UN Watch in the News — April 2022

UN Watch was quoted in multiple media outlets during April 2022 on topics including: New Special Rapporteur on Palestine appointed despite record of anti-Israel activities; UN allies with radical leftist groups; UN experts rule China arbitrarily detaining activist; UN fails to protect women’s rights.

Russia Suspended From UNHRC Following UN Watch Campaign

Interviewed on CNN, April 4, 2022:

CNN’s John Berman: “This morning, new calls to remove Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council. The group UN Watch is drafting a resolution for the UN General Assembly to force them out.”

Joining me now is the executive director of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer. Thank you so much for being with us.

When you see these images out of Bucha, the bodies littering the streets, I’m just wondering what your reaction is?”

Hillel Neuer: “Look, one thinks of atrocities that shock the conscience of mankind.

But I am here in Geneva, Switzerland, spending the past five weeks at a session of the Human Rights Council, and Russia is sitting there as a member.

For God’s sake, Russia cannot be a member of the United Nations’ highest human rights body.”

Quoted by AFP, “Russia Rights Council Suspension Sends Strong Signal,” April 7, 2022:

Some non-governmental organizations accuse the regional groups of stitching up the elections by presenting the same number of candidates as vacant seats.

UN Watch’s executive director Hillel Neuer has said in the past that the elections process was designed to weed out the world’s worst rights abusers, but routinely saw oppressive regimes win international legitimacy.

The NGO campaigned for Russia to be expelled from the council and said it would now target other members over their alleged rights violations.

“Next on our list: China—one million Muslims in camps; Cuba—tyranny; Eritrea—slave labor; Libya—tortures migrants; Mauritania—slavery; Pakistan—hosts terrorist; Venezuela— state collapse,” tweeted Neuer.

Quoted in the New York Sun, “Ouster of Russia From UN’s Human Rights Council Emerges as a Pyrrhic Victory,” April 7, 2022:

Some 68 percent of the current Geneva-based Council members are non-democracies, UN Watch’s executive director, Hillel Neuer, who launched the drive to expel Russia shortly after it invaded Ukraine last month, says.

“This a rare day of moral clarity at the UN and its human rights body,” Mr. Neuer told the Sun after his drive led to today’s vote. Specifically, he added, Russia’s expulsion represents an “effective abandonment of a long-held European position that justifies the election of dictatorships to human rights bodies under a ‘big tent’ theory.”

Cited in the Boston Globe: “The UN Human Rights Council makes a mockery of human rights,” April 8, 2022:

Among those pressing for Moscow’s suspension was Hillel Neuer, the director of the Geneva-based nongovernmental organization UN Watch. “Every day that Russia sits on the world’s highest human rights body while slaughtering innocent civilians in Ukraine is an outrage,” Neuer told the New York Sun.

Quoted in the National Review, “U.S. to Seek Russia’s Removal from U.N. Human Rights Council after Mass Killings,” April 4, 2022:

Russia’s mass killings of Ukrainian civilians in the city of Bucha has persuaded the Biden administration to seek Moscow’s removal from the U.N. Human Rights Council after a monthlong delay.

Removing Russia from the council requires a two-thirds-majority vote in the U.N. General Assembly. While that’s typically a near-insurmountable bar to clear, the U.S.-led push is “guaranteed to pass,” according to Hillel Neuer, who leads the watchdog group U.N. Watch.

Neuer tweeted that only a few countries are expected to vote against the resolution and that countries that decline to support it but don’t vote No won’t be counted against the required two-thirds threshold.

Quoted in CNS News, “UN Chief Wary About Suspending Russia From Human Rights Council,” April 7, 2022:

U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, described as “extraordinary” the assertion that suspending Russia would set “of a dangerous precedent.”

“Failure to enforce the Human Rights Council’s own rules – members must uphold highest standards, gross abusers face suspension – is what would be dangerous,” he said. “And precedent was on our side: U.N. removed Qaddafi’s Libya in 2011 for atrocities.”

U.N. Watch has led campaigns to have abusive governments removed from the HRC, including Libya in 2011, and Venezuela’s Maduro regime and Russia more recently.

Neuer also tweeted that U.N. representatives “fear our campaign opens a can of worms,” pointing out that current HRC members include China, Cuba, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Pakistan, Somalia, and Venezuela.

Cited in Business Day, “SA abstains again as UN suspends Russia from human rights body,” April 7, 2022:

There was concern that the resolution was not focused purely on ending the conflict but would be used as a precedent to remove countries such as China, Cuba, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Pakistan and Venezuela from the council as well.

