Over at Opinio Juris, guest blogger Elizabeth Cassidy from UN Watch has a post about a recent speech given before the Council by the Executive Director of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer. In the speech (which you can read here along with the response by the president of the Council, Luis Alfonso de Alba), Neuer argues that:
In response, the president of the Council issued this statement:
[The Council] has enacted one resolution after another condemning one single state: Israel. In eight pronouncements—and there will be three more this session—Hamas and Hezbollah have been granted impunity. The entire rest of the world—millions upon millions of victims, in 191 countries—continue to go ignored.
So yes, this Council is doing something. And the Middle East dictators who orchestrate this campaign will tell you it is a very good thing. That they seek to protect human rights, Palestinian rights.
So too, the racist murderers and rapists of Darfur women tell us they care about the rights of Palestinian women; the occupiers of Tibet care about the occupied; and the butchers of Muslims in Chechnya care about Muslims.
But do these self-proclaimed defenders truly care about Palestinian rights?
Let us consider the past few months. More than 130 Palestinians were killed by Palestinian forces. This is three times the combined total that were the pretext for calling special sessions in July and November. Yet the champions of Palestinian rights—Ahmadinejad, Assad, Khaddafi, John Dugard—they say nothing. Little 3-year-old boy Salam Balousha and his two brothers were murdered in their car by Prime Minister Haniyeh’s troops. Why has this Council chosen silence?
Because Israel could not be blamed. Because, in truth, the dictators who run this Council couldn’t care less about Palestinians, or about any human rights.
They seek to demonize Israeli democracy, to delegitimize the Jewish state, to scapegoat the Jewish people. They also seek something else: to distort and pervert the very language and idea of human rights.
You ask: What has become of the founders’ dream? With terrible lies and moral inversion, it is being turned into a nightmare.
The hypocracy of this is especially galling since, as Cassidy notes:
For the first time in this session I will not express thanks for that statement. I shall point out to the distinguished representative of the organization that just spoke, the distinguished representative of United Nations Watch, if you'd kindly listen to me. I am sorry that I'm not in a position to thank you for your statement. I should mention that I will not tolerate any similar statements in the Council. The way in which members of this Council were referred to, and indeed the way in which the council itself was referred to, all of this is inadmissible. In the memory of the persons that you referred to, founders of the Human Rights Commission, and for the good of human rights, I would urge you in any future statements to observe some minimum proper conduct and language. Otherwise, any statement you make in similar tones to those used today will be taken out of the records.
Over the past year in the Council, ambassadors have called each other, UN experts, and representatives of NGOs "ignorant" and other similar insults. Sudan and its allies have denied the existence of human rights violations in Darfur, and Iran has denied the Holocaust. Nigeria has defended the use of the death penalty by stoning against homosexuals. The invective against Israel has included accusations of "an Israeli Holocaust against the Palestinian people," a "thirst for the blood" of civilians, and of being "an apartheid regime" and even "an invader from the planet Mars." The United States has been accused of running a "concentration camp" at Guantanamo Bay and of "genocide" against Cuba. The United Kingdom has been called a "colonial slave-master." Sweden has been accused of "ethnic cleansing" against anyone who does not have the coloring of "former Viking conquerors." Yet all of these statements, and many others like them, have been thanked and deemed admissible by the Council Chair.The UN simply cannot be an effective arbiter or monitor of human rights. So long as it refuses to place the value of those rights above that of sovereign equality, the Council will continue to be hijacked by those that seek to divert attention to Israel, that while perhaps deserved certainly does not excuse ignoring the much worse abuses going on elsewhere.
PS: Over at Opinio Juris, you can watch a YouTube video that highlights some of the things delegates have said in front of the Council that have been allowed as admissible....