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Friday, March 30, 2007

UN Refuses to hear honest criticism of Human Rights Council Bias

UN Refused to allow a speech criticizing the operations of its Human Rights Council, where China and Cuba routinely condemn "Human Rights violations" of Israel.

If you haven't seen it yet, please watch the video below. It's a glimpse into UN Watch's daily work—in public statements and private diplomacy -- to hold the United Nations accountable to the principles of its charter, and to promote human rights for all. Thank you for supporting our ability to fight for what is right -- and to speak truth to power. Rest assured: we won't give up.

Yours truly,

Hillel Neuer
Executive Director

Movie at You TUBE

Click for original UN video in RealPlayer format

"Wow. This is a must see clip." -- popular blog Little Green Footballs

"This is the first speech ever to be rejected by the Council. Proof, one might
argue, of the speech's truth and value." -- Commentary Magazine blog

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The following quotes are a sample of the truly offensive statements and daily invective that are welcome and admissible at the newly created U.N. Human Rights Council:

Insulting Council Members

  • "The distinguished delegate is ignorant..." -- Zimbabwe delegate, speaking of his counterpart from Finland, and accusing him of "astonishing and astounding hypocrisy," Sept. 20, 2006.

Insulting UN Experts

  • "This libelous report does not deserve any respect or credibility. We will send it to the same place that we have sent all previous reports: the paper-recycling bin... There is, however, Madame, a significant contribution that you might make—and that would be by quitting..." — Cuban Ambassador Juan Antonio Fernández Palacios, Sept. 26, 2006, insulting UN expert Christine Chanet after she documented abuses by Cuba. The chair's defense of the expert was limited to noting "the importance of not personifying or personalizing comments that will only exacerbate difficulties before us," and followed his "Thank you to the delegate of Cuba for his statement."

Mocking High UN Officials

  • "The one who has monopoly on the violation of human rights is Israel... the darling of the High Commissioner." -- Palestinian Ambassador Mohammad Abu-Koash, Dec. 1, 2006, mocking Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, for daring to cite Palestinian obligations to stop terrorism in addition to her regular criticisms of Israel.

Violence Against Women

  • "Incidents of violence against women have been exaggerated..." -- Sudan's Farah Mustafa, Deputy Governor of the state of South Darfur, Dec. 12, 2006, after the Council heard reports of mass rape of Darfur women by the Sudanese-sponsored Janjaweed militia.

Attacking Gays

  • "Death penalty by stoning under Sharia law for unnatural sexual acts... should not be equated with extrajudicial killings and indeed should not have been featured in the report..." -- Nigeria Ambassador Joseph Ayalogu, Sept. 19, 2006, challenging criticism by UN expert Philip Alston of Nigeria's use of stoning to death as punishment for homosexuality.

Glorifying Terrorism

  • "Hezbollah is everyday simple people resisting, resisting an occupation..." -- Cuban Ambassador Juan Antonio Fernández Palacios, Oct. 4, 2006.

Holocaust Denial

  • "The Tehran Conference is not about denial of the Holocaust, it is rather an academic one that examines all aspects of the issue." — Iranian delegate Forouza Ndeh Vadiati, Dec. 12, 2006.
  • The Holocaust is a "historical claim", "the number of perished" is a particularly "legitimate question," and there are "serious opposing ideas over the issue." -- Iranian Ambassador Alireza Moayeri, in letter circulated Jan. 11, 2007 by Secretariat of the Human Rights Council (under standard UN practice) "at the request of the President of the Human Rights Council," which "has the honour to forward attached herewith a letter addressed to him by the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran." The President expressed no objections in carrying out this routine duty.
  • Iran's Holocaust denial conference of December 2006, "Review of the Holocaust: Global Vision," was "an academic event," and Zionism is an ideology "charged with hegemonic racial desires." — Moayeri letter, ibid.

Demonizing Israel

  • "Israel has not quenched its thirst for the blood of the Lebanese and has now directed it against unarmed civilians in Beit Hanoun." -- Lebanese representative, Nov. 15, 2006, referring to Israel's response to the Palestinian firing of Kassam rockets at the city of Sderot.
  • "The Holocaust is going on, and it is an Israeli holocaust against the Palestinian people." -- Palestinian ambassador Mohammad Abu-Koash, Dec. 12, 2006.
  • "Furthermore, as the distinguished Ambassador of Palestine reminds us, there is an Israeli holocaust against Palestinian people on a daily basis for more than sixty years, which was already noted by three special sessions." — Iranian delegate Forouza Ndeh Vadiati, Dec. 12, 2006.
  • "[Israeli] massacres against the displaced people, women and children, those were deliberate acts..."-- Nord-Sud XXI, Libyan-funded organization that manages the "Moammar Khaddafi Human Rights Prize," Sept. 29, 2006.
  • "A certain number of deliberate massacres of civilian populations" were committed by Israel." -- Jean Ziegler, UN special rapporteur on the right to food and 1989 co-founder of the Moammar Khaddafi Human Rights Prize, Oct. 4, 2006.

Dehumanizing Israelis

  • " . . . civilian people were killed, massacred, by the invading forces who have come from the Planet Mars which they now call the Israeli occupier." — Syrian delegate, June 23, 2006.


The following UN Watch speech, lifting a mirror to the shortcomings of the UN Human Rights Council, was rejected by council president Luis Alfonso de Alba as "inadmissible." (See response at bottom.) He banned the statement from being delivered again, and the speech was stricken without notice from the official extranet record of the Human Rights Council Secretariat (

"The Dream of Human Rights"

Testimony before
UN Human Rights Council
4th Session

March 23, 2007

Delivered by Hillel Neuer
Executive Director of UN Watch

Mr. President,

Six decades ago, in the aftermath of the Nazi horrors, Eleanor Roosevelt, Réné Cassin and other eminent figures gathered here, on the banks of Lake Geneva, to reaffirm the principle of human dignity. They created the Commission on Human Rights. Today, we ask: What has become of their noble dream?

In this session we see the answer. Faced with compelling reports from around the world of torture, persecution, and violence against women, what has the Council pronounced, and what has it decided?

Nothing. Its response has been silence. Its response has been indifference. Its response has been criminal.

One might say, in Harry Truman's words, that this has become a Do-Nothing, Good-for-Nothing Council.

But that would be inaccurate. This Council has, after all, done something.

It 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.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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.

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