This follows a tweet to this effect by Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, which came up with the resolution and lobbied for it to be adopted by the General Assembly.

Quoted in the New York Sun, “Senate Is Rebelling Against Russia’s Membership in the UN’s Human Rights Council,” April 1, 2022:

UN Watch’s director, Hillel Neuer, who follows closely the goings on in Geneva, said he and his group “fully endorse the sentiment expressed by Mr. Blinken before the council, but now is time for action.

“Every day that Russia sits on the world’s highest human rights body while slaughtering innocent civilians in Ukraine is an outrage,” Mr. Neuer says, adding however that in Geneva “the whole system is built on turning a blind eye” to human rights violations.

Russia Loses Elections to UN ECOSOC Bodies

Quoted on CNS News, “Russia Blocked, But Other Rights-Abusing Regimes Ushered Onto Key UN Committee Overseeing NGOs,” April 14, 2022:

U.N. Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, whose NGO frequently clashes with diplomats from repressive U.N. member-states, commented afterwards that the U.N. had just elected onto the committee “10 regimes that repress human rights activists.”

“This means dictatorships will have a majority on the committee in order to deny United Nations accreditation to any independent organizations in the world that call out their human rights violations, and to accredit fake front groups created by the regimes,” Neuer said.

Quoted on CNS News, “Russia Running for Leadership Posts in U.N. Agencies for Children, Women,” April 13, 2022:

Commenting on Russia’s running for seats on the U.N. Women and UNICEF boards and the NGO Committee, U.N. Watch executive director Hillel Neuer noted that the same ECOSOC voting by secret ballot last year elected Iran onto the U.N.s top gender equality body, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

“Last week, U.N. chief [Antonio Guterres] opposed expelling Russia from the Human Rights Council,” Neuer recalled. “What is his position on these two votes?”

Neuer voiced the hope that democracies among ECOSOC’s members will all vote to reject Russia’s candidacies.

UN Allies With Radical Leftist Groups

Interviewed on GB News, April 27, 2022:

Hillel Neuer tells GB News there is a toxic alliance at the U.N. between radical leftist groups with an anti-Western agenda and the world’s worst dictatorships. Transcript here.

Quoted in the Sunday Telegraph, “The UN is still living in a fantasy world. Until it learns its lesson, the West cannot rely on it,” April 30, 2022:

But it’s worse than a case of the UN simply having its head in the sand. Despite being cloaked in moral authority and pacifist virtue, it has actually become an actively malign force. As the redoubtable Hillel Neuer, head of UN Watch, said last week, the UN is essentially an alliance “between the world‘s worst countries”, legitimised by far-left NGOs with radical anti-West agenda like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International (who are doing business with the Taliban) and dictatorships, including those of Iran and China.

Neuer noted that the 47-nation Human Rights Council, which is meant to be the world‘s highest human rights body, included Russia until two weeks ago, and of course continues to include China, Venezuela, Pakistan, Somalia, Eritrea and so on: countries with appalling human rights records, that crush and poison dissidents, that commit mass murder. Meanwhile the UN‘s New York-based Commission on the Status of Women’s latest member is Iran, a country in which women can be arrested if their headscarves slip. “It is Orwellian,” noted Neuer. “The complete opposite of what the UN was meant to do. They spend most of their time ignoring the world‘s worst abuses.”

UN Experts Rule China Arbitrarily Detaining Activist

Quoted by AFP, “China is ‘arbitrarily detaining’ activist Zhang Baocheng, UN experts say,” April 26, 2022:

China is “arbitrarily detaining” anti-corruption activist Zhang Baocheng, who was arrested three years ago for allegedly “promoting terrorism”, UN experts have ruled, urging Beijing to immediately release him.

In a ruling reached last November but made public by one of the plaintiffs Monday, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Zhang’s detention since 2019 was “arbitrary”…

Geneva-based rights group UN Watch said Monday that it was one of the plaintiffs in the case, alongside Washington-based Citizen Power Initiatives for China.

UN Watch chief Hillel Neuer called in a statement on Beijing “to honour the UN ruling and to immediately release Mr. Zhang.”

New Special Rapporteur on Palestine Appointed Despite Record of Anti-Israel Activities

Interviewed on i24News, April 3, 2022:

Hillel Neuer tells i24News that we haven’t yet heard the U.S. government condemn the U.N. Human Rights Council’s grotesque appointment of Francesca Albanese and we are calling on U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield to do so.

