for the biased resolution.
El Observador reports that the vote of the Uruguayan representative sparked criticism from the centrist Colorado political party, members of the ruling coalition.
The newspaper writes: “After the vote, the organization UN Watch—which monitors the actions of the international community and, among other things, fights the ‘anti-Israel bias’ of its resolutions—questioned the Council as it ‘completely ignored the worst abusers of women’s rights, and refused to adopt a single resolution about the situation of women in Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Congo, Iran, Chad or Saudi Arabia; all of which are among the top 10 worst countries according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 published by the World Economic Forum.”
The Uruguayan newspaper continued:
UN Watch’s director, Hillel Neuer, expressed his ‘disappointment’ over the attitudes of countries like Uruguay that ‘joined the jackals in their scapegoating of the Jewish State.’
• September 27: Uruguay’s El Pais newspaper reports that former Uruguayan president and secretary-general of the Colorado Party, Julio María Sanguinetti, declared that the vote was a “mistake from the government,” aligning himself with the claims made by member of parliament Ope Pasquet.
• September 28: Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo declares that the UN vote was a “circumstantial error” after a meeting with Sanguinetti, and that Uruguay’s “foreign policy will keep its historical stance to defend the rights of Israel.”
• September 29: Foreign Minister Bustillo fires his ministry’s director-general of political affairs, Ambassador Pablo Sader.