“We will hold sacred the beliefs held sacred by others.” – Obama’s State Department Purges Section on Religious Freedom from Its Human Rights Reports.

June 8, 2012

(other) “We will hold sacred the beliefs held sacred by others.” – Obama’s State Department Purges Section on Religious Freedom from Its Human Rights Reports.(CNS).HT: AlwaysOnWatch.The U.S. State Department removed the sections covering religious freedom from the Country Reports on Human Rights that it released on May 24, three months past the statutory deadline Congress set for the release of these reports. The new human rights reports–purged of the sections that discuss the status of religious freedom in each of the countries covered–are also the human rights reports that cover the period that covered the Arab Spring and its aftermath. Thus, the reports do not provide in-depth coverage of what has happened to Christians and other religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East that saw the rise of revolutionary movements in 2011 in which Islamist forces played an instrumental role.
For the first time ever, the State Department simply eliminated the section of religious freedom in its reports covering 2011 and instead referred the public to the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report – a full two years behind the times – or to the annual report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which was released last September and covers events in 2010 but not 2011. Leonard Leo, who recently completed a term as chairman of the USCIRF, says that removing the sections on religious freedom from the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Roghts is a bad idea. Since 1998, when Congress created USCIRF, the State Department has been required to issue a separate yearly report specifically on International Religious Freedom. But a section reporting on religious freedom has also always been included in the State Department’s legally required annual country-by-country reports on human rights–that is, until now.
And this is the first year the State Department would have needed to report on the effect the Arab Spring has had on religious freedom in the Middle East–had its reports, as always before, included a section on religious freedom. “The commission that I served on has some real concerns about that bifurcation, because the human rights reports receive a lot of attention, and to have pulled religious freedom out of it means that fewer people will obtain information about what’s going on with that particular freedom or right. So you don’t have the whole picture because they split it up now,” Leo told CNSNews.com. Former U.S. diplomat Thomas Farr says it’s possible that the move to totally separate religious freedom from the human rights reports could simply be a bureaucratic maneuver. But another possibility is much more likely. “The other possibility is the Obama administration is downplaying international religious freedom,” Farr said. Far more resources have been allocated by the Obama administration to other human rights issues than have been directed toward religious freedom. “(T)he ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, for example, who is the official charged by the law to lead U.S. religious freedom policy, did not even step foot into her office until two-and-a-half years were gone of a four-year administration,” he said. “Whereas other human rights priorities of the administration, such as the ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, were in place within months. So that tells you something.“It tells me that this has never been a priority for the Obama administration, and it’s not now,” he said. “So it seems to me plausible to at least question the removal of religious freedom from the human rights report, although, as I say, there could be other explanations, less insidious, if you will.”The State Department, meanwhile, has given no indication of when — or if — the next International Religious Freedom Report will be released. Hmmmmm……..Try Never…Obama “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”Read the full story here.

Three Card Monty


#GoldStoneReport flashback! Bayefsky – Meet the UN’s anti-Israel ‘anti-discrimination’ czar, Navi Pillay

