Syria to Join UN Human Rights Council
Another hit for the Useless Nations. Are these clowns ever going to wake up and realize where the real evil lies? How many bribes and kickbacks are enough? I think it’s time for the U.S. to pull out of the U.N. They are oviously trying everything in their means to minimalize American influence and make a mockery out of human decency.
Fresh from leading the OIC effort to kill the UN’s effort to enact a universal definition of terrorism, Syria is joining the UN ‘Human Rights Council.’
Syria is currently running for a seat on the U.N.’s flagship “human rights” body, the Human Rights Council. Seats are allocated to five regional groups, and just to make sure Syria’s ascendancy is unimpeded, the Asian group has only nominated the same number of states as they have seats. So barring any unexpected additions, Syria will join fellow U.N. human rights authorities like Saudi Arabia on the Council in May.
The U.N. does have a “test” for Human Rights Council wannabes. They call it a pledge system – candidates should promise to protect human rights. In the words of the 2006 General Assembly resolution that created the Council (the Bush administration and Israel casting a negative vote), when electing candidates “voluntary pledges and commitments made” “to the promotion and protection of human rights” should be “taken into account.”
Syria has been a quick study. Its pledge, obligingly posted on the U.N. website, says: “Promotion and protection of human rights are of highest importance to Syria…Syria’s candidature to the Human Rights Council signifies its commitment to respect and to support the inalienable and indivisible nature of all human rights.”
And the Obama administration is helping the Syrian candidacy along.
That might be another bad joke. Except that the Obama administration announced on March 30 that it was so “pleased to note the landmark achievements of the most recent session of the U.N. Human Rights Council” that it was going to seek a second term. That characterization of the Council’s main March session is somewhat dubious, at least if the administration cared at all about the concept of equality and the welfare of Israel. The last session was the worst on record for the demonization of the Jewish state, the Council adopting more anti-Israel resolutions in one sitting than ever before. The wildly premature announcement – the U.S. term will end in December 31, 2012 according to a new General Assembly deal – erases any possibility of using prospective U.S. membership or associated dollars as clout.
What could go wrong?
Read the whole thing (it includes the story about how Syria prevented the UN from defining terrorism).
Other journalists have had their cameras and notepads confiscated while covering various events that were deemed “provocative” by the Hamas authorities.
Hamas believes that intimidation of the media will prevent the truth from coming out. Like most Arab dictatorships, Hamas does not tolerate stories that reflect negatively on its radical regime in the Gaza Strip – the reason the Hamas government has been cracking down on local journalists who fail to toe the line.
Although some of the journalists who were assaulted work with international news organizations, many of these foreign media outlets ignored the story, apparently out of fear of retribution by the Hamas authorities.
These journalists who chose to defy Hamas should be supported not only by their foreign colleagues, but also by Western governments and human rights organizations.
Otherwise, the day will come when the world will never know what is really happening inside Hamas’s Gaza Strip.
In an attempt to divert attention from its repressive measures, the Hamas government this week issued an apology to all Palestinian journalists who were beaten up during their work.
But the apology is nothing but a ploy designed to absorb growing resentment with Hamas’s totalitarian regime in the Gaza Strip.
Some Palestinian journalists have succumbed to the threats and violence by changing their profession; others are continuing to do their job despite the dangers; many Palestinian journalists may soon be forced to go underground out of concern for their safety.
The attacks on Palestinian journalists reached their peak on March 15, when Hamas policemen used force to disperse thousands of Palestinians who had gathered in a public square in Gaza City to demand “national unity” between Hamas and Fatah.
The demonstration was part of a Facebook campaign organized by Palestinian youth with the aim of exerting pressure on the two rival parties to end their dispute and form a unity government.
The Foreign Press Association in Israel condemned the assault of Palestinian journalists and said it was “gravely concerned by Hamas’s crackdown on the media.”
It said that “on a day ostensibly devoted to Palestinian unity, police brutally attacked photographers and cameramen, beating the, breaking equipment and confiscating photos and video footage. This is the latest in a string of chilling attacks on reporters in Gaza.”
