WSJ: The UN Human Rights Council just wrapped up its annual meeting. Here with the report is UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer. Let’s start with what happened here. Any major action against the world’s major human rights abusers?
NEUER: Well, there were a few resolutions. There was one resolution on Iran, Syria, and North Korea, and those were good. But the vast majority of the world’s worst abusers were not in the dock of the accused, rather they were in the seat of the judges. China, Russia, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela had no resolutions at all on their human rights record, even though we brought victims.
Our group UN Watch, with 25 other human rights groups, brought famous victims who had just suffered torture and oppression from those countries, testified in front of the Council, and there was no action at all. On the contrary, those countries are members of the Human Rights Council.
And how do they remain members?
Well, there’s an election that’s held every year, and the worst abusers get elected. They trade votes, they use other forms of “bribery,” you might say, to win over votes. So, countries like Saudi Arabia easily get 130 votes, some of these countries get up to 180 votes.
Now, there was a special rapporteur on Palestine appointed, generated some controversy, what happened there?
That’s right. Well, it’s a six-year post. It’s kind of the czar on Palestinian human rights. The job itself is peculiar. It’s the only UN expert on country situations that examines only one side. So, if Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or Fatah, commit human rights violations—which they do on a regular basis—this job by definition excludes those violations.
But the person they appointed is someone who very much likes that bias. His name is Michael Lynk, he’s a Canadian law professor, and he has spent the past 25 years advocating against Israel. The job requires objectivity and impartiality—and the Human Rights Council completely disregarded their own rules and appointed him.
And I noticed that there was some push back there from some of the western democracies.
Indeed, actually it’s interesting. The new Canadian government of Pierre Trudeau, the foreign minister, Stéphane Dion, which is an extremely pro-UN government…
Justin Trudeau! Yes. They just hosted Ban Ki-moon, and they announced they’re running for the Security Council. It’s a very pro-UN government. They issued quite a strong statement saying that they disagree with this appointment, and they are calling for a review, which is very strong words.
And again, I assume the usual condemnations of Israel.
Absolutely. Israel was singled out more than any other country—actually more than the entire rest of the world combined, in this session.
Okay, well thank you for this horrible update as usual from the Human Rights Council. UN Watch Executive Director, Hillel Neuer, thank you for joining the show.