PRESS RELEASE

UN Watch Lauds U.S. Role, Calls on U.N. to Lift Remaining Barriers

GENEVA, January 27, 2010 – After decades of exclusion, Israel was granted membership in a United Nations caucus in Geneva.

Israel’s admission to the Human Rights Council’s JUSCANZ group — an acronym for the non-EU democracies of Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — was approved last Friday by consensus, and signifies they regard the Jewish state as “like-minded.” The group has expanded over time to include Norway, Switzerland and other Western countries.

“For this to happen in Geneva, and especially at the Arab-dominated Human Rights Council, is an historic accomplishment for Israel and for the principle of equality,” said Alfred Moses, Chair of the Geneva-based UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights organization.

“It’s a significant achievement in an arena where regression is the norm, one that will allow Israel for the first time to participate in a UN consultative group on human rights issues,” said Moses.

 

“This is particularly important during a time when countries are planning for the 2011 reform of the council, a body that has repeatedly turned a blind eye to the world’s victims of human rights violations.”

“The diplomatic victory followed years of diplomatic efforts, which were supported by UN Watch as a necessary implementation of the UN Charter’s equality guarantee for all nations, large and small. The United States is one of several countries that deserve particular credit for finally making it happen.”

The change does not apply to JUSCANZ consultations in New York, nor to the Asian regional group’s continued exclusion of Israel. UN Watch called on the United Nations to remove remaining discriminatory barriers to Israel’s full and equal participation within UN voting and consultation blocs.

“We also urge the Human Rights Council in particular to remove its permanent agenda item targeting Israel; to eliminate its post of a permanent investigator on alleged Israeli violations, where guilt is presumed in advance; and to end the policy whereby three-quarters of all council resolutions have been devoted to the one-sided censure of Israel, and Israel made the object of more special sessions than the total for the rest of the world combined.”

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