August 11, 2011
The UN’s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, attempted on Monday to block further defections from the UN’s racist “anti-racism” bash scheduled for New York City on Sept. 22. The United States, Canada, Israel, the Czech Republic, Italy and the Netherlands have already announced a boycott of “Durban III,” a UN event designed to “commemorate” the 10th anniversary of the UN anti-Semitic hatefest held in Durban, South Africa, in September 2001. Pillay said she was “disappointed” with these pullouts, labeling them a “political distraction.”
The barb was no accident for a UN high commissioner for human rights who has been distracted by her anti-Israel and anti-American agenda since taking office in 2008. Pillay is perhaps best known for her unremitting defense of the notorious Goldstone report and for having questioned the legality of the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
For Pillay, championing the Durban conference and its manifesto, the Durban Declaration, is a personal crusade. A native of Durban herself, shortly after her appointment she explained to a Geneva audience that the city’s mayor asked her to “rescue the name of Durban,” given its unflattering association with anti-Semitism. In response, she helped launch both Durban II in Geneva in 2009 and Durban III.
Unfortunately, her efforts to legitimize the Durban Declaration have little to do with the most basic of human rights: equality. The Durban Declaration charges only one country with racism among all 192 UN states – Israel. It calls Palestinians “victims” of Israeli racism, a 21st century reincarnation of the Zionism-is-racism libel. When Durban II ended with an “outcome document” that reaffirmed the Durban Declaration, Pillay gloated in a news conference on April 24, 2009, that Palestine is indeed “mentioned in the Durban Declaration and the word ‘reaffirm’ carries those paragraphs into this document.”
While Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the “anti-racism” crowd at Durban II, Pillay remained glued to her seat. UN videotape shows her simply watching democratic states walk out in disgust, although she and her secretariat colleagues had a copy of his Holocaust-denying speech in advance. Despite her later scramble, when under pressure, to distance herself from his comments, she issued a flowery thank-you to the Organization of the Islamic Conference for their role in Durban II – which included warm applause for Ahmadinejad.
Pillay’s enthusiasm for the Durban “anti-racism” agenda goes hand in hand with her single-minded pursuit of the demonization of Israel throughout her tenure. In January 2009, Pillay called for the creation of what became the Goldstone inquiry. In August 2009, she issued a report that lauded Hamas for having “made public statements that it is committed to respect international human rights and humanitarian law.” After Goldstone claimed that Israel had intentionally targeted civilians, Pillay said on Sept. 30, 2009, “I lend my full support to Justice Goldstone’s report and its recommendations.” Goldstone has since recanted the veracity of his slur; Pillay has not.
In July 2010, she made a rare appearance before the Security Council on “situations where the protection of civilians has been and remains of great concern” around the world – and made only two pleas to the council, both about Israel. Referring to Gaza, she said: “I urge the council . . . to ensure the lifting in full of the blockade” – which would stymie Israel’s ability to limit the flow of arms to Hamas. And she made this plea: “I urge the Security Council to support the recommendations of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict” – that is, the Goldstone report.
After a visit this past February to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, she said this at her final Jerusalem news conference: “The clearest manifestation of institutional discrimination is the fact that during all my meetings with government and state officials, I do not believe I met a single Palestinian citizen of Israel.” She could have easily determined that Israeli Arabs are members of Israel’s parliament, in the diplomatic corps and on the Supreme Court. The discrimination that was apparently unclear to Pillay was the institutional charter of the Hamas government in Gaza, which calls for the annihilation of the Jewish citizens of Israel, and the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to recognize the right of a Jewish state to exist at all.
The antagonism between Pillay’s political priorities and the interests of Americans was most evident in her reaction to the death of Bin Laden. On May 3, Pillay expressed concern about his treatment. She demanded to know “the precise facts surrounding his killing” for the purpose of determining its legality. According to Pillay, “counterterrorism activity . . . in compliance with international law” means “you’re not allowed . . . to commit extrajudicial killings.” And this requirement would be satisfied only if the Americans had stuck by what she claimed was their “stated . . . intention . . . to arrest Bin Laden if they could.”
Her concern for Bin Laden was remarkable both for its flagrant contradiction with the laws of war justifying lethal force in his case, and for being three times as fast as her expressions of concern in March about the victims of lethal terror in Syria.
It is little wonder, therefore, that Pillay should be a fan of Durban III. On Monday, she confirmed that she will be coming to New York to participate in Durban III, which she described as an “important event . . . to combat discrimination.” Discrimination defined by the sponsors of discrimination itself.
Anne Bayefsky
For more United Nations coverage see www.EYEontheUN.org.

info@eyeontheun.org
August 10, 2011 For Immediate Release:
This article by Anne Bayefsky appears on NY Daily News

via calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com


Syria protests: Syrian forces raid dorms; 3 students killed

June 23, 2011
Security forces launch the raid at Damascus University a day after President Bashar Assad made a speech there pledging reform. Draw Image: Twenty-one students are reported injured and 130 arrested. Violence continues in other parts of the nation. via latimes.com

EU imposes arms embargo on Syria

May 10, 2011

…Move comes as Assad continues violent crackdown against protesters; embargo goes into effect on Monday night.  The European Union has decided to impose an arms embargo on Syria, which went into effect on Monday night.  The move came as Syrian President Bashar Assad continued a violent crackdown on anti-regime protesters in which human rights groups claim more than 800 have died over the past seven weeks.  The EU arms embargo received a preliminary green light at the end of last month. via jpost.com

No reporter has seemed more in the pocket of Hizballah and the Syrians than the New York Times’ Anthony Shadid. His reporting on Lebanon often quotes mostly or exclusively their supporters, under a variety of labels, as if they are objective observers or represent a range of opinion.

