The U.N. Human Rights Council, since it’s inception, has passed more resolutions against Israel than any other country, despite horrible abuses in Africa and China. When the leader of the U.N. finally decides to point this fact out them, he gets criticized by the Islamic representatives of the council. Anyone else see a trend here? Clue in on the word “Islamic”.
(CNSNews.com) - After ensuring that the U.N. Human Rights Council, in its first year of operation, produced numerous resolutions condemning Israel, the Islamic bloc on Wednesday criticized U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon for highlighting that fact.At a meeting of the Geneva-based HRC, the representative of Pakistan — speaking on behalf of the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) — reportedly scolded Ban for his comments last month chiding the council for singling out Israel.
The Pakistani delegate was quoted as saying the HRC would have to “streamline its relationship” with the secretary-general.
Last month, Ban’s spokesman said in a statement that Ban was “disappointed at the council’s decision to single out only one specific regional item, given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world.”
Although the statement did not name the “regional item” concerned, the HRC has since its formation a year ago censured Israel 11 times — and no other country.
The spokesman added, “As regards the removal of mandates relating to two member states, [Ban] wishes to emphasize the need to consider all situations of possible human rights violations equally.”
The remark was a reference to a decision by the HRC to stop reporting on alleged human rights violations in Cuba and Belarus.
U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental organization affiliated with the American Jewish Committee, decried the Pakistani envoy’s remarks Wednesday.
“We’re witnessing a dangerous attempt to censor the highest official of the United Nations, an effort to silence anyone who exposes the council’s repeated breaches of its own principles of equality, universality, and non-selectivity,” said the group’s executive director, Hillel Neuer.
Canada’s representative to the HRC was quoted as defending Ban during Wednesday’s meeting.
“We have to acknowledge that the secretary-general is entitled to his views, and it would ill behoove this council to appear to be constraining or discouraging the exercise of freedom of opinion and expression, a fundamental freedom we are committed to uphold,” he said.
The 47-seat council was established to replace the erstwhile Commission on Human Rights, which became a laughing stock after regimes accused of egregious rights abuses sought membership and used their positions to block scrutiny, while focusing disproportionately on their foes, notably Israel.
The new human rights apparatus was meant to be a crowning achievement of former secretary-general Kofi Annan’s effort to reform the world body, but Annan himself, a month before leaving office, criticized the council for focusing too much on the Arab-Israeli conflict while ignoring the atrocities in Sudan’s Darfur region.
In line with a negotiated membership formula, the African and Asian regional groups hold 26 of the HRC’s 47 seats. And since OIC member states hold a majority in both of those regional groups, the Islamic bloc and its allies effectively dominate the council.
President Bush last month announced that the U.S. for the first time would send an envoy to the OIC.
“Our special envoy will listen to and learn from representatives from Muslim states, and will share with them America’s views and values,” he said.
The envoy has yet to be named, but a State Department official, Gregg Rickman, held talks with OIC officials in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, this week.
According to an OIC statement, “the discussions focused on exchange of views on cooperation for further strengthening efforts to address the issue of discrimination and intolerance of religious faiths and for dialogue for reaching a historical reconciliation towards the Alliance of Civilizations.”
Rickman holds the post of the Secretary of State’s special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.