UN Watch in the News — March 2021

UN Watch was quoted in multiple media outlets during March 2021 on topics including: UN Human Rights Council passes resolution condemning sanctions against dictatorships; Universal Periodic Review reflects UNHRC deficiencies; UN Watch slams UNHRC over Israel vaccination libel; UNHRC passes anti-Israel resolutions with European support; IHRA antisemitism definition applicable to UN double standards on Israel.

UNHRC Makes a Mockery of Its Human Rights Advocacy

Quoted in The National Interest, “The United Nations Has a Human Rights Issue,” Nickie Deahl, March 11, 2021:

The United Nations has once again made a mockery of its human rights advocacy. Last month, it announced plans to elect Syria to a top position in a committee tasked to uphold human rights. It’s a laughable move, and one that illustrates the UN’s problem with sticking to its values.

The committee, called the Special Committee on Decolonization, is meant to oppose “subjugation, domination, and exploitation” of other people. And on the same day, the UN’s Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic condemned the Assad regime, reporting on “the most heinous of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law perpetrated against the civilian population in Syria since March 2011.” The report declared the dictatorial regime’s actions likely constitute “crimes against humanity, war crimes and other international crimes, including genocide.” These two simultaneous decisions highlight that the UN cannot claim to stand for human rights while also elevating these brutal regimes.

“That the UN announced its intention to elect the Syrian regime to a senior UN post on the same day that an inquiry accused the regime of crimes against humanity is morally repulsive and logically absurd,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based UN watchdog.

Cited in Newsweek, “Cuba Being on the UN Human Rights Council Is a Travesty,” Elyssa Koren, March 3, 2021:

Given the pervasiveness of human rights hypocrisy, it is nearly impossible to impart black and white labels, designating some governments as unreservedly “good” and some as unreservedly “bad.” There is thus no straightforward way to deal with the presence of human rights abusers on the Council. We must take seriously efforts to displace the worst human rights offenders (such as UN Watch’s new initiative on Venezuela), and there is sufficient cause for the same to apply to Cuba. The reality, however, is that the Human Rights Council has deep-seated problems of politicization that go far beyond mere membership.

UNHRC Passes Resolution Condemning Sanctions Against Dictatorships

Quoted in the Miami Herald, “Don’t pay attention to the hypocritical U.N resolution that Venezuela, Cuba brag is a victory,” Andres Oppenheimer, March 24, 2021:

Human-rights advocates are shaking their heads in disbelief.

“So now they are trying to convince us that Maduro is a victim of human-rights abuses,” Hillel Neuer, head of the Geneva-based U.N. Watch human rights group told me. “This is completely upside down.”

Neuer added that the Council’s vote is part of a new narrative being used by dictatorships to whitewash their crimes and portray themselves as victims.

Universal Periodic Review Reflects UNHRC Deficiencies

Cited in The Daily Signal, “Universal Periodic Review Reflects ‘Deficiencies’ of Human Rights Council,” Brett Schaefer, March 16, 2021:
The universal periodic review also provides an opportunity to obscure problems rather than reveal them. As U.N. Watch has noted, governments like IranNorth Korea, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo game the process to make sure that the majority of comments praise their human rights records irrespective of reality.

UN Watch Slams UNHRC Over Israel Vaccination Libel

Featured in The Times of Israel, “NGO pans UN rights council for criticizing Israel on vaccination of Palestinians,” March 19, 2021:
Pro-Israel NGO UN Watch has accused the United Nations Human Rights Council of misrepresenting “facts and the law” in its criticism of Israel for not doing more to vaccinate Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
UN Watch said in a statement that the accusations “misrepresent both facts and the law.

“The truth is that everyone in the Israeli health system, including two million Israeli Arabs and hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs who live in Eastern Jerusalem, qualify for the vaccine. Those who are not part of the Israeli health system, whether they are Arabs living under PA rule or Jews in Israel who are tourists, do not qualify. Race has nothing to do with it.”

Addressing the council Wednesday, Arab Israeli activist Yoseph Haddad said accusations that Israel’s vaccination program is racist and discriminatory are baseless.

“This is false,” he said. “Like me, my family, friends and hundreds of thousands of other Israeli Arabs have been vaccinated.”

“The State of Israel is running campaigns in Arabic to encourage us Arab Israelis to get vaccinated, and Israel’s National EMS Magen David Adom, composed of Jews and Arabs, is working directly in Arab communities to vaccinate,” he said.

“Any attempt to claim that Israel’s vaccine policy is racist is a blatant attempt to smear Israel and distract from the corruption of nations on this very council.”

UN Human Rights Council Passes Anti-Israel Resolutions With European Support

Quoted in Israel Hayom and i24 News, “Major European powers vote in favor of anti-Israel UNHRC resolution,” March 25, 2021:

The United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution, with the support of Germany, France, the Netherlands and Italy, featuring 19 paragraphs criticizing Israeli policies.

UN Watch, a pro-Israel NGO, slammed the UNHRC resolution, accusing the international body of anti-Israel bias.

“The fact that this resolution was literally written by the Palestinians, with co-sponsors that include Pakistan on behalf of the Islamic states as well as Venezuela’s Maduro regime, is clear from the text’s pervasive condemnation of Israeli actions, with no mention whatsoever of Hamas, Islamic Jihad or the Palestinian Authority,” said Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch.

Quoted in The Times of Israel, “European powers back anti-Israel resolution at UN Human Rights Council,” March 24, 2021:

UN Watch, a Geneva-based nonprofit monitoring the world body’s alleged anti-Israel bias, released a statement decrying the resolution passed Tuesday.

“If the resolution were truly about Palestinian human rights, it would not have completely ignored Palestinian Authority abuses, including arbitrary killings, torture and arbitrary detention,” Neuer said.

Quoted in The Algemeiner, “UN Human Rights Council Passes Four Anti-Israel Resolutions With EU Support,” March 24, 2021:

“If the resolution were truly about Palestinian human rights, it would not have completely ignored Palestinian Authority abuses, including arbitrary killings, torture, and arbitrary detention,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights organization.

“Astonishingly, the resolution backed by numerous EU states included no reference whatsoever to abuses by the PA, which holds political prisoners and detainees, restricts freedom of the press and the internet, and uses violence, threats, arrests, interrogations and prosecutions to target journalists and dissidents,” Neuer added.

IHRA Antisemitism Definition Applicable to UN Double Standards on Israel

Cited in JNS and The Algemeiner, “What Nexus gets wrong and IHRA gets right with anti-Semitism,” Lea Speyer, March 23, 2021:

There are unfortunately hundreds, if not thousands, of real-world examples of Israel being held to a double standard. The most egregious and notorious comes from the U.N. Human Rights Council. According to watchdog group UN Watch, since 2015 Israel has been the subject of 112 condemnatory resolutions, compared to Iran’s five, North Korea’s six and Russia’s 12.

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