Geneva, December 1, 2006 — UN Watch expressed deep disappointment that the UN Human Rights Council has concluded its segment on violations without acting on the world’s worst abuses. In a speech delivered today to the Council, the Geneva-based human rights organization urged action against repression of freedom in China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, and 15 other countries or territories. [See full text of statement below.]
Israel was condemned twice and was the subject of numerous reports and debates at the session. In its six months of existence, the Council has now passed six resolutions against Israel.
The European Union and Canada expressed outrage when their resolution seeking to hold the Sudanese government accountable on Darfur was rejected by the Council, and they have now initiated a special emergency session on the crisis, to be held on December 11 or 12.
“Regrettably the non-democracies, led by the Islamic Group, have an automatic majority at the Council, and they consistently block action against any state but Israel,” said UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer. “It’s the foxes guarding the chickens.”
Neuer also faulted the Council’s democracies for failing to speak out more forcefully for Council action on violations worldwide.
The Council’s Third Session technically continues for another week, but that week will address the creation of general mechanisms for the newly formed body.
Today’s UN Watch Statement:
Thank you, Mr. President.
UN Watch welcomes the special session on Darfur, and urges the Council to consider the human rights situations in the other 16 countries and 3 disputed territories that are listed by the leading NGO Freedom House as being the world’s worst.
- Violations of freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and association in Belarus;
- Persecution of political activists, journalists, and ethnic and religious minorities in Burma;
- Repression of political dissent and of the media in China, as well as human rights violations in occupied Tibet;
- The imprisonment of journalists and pro-democracy activists under abusive prison conditions in Cuba;
- Arbitrary arrests, torture and extrajudicial executions, with impunity, in Haiti;
- Suppression of peaceful political activity and unfair judicial proceedings in Libya, where five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor face the death sentence under false charges;
- The imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of political prisoners, under horrific prison conditions and subject to torture, in North Korea;
- The systematic repression of women and non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia;
- Threats against human rights defenders, violence against women, disappearances and political assassinations by Syria;
- Continued impunity for the Andijan massacre and restrictions on independent media and civil society in Uzbekistan;
- Pervasive violence against and intimidation of opposition leaders and supporters, independent media, and civil society in Zimbabwe;
- Widespread war crimes against civilians in Chechnya; and
- Violations in Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Laos, Somalia, Turkmenistan, and Western Sahara.
We hope that at least some of these very grave situations will be among the Council’s next priorities.