Following is the statement delivered today by UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, in the UN Human Rights Council interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly. The UN’s report on the UK criticized Britain’s existing counter-terrorism policies for “dividing, stigmatizing and alienating segments of the population,” and for “crude racial, ideological, cultural and religious profiling.” The UK submitted a rebuttal on errors of fact. The report on the United States discusses Ferguson.
Statement by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer
UN Human Rights Council, June 7, 2017
Mr. President, If I understand correctly, of all the countries in the world, the only two that were visited and investigated over the past year, by this council’s former expert on freedom of assembly, are (a) the United Kingdom, and (b) the United States.
The former expert’s visit to the UK was his second in three years, and he recommends more visits to the UK by the experts on education and religions.
Now, UN Watch believes that every country must be held into account, democracies and non-democracies alike. Personally, when I spent three years in the U.S. as an attorney, I represented plaintiffs who sued the U.S. Air Force and the New York State Prison system, on claims of racial and religious discrimination. Every country has blots on its system; none is immune.
Having said that, I would like to ask the Special Rapporteur a question: What is your methodology for deciding which, of the UN’s 193 member states, to investigate?
The U.S. and the UK, with all their flaws, still have some of the world’s most robust institutions of internal criticism, including an independent judiciary, a free press, elected representatives, and a free civil society, who have already voiced and acted upon the critiques contained in these reports.
Therefore, would the Special Rapporteur consider that the UN might help more human beings by focusing its limited time and resources on governments that possess none of these vital institutions of democracy?
Going forward, would the Special Rapporteur consider writing special reports on the gross and systematic denial of freedom of assembly and association in North Korea, Iran, China, Syria, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia, Pakistan, Venezuela and Cuba?
Thank you, Mr. President.