Why Does the U.N. Human Rights Council Turn A Blind Eye to Terrorism?

March 8 2012
UN SPEAKERS ATTACKED AMERICA AND ISRAEL: The president of the UN General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar, appeared in Geneva to open the current session of the Human Rights Council. He misused his speech, ostensibly delivered on behalf of all 193 member states, to attack Israel, hailing the council's permament agenda item against the Jewish state at every meeting.

Al-Nasser expressed grave concern that the "Arab Awakening" might "divert attention" from "this obstacle in the face of international peace and stability" (i.e., Israel). He had the temerity to claim that "the Syrian people in the Occupied Syrian Golan" lack "freedom and dignity." (Is what awaits them under Assad?.) Iran's foreign minister then rose to attack America for burning Islamic holy books.

Why Does the U.N. Human Rights Council
Turn A Blind Eye to Terrorism?

The UN Human Rights Council is holding its annual session in Geneva and UN Watch, an accredited NGO, has asked that a 20-year-old Syrian woman named Hadeel Kouki be permitted to testify before the council. “Allowing them to speak is using the unique power of an international spotlight to mobilize shame,” Neuer said. “Right now, Russia and China are holding strong with Assad, but every time one of these eyewitnesses speaks, it erodes the ability of Moscow and Beijing to shield him.” — The Toronto Star, March 7, 2012. MORE...

"For UNESCO to keep President Bashar Assad on a human rights committee while his regime mercilessly murders its own people is simply immoral, indefensible and an insult to Syria's victims," Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said. The human rights group heads a campaign of 55 parliamentarians, human rights and religious groups calling for Syria's expulsion. UNESCO elected Syria to its human rights committee in November, UN Watch said. The human rights group then launched a campaign to reverse the decision, which in turn prompted U.S. and British efforts in Thursday's debate. — The United Press International, March 8, 2012. MORE..


Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, which has been campaigning to get Syria expelled from UNESCO, called the decision scandalous. — Reuters, March 9, 2012. MORE...

Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based advocacy group UN Watch, believed the international community squandered an important opportunity to send the Assad regime a message because many UNESCO members were worried that censuring Syria would set a precedent. "Politics simply trumped human rights, with too many UNESCO diplomats fearing that if Syria were removed for its violations, many of them would be next," he said in an email. — The National Post, March 8, 2012. MORE...

The U.N. Watch blog reported last month that Libya’s delegate to the U.N. Human Rights Council said that gays threaten “the continuation and reproduction of the human race” and that, had his country not been suspended from the council last summer during its civil war, it would have opposed a resolution condemning violence against gay people. — The Washington Post, March 6, 2012. MORE...

UN Watch testimony before the UN Human Rights Council, 19th Session, March 5, 2012, Geneva, delivered by executive director Hillel Neuer.

Thank you, Mr. President.

UN Watch welcomes the report on the issue of human rights of victims of terrorism, A/HRC/19/38, which is before us today. We support the exchange of information on efforts made at the international level to protect the rights of victims of terrorism and their families.

Terrorism does not grow in a vacuum. It breeds on a ground of hatred. It thrives in an atmosphere that teaches extremism, and that legitimizes violence against civilians.

This Council is the world’s highest human rights body. As such, it has the unique ability—through its sessions, resolutions and experts—to send the opposite message. It can educate the hearts and minds of millions with the message that the deliberate killing of civilians is wrong—that terrorism is illegal, immoral and a violation of the right to life. It can show sympathy and support for the victims.

And so we ask: how has the Council responded to acts of terrorism? What messages has it sent? Is its current approach helping victims?

Let us consider the record.

Over the past decade, terrorist attacks were perpetrated in New York; in London; in Madrid; in Mumbai; in Iraq; and in Jerusalem. These attacks, and many more, were carried out in the name of an extremist religious ideology. Thousands of innocents were killed.

How many urgent sessions did this Council convene to condemn these atrocities?

Not one.

How many inquiries were created?

Not one.

How many resolutions were adopted in response to these attacks?

Not one.

Instead, when justice was served on Osama Bin Laden, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay questioned this act.

Instead, after staying silent when Hamas and Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets against civilians, this Council convened sessions, inquiries and reports condemning the victim for defending itself.

Instead, this Council appointed an expert, Richard Falk, whom the Palestinian Authority itself has accused of being “a partisan of Hamas.”

Mr. President,

To protect the human rights of victims of terrorism, it is time to adopt a new approach.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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