 

Quoted in the Jerusalem Post, “Israel: UNHRC’s new investigator has compared Nakba to Holocaust,” April 3, 2022:

Israel has denounced the UN’s appointment of Italian legal expert Francesca Albanese to the post of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, arguing that in the past she has compared the Palestinian Nakba to the Holocaust in World War II.

UN Watch published a report on Albanese, that included a video in which she compared the Holocaust in which six million Jews were killed, with the Nakba, the Palestinian experience of destruction and exile during and immediately after the war of 1948.

Quoted on JNS, “New UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian issues compared ‘nakba’ to Holocaust,” April 4, 2022:

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said he expected that Albanese would pursue a path similar to [former UN Special Rapporteur Michael] Lynk, who entrenched “the discrimination inherent in the mandate through his one-sided U.N. reports and statements that gave a free pass to systematic violations by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.”

Quoted in The Times of Israel, “Israel blasts ‘unfit’ lawyer tapped to head UN probe into treatment of Palestinians,” April 3, 2022:

UN Watch, a pro-Israel lobby group based in Geneva, highlighted that last year Albanese moderated an event titled “Israeli Apartheid Exposed,” and claimed she had not raised potential personal conflicts of interest if she were to take on the role.

Cited in the Jewish Chronicle, “UN rapporteur posted support for terror ‘icon’,” April 14, 2022:

UN Watch highlighted that last year Ms Albanese moderated an event titled “Israeli Apartheid Exposed” and said she had not raised potential personal conflicts of interest in regards to her appointment to the role.

Cited in the Jewish Insider, “New special rapporteur for Palestinian issues advocates ‘de facto destruction of Israel,’ says Israel U.N. envoy in Geneva,” April 1, 2022:

But Albanese has a history of deep criticism of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In a tweet last year, she criticized the Oslo peace process that yielded the framework for a two-state solution. She appeared on a panel in December with Omar Barghouti, the founder of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and she has accused Israel of committing “crimes against humanity.” A report published by the NGO UN Watch found that Albanese compared the Nakba — what Palestinians refer to as the “catastrophe” of the founding of the State of Israel — to the Holocaust in an Italian-language interview.

Quoted in The Algemeiner, “UN Official Takes a Final, Parting Shot at Israel,” April 15, 2022:

In 2016, opposing Lynk’s appointment, UN Watch stated: “Mr. Lynk equally fails the impartiality requirements set forth in Human Rights Council resolution 5/1 and resolution 16/21. He has been an ardent anti-Israeli activist for at least three decades, plays a leadership role in groups that advocate against Israel, and participates in political campaigns that use demonizing language against Israelis.”

UN Watch noted that “Lynk cited Nazi war crimes in his call for ‘legal strategies’ to prosecute Israelis;” served on the boards of Arab and Palestinian lobbying groups; supported Israeli Apartheid Week; favored a “one-state solution” that would undo Israel’s creation; and “called for ‘a victory in the International Criminal Court’ that would isolate Israel.”

UN Fails to Protect Women’s Rights

Cited on JNS and Israel Hayom, “The United Nations doesn’t care about women’s rights,” April 5, 2022:

Hillel Neuer and his team at UN Watch recently reported that the Islamic Republic of Iran is set to join the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. This is only the latest in the world body’s unmatched record of hot takes and patently incorrect decisions. Allowing Iran onto the commission is proof positive that the United Nations is not serious about protecting women’s rights. In fact, the United Nations shouldn’t be taken seriously by anyone anymore.

Has the UN Failed on Ukraine?

Cited in the Jerusalem Post, “Can the UN do anything?” April 23, 2022:

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has exposed the price of the United Nation’s abandonment of its founding principles, human rights, and its persistent attacks on democracies, so prevalent throughout the body and its affiliated institutions.

The UN’s actions over the years, well documented by the media and NGOs such as UN Watch, have weakened international norms and inhibited its ability to respond in moments of crisis. Over time, this has resulted in the institution being watered down to the point where it is now unable to respond to a major conflict other than providing aid.

The UN also has had a long fixation with Israel, which has blinded the body and prevented it from doing its job effectively. Last year, out of the 18 resolutions that the General Assembly adopted condemning individual countries, 14 were directed at Israel.

The World Health Organization, a UN body, has passed seven resolutions condemning Israel since 2015 (including over the pandemic), the only country it has ever singled out, and UNESCO hasn’t condemned a country other than Israel since 2019, according to information from UN Watch’s databases.

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