06/06/2013

Latest News Syria: Israel reengaging with UN Human Rights Council

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May 29, 2013

Israel ready to reengage with UN Human Rights Council

Israel ready to reengage with UN Human Rights CouncilJerusalem is prepared to thaw ties frozen in 2012 — but only if ‘fair play and international standards’ are applied, deputy FM says.

Israel is working toward reengaging with the United Nations Human Rights Council, Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin has confirmed, adding, however, that such a move would occur only if the body could guarantee that the Jewish state would receive fair treatment in the future.

Jerusalem unilaterally cut all ties with the Geneva-based body last year over its alleged anti-Israel bias.

“Since then many countries have asked us to change our policy,” Elkin said Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the 4th Conference of the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem. “And I ask myself: Is Israel expected to agree to being discriminated against, or should a change in our policy come about only through the ending of discrimination? The answer is clear and after much deliberation I have recently agreed to diplomatic engagement with the council and major actors in the international community to see if we can arrive at understandings and guarantees that will enable our return to the council, while ensuring that fair play and international standards are applied towards Israel.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin during an interview in Jerusalem Sunday (photo credit: AP/Dan Balilty)

In his speech, delivered in English, Elkin slammed the UNHRC for unduly singling out Israel for harsh criticism. Forty-six of 103 country-related resolutions and six of the 19 special sessions held since the council’s establishment “were against Israel,” he said. The Jewish state is not a member of any regional grouping and is the only country that has an agenda item “specifically to condemn its so-called violations of human rights,” Elkin noted.

“Can such a miserable record be defined as anything other than anti-Semitism in the guise of anti-Israelism?” he asked rhetorically.

After the UNHRC’s March 2012 decision to establish a fact-finding mission into Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, then-foreign minister Avigdor Liberman announced that Israel would cut all ties to the council and cease cooperating with its officials. “From now on, we will no longer work together in any way, shape or form with any officials from the council, including the High Commissioner,” Navi Pillay, Liberman said at the time. “If anyone from the council calls us, we just won’t answer the phone.”

Earlier this year, Israel became the first of 193 UN member states to boycott a routine evaluation of its human rights situation scheduled to be conducted by council. The international community reacted angrily, saying Jerusalem risked undermining the council’s entire periodic review process, considered one of its most potent mechanisms.

At the same time, Israel took steps aimed at restoring its relationship with the council when Jerusalem’s permanent representative to the body, Ambassador Eviatar Manor, phoned the council’s president, Remigiusz Henczel, in the first senior-level official dealing between the two parties since March 2012.

Last month, Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter visited Israel, urged leaders to work on finding ways to restore ties with the UNHRC and offered his help in brokering a deal. Jerusalem seemed willing to restore ties, but Foreign Ministry officials indicated that full cooperation still appeared far away.

“We are now going to work on finding diplomatic solutions to this inherently unfair situation, solutions that will enable us to return to the council, to work with council not on the basis of ‘anyone who wants to bash Israel can do so free of charge,’ but serious work on equal footing,” said ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.

It is currently unclear what exactly such a mechanism, in which Israel will no longer be automatically at the receiving end of endless criticism, could look like.

“We’re going to start working with a number of countries in the council… and the commissioners,” Palmor said. “We will need to see whether it is possible for Israel to get equal treatment.”

A diplomatic official told The Times of Israel that Jerusalem is well aware of the UN realities — in which Arab and Muslim states have an automatic majority when it comes to resolutions hostile to Israel — “but we will see whether there is any possibility to get the council to work fairly with Israel, in which case when there is criticism we will accept it,” the official said. “But we will not be the council’s punching bag.”

May 29, 2013: 'Israel ready to reengage with UN Human Rights Council':
http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-to-reengage-with-un-human-rights-council/

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The U.N. World Watch campaign against Syria:

05/06/2013

Latest News Syria: Campaign of United Nations Human Rights Council !

 

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As a reminder: 'UN Watch called on the U.S. and the EU to lead a vigorous campaign to defeat Syria's candidacy for the U.N.'s 47-nation Human Rights Council'...

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'Nicaragua's Ortega, supporter of Qaddafi, also a candidate'

GENEVA, March 9 - One week after Col. Muammar Qaddafi's regime was suspended from the U.N.'s 47-nation Human Rights Council for "gross and systematic" violations, the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad declared it is running for a seat, in the upcoming May 20th elections.

"It's an outrage," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights group. "Qaddafi was just ousted by the UN on grounds that a government which brutalizes its own people doesn't belong on the world's highest human rights body. Well, the Assad regime runs a notorous police state that denies the Syrian people the right to free speech and freedom of assembly, jails journalists and tortures dissidents. It sponsors some of the world's most vicious terrorist groups and has assassinated numerous journalists and opponents in Lebanon. The UN and the cause of human rights will be severely damaged if Syria's Assad regime wins a seat."