But the West sits silent.
hey… but Libya is part of the Human Rights Council… I’m sure they will help… LOLZ
That same year, Libya received nearly 19% of its total imports from Italy, followed by China at 10%, and Germany and Turkey at about 10% each, the CIA reported. France accounted for less than 6%. via sidetick.com
The European Union has long claimed the moral high ground in the Middle East, but for many years it has misrepresented its post-modern “soft power” foreign policy as a morally superior alternative to the United States in the Arab world.
The popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East are exposing the hypocritical ambiguities that underpin European foreign policy. At the same time they are drawing attention to Europe’s own democratic deficit.
As Egyptians were rising up against their government in early February, for instance, the European Union’s “Foreign Minister,” Baroness Catherine Ashton, penned an article in the London-based Guardian newspaper saying she wanted to see “deep democracy” take root in Egypt. Ashton warned that Egypt should not become a “surface democracy” with votes and elections, but that it should be a “deep democracy,” which involves “respect for the rule of law, freedom of speech, an independent judiciary and impartial administration.” Ashton also said the Egyptian government “must respond to the wishes of their people.”
The irony of Ashton’s cheek in lecturing other countries on democracy is that she was elevated to her current position neither through “surface democracy,” nor through “deep democracy,” but through backroom wheeling-and-dealing in the European Union’s unelected Narcissocracy, which is notorious for ignoring the wishes of European citizens.
Although Egyptian President’s Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year reign was propped up by phony elections that were rigged time and time again, arguably he had more democratic legitimacy than Ashton, who has never faced the scrutiny of a ballot box (okay, in 1982 she was elected to become the Treasurer of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament at a time when it was receiving financial support from the Soviet Union), but she and has never once campaigned to win over the hearts and minds of the European masses she claims to represent.
Moreover, Ashton’s current position, formally known as “The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,” was established by the European Union’s controversial Lisbon Treaty. Also known as the Reform Treaty, the Lisbon Treaty is nearly identical to the European Constitution, a document that was soundly rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005. Likened to a “slow-moving coup d’état,” the 250-plus page Lisbon Treaty is all about the centralization of political power by an unelected ruling clique in Brussels. The treaty not only establishes a permanent EU president, foreign minister and a European Union diplomatic service; it also obligates European nations to surrender, in many areas, their sovereignty to centralized decision-making.
Given the European Union’s own lack of democratic legitimacy, it is not surprising that Ashton’s calls for more democracy in the Arab world have come across as patronizing and hypocritical.. It also goes a long way in explaining why Europe’s “value-based” foreign policy has been unable to formulate a coherent response to the momentous changes taking place in the Middle East.
Consider the EU’s much-vaunted European Neighborhood Policy, a scheme that involves providing aid and trade to countries in North Africa and the Middle East in return for progress on democracy and human rights. Over the past decade, Arab autocrats have received billions of euros in financial handouts, even as Europeans have turned a blind eye to lack of democratic reforms in the region.
While Europeans talk a good game about democracy promotion, in practice they have been far more interested in pursing realpolitik, largely in order to protect their business interests in North Africa and the Middle East, and to ensure regional stability to keep a lid on illegal immigration.
One example involves Tunisia. The autocratic government of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali secured more than €3.6 billion ($ 4.9 billion) from European taxpayers since 1995, largely at the behest of France. In the midst of the Jasmine Revolution (as the political upheaval in Tunisia is being called), the European Union continued to insist that Ben Ali’s government was a success story.
During the early days of fighting in Tunisia, French Foreign Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie was vacationing in the seaside town of Tabarka using a jet owned by a Tunisian businessman linked to Ben Ali. She was accompanied on the December trip by her partner Patrick Ollier, also a minister within the French government.
According to the French newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné, Alliot-Marie’s parents bought shares in a property company owned by an associate of Ben Ali while protests were going on in Tunisia. Just three days before Ben Ali was removed from office, Alliot-Marie offered the “know how” of France’s security forces to help quell the fighting in Tunisia.