While his latest article includes some material on how bad the situation is in Syria–350 people identified as killed so far by the regime–his latest article reads like a press release by the dictatorship.

 Not since the days of the Cold War–probably in the 1970s–has a U.S. government become such an apologist for a repressive dictatorship. What makes the situation truly amazing is that the Syrian government is no U.S. ally but an enemy repressive dictatorship.

Shadid quotes Bouthaina Shaaban, a notorious Assad regime crony as saying, “You can’t be very nice to people who are leading an armed rebellion….” Yet there is no evidence that the opposition has used weapons. Nevertheless, he reports without comment the regime’s claim that demonstrators have killed 100 soldiers and police even though not a single such case has been even minimally documented.

Shadid quotes U.S. officials as saying, essentially that Shaaban and Administration officials have said that Ms. Shaaban and Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa are the good guy reformers while President Bashar al-Assad’s brother, Maher, is the bad guy hardliner. Poor Bashar is supposedly caught in the middle. What’s a dictator to do?

Shabaan ridicules international “sanctions” against Syria and is right to do so. They amount to nothing, nothing except a license for the regime to murder its citizens without fear of repercussions.

Some day the Times coverage of Syria will be compared to its terrible reporting on the Stalinist Soviet Union and its largely ignoring the Holocaust.

Media_httpwwwjpostcom_fkqga

“In the European Union, there exists the will to adopt sanctions quite rapidly,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told reporters earlier this week, after a meeting of an international contact group ranged against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Earlier US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini also discussed sanctions against the Syrian leadership because of its violent suppression of unrest in the country.

“We are currently finalizing the list of persons whose assets will be sanctioned and France wants [Syrian President] Bashar Assad to be on it,” Juppe said. via jpost.com


Smart diplomacy: Syria gloating over US failure at UN

April 29, 2011
Here’s some more smart diplomacy from the Obama administration: Syria is gloating over the failure of the Obama administration to get sanctions enacted and a condemnation of Syria at the United Nations. What could go wrong? via israelmatzav.blogspot.com

I’d be doing more then gloating if I were Syria. If I were making human rights abuses like some eat popcorn and then was allowed on a oversight board for those abuses… I’d do a goalpost endzone dance at the United Nations in New York if I were Syria.

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.

Of course, it goes without saying this was ignored. “Maybe” it has something to do with Syria’s new found title. via conservative-jedi.blogspot.com

Hamas Targets Journalists: Media, Human Rights Groups Silent

March 19, 2011
Armed Hamas militants surround Hamas militants spokesman Abu Obaida (centre) during a news conference in Gaza CityIn the past few days, at least eight journalists were severly beaten with clubs or summoned for questioning while doing their job in the Hamas-cointrolled Gaza Strip when Hamas policemen in civilian clothes began attacking demonstrators.

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.

image via dailymail.co.uk

hey… but Libya is part of the Human Rights Council… I’m sure they will help… LOLZ


open question whether the UN Human Rights Council will boot Libya

March 1, 2011

In 2009, Libya’s major export customers were European: Italy received about 38 percent of its exports, Germany had 10%, and France and Spain had about 8% each, according to the CIA’s World Factbook.

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.

Hadar Sela, and published in The Propagandist h/t  cifwatch.com


The Human Rights Council is notorious for showing an anti-Israel bias and being slow to condemn blatant human rights abuses by countries aligned with certain members of the 47-member council.
As it happens, Libya earned a seat on the Human Rights Council in 2010 — a point that will likely come up for debate when the council meets for a special session Friday.  U.S. diplomats plan to back an effort to kick Libya off the council and name a special investigator to look into atrocities committed on protesters rebelling against Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi via foxnews.com
Posted via email from noahdavidsimon’s posterous

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 international community 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.

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