UN Watch called on the U.S. and the EU to lead a vigorous campaign to defeat Syria's candidacy, and to ensure there will be competition on the Asian slate of candidates. Currently, there are only three declared candidates for the four alloted seats.

"Last year, the democracies fought a successful campaign to defeat Iran, and persuaded other countries to compete. Yet they said and did absolutely nothing on Libya -- perhaps due to lucrative oil and business deals -- and Qaddafi won by a landslide. It's vital this year that the US and the EU announce early that they are opposed to having the oppressive Ba'athist regime of Bashar Assad judging the world on human rights," said Neuer.

Neuer said that Syria clearly failed to meet the criteria of UNGA Resolution 60/251, which established the UN Human Rights Council in 2006.  General Assembly members are obliged to elect states to the Council by "tak[ing] into account the candidates’ contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights and their voluntary pledges and commitments made thereto." The resolution also provides that consideration ought to be given to whether the candidate can meet the obligations of Council membership, which include (a) to "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights" and (b) to "fully cooperate with the Council."

If there is competition within a regional slate, the candidates with the most votes in each region win, so long as they receive the affirmative votes of 97 other countries (an absolute majority of the membership of the UNGA).

The frequent use of "closed lists" in the elections, said Neuer, deprive the Member States of the UNGA of the opportunity to exercise the responsibilities described in the 2006 UNGA Resolution creating the Council and – because of the records of many of this year’s candidates – threaten to further weaken the Council, which still struggles to establish a reputation superior to its widely disparaged predecessor, the UN Human Rights Commission.

Neuer expressed concern that many regions would not offer any competition, ensuring the election of Syria and also Nicaragua.

UN Watch slammed Nicaragua's candidacy."Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega, who accepted the Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize in 2009, recently renewed his support for the Libyan dictator despite Qaddafi's ongoing massacre of innocent civilians. By effectively supporting murder, Ortega's government is clearly disqualified from being an arbiter of human rights." 

http://www.unwatch.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=bdKKISNqEmG&b=1316871&ct=9134721

Note: UN Watch is an instrument of the American government

May 29, 2013: 'Israel ready to reengage with UN Human Rights Council':
http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-to-reengage-with-un-human-rights-council/

United Nations Human Rights Council: Washington's toy

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1) United Nations Human Rights Council: Lybia - March 1, 2011

'UN General Assembly Suspends Libya's Human Rights Council Membership'

Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC

The United States applauds the move by the UN General Assembly to suspend Libya’s membership rights in the Human Rights Council in Geneva. We continue to demand an immediate halt to the violence perpetrated by the Qadhafi government against its own citizens. The General Assembly today has made it clear that governments that turn their guns on their own people have no place on the Human Rights Council.

Today’s historic action is the first time that any country serving on the Human Rights Council, or the Commission before it, has ever had its membership suspended. The international community is speaking with one voice and our message is unmistakable: these violations of universal rights are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

Two years ago, the United States announced that we would seek to join the Human Rights Council with a commitment to reform the Council from within. The actions the Council has taken over the last few days, setting the stage for today’s decision, is the latest example that our engagement is paying dividends, even as we keep pressing for further reforms.

The United States will continue to work with the international community on additional steps to hold the Qadhafi government accountable, provide humanitarian assistance to those in need, and support the Libyan people as they pursue a transition to democracy.

http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/03/157526.htm

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2) United Nations Human Rights Council: Syria - June 5, 2013

'Russia: Use of UNHRC to Benefit Extremist Opposition Hinders Resolving Syrian Crisis'

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that using the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to support one side of the crisis in Syria creates an obstacle for preparing the international conference to resolve the crisis due to be held in Geneva.

A statement published on the Ministry's website on Wednesday said that the use of the UNHRC to benefit one side of the crisis in Syria, specifically the extremist opposition, does not help find a way out of the Syrian crisis.

The statement pointed out that the bias of the report submitted at the UNHRC was exploited by some countries' delegation to once again assign blame for what is happening in Syria to the Syrian government, all while neglecting the many crimes and human rights violation committed by armed terrorist groups.

The Foreign Ministry said that the experts who submitted the aforementioned reported didn't bother to listen to the victims and witnesses to violence perpetrated by extremists, although these experts admitted that the growing numbers of extremists among gunmen in Syria are committing summary executions, torture, abduction and employ children in aggressive actions.

The statement also noted that the committee in charge of the report once again decided not to include bombings committed by armed groups in Syrian cities in the list of terrorist acts; it even refused to describe them as terrorist acts!

The Ministry said that the atrocities committed by extremists are being condoned through remaining silent over them, especially rape and violence against women.

H. Sabbagh

http://sana.sy/eng/22/2013/06/05/485907.htm