Alliot-Marie resigned from her post on February 27; French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that his ministers should stick to France for their holidays to avoid gaffes, after it emerged that Prime Minister François Fillon had accepted a free holiday from ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Another example involves Libya. The European Union, which receives over 85% of Libya’s crude oil exports, has been split over how to react to the violence engulfing the country. A few northern European countries have called for immediate sanctions on the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. But they have been opposed by southern European countries like Italy and Spain, which have significant oil and gas and interests in Libya, and which also fear a “biblical exodus” of refugees.
Libya exports natural gas to Italy by way of an underwater pipeline, and to Spain in the form of liquefied natural gas. Libya accounts for some 13% of Italy’s total gas imports, and just over 1.5% of total Spanish gas imports. But many more European countries receive crude oil from Libya. Austria receives 21.2% of its crude oil imports from Libya, France 15.7%, Germany 7.7%, Greece 14.6%, Ireland 23.3%, Italy 22.0%, the Netherlands 2.3%, Portugal 11.1%, Spain 12.1%, and the United Kingdom 8.5%, according to the International Energy Agency.
Britain has long been accused of pandering to Libyan autocrats. In August 2009, the Labour government was involved in releasing from prison the bomber of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, killing 270 people. British commentators have speculated that the release of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, who had served only eight years of a life sentence, was motivated by lucrative Libyan oil deals as well as anti-Americanism.
Germany, Switzerland and Austria, all of which have important business interests in Iran, have long resisted more vigorous sanctions to contain Tehran’s nuclear program.
In Spain, where the Socialist government never misses an opportunity to criticize Israel, the only real democracy in the Middle East, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has been pleading with the autocrats in Qatar to invest €3 billion in Spain’s ailing banking sector.
But European bureaucrats are skilful players of the double game, and will respond with more moral posturing. It’s all part of the act.
image via Crethi Plethi Flickr
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration are on an urgent rescue mission – for the United Nations Human Rights Council. Clinton is not in Geneva today to do something about human rights. She is in Geneva to protect the administration’s investment in the U.N. human rights organization’s top body, which only six months ago welcomed Libya as a full member and only three months ago passed it through its meaningless “universal periodic review” process, touted as its number one monitoring procedure.
On Friday, March 4, Iran – the country that buries women naked to their waist and then stones them to death for “adultery” – is going to take its seat as a full-fledged member of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.
If President Obama and his secretary of state really understood the error of using the United Nations to prop up human rights demons, then rather than attempting, even today, to help the Human Rights Council cover its tracks, it should be telling the world and the U.N. to remove Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women.
And it should resign from the Human Rights Council effective immediately now that its “reform” has proved to be impossible – as was obvious to human rights victims from the start.
But don’t hold your breath. The Obama administration would rather promote the institution of the United Nations than save real people from the U.N.’s grotesque neglect.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said that while he appreciated the EU’s efforts, the draft resolution must be strengthened by including a call to strip Libya of council membership and by condemning Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his government.
“First, the moral outrage of Libya’s membership on the world’s top human rights body must end immediately.
Even the Arab League ejected Libya. With bodies piling up on the streets of Libya, the EU and the must not stay silent on this pernicious moral hypocrisy,” Neuer said.
“Second, the EU must explain why its draft – breaking with council practice on condemnatory resolutions – studiously avoids naming the Libyan government or its leader as the perpetrators of the ongoing atrocities,” he said.
Diplomats are expected to hold a number of meetings to work on the draft’s language before Friday’s session.
There is some fear in Geneva that there might not be enough support within the council to pass a strong resolution against Libya, despite the many international voices, including that of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who have condemned the country’s government.
It remains a possibility that the measure might not pass at all. African and Asian members of the Human Rights Council have in the past blocked criticism of abusive governments except when it has been directed at Israel, which has been the subject of six emergency meetings in five years.
The signature of several Muslim governments in support of the special session – including Jordan, Qatar and the Palestinian Authority – does indicate a crumbling of traditional bloc-support for the Gaddafi regime.
Independent of diplomatic efforts at the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva, there is a simultaneous push to sway the UN General Assembly to call for a vote to strip Libya of its council membership. Human Rights Watch, which has been advocating for such a measure, said that it was complicated because no member had ever been kicked off the council.