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Analyst Suggests US Can No Longer Use UNHRC to Justify Global Military Ops

Sputnik – 22.06.2018

The United States can no longer use the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to justify its military interventions around the globe, now that it has withdrawn from the world body, US Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Executive Director Daniel McAdams told Sputnik on Thursday.

“Human rights as an issue is often a cover for foreign interventionism. The US used ‘human rights’ as an excuse to destroy Libya and to launch a seven year proxy war in Syria,” McAdams said. “In fact, it was the UN Human Rights Council that first put the wheels of the US-led attack in Libya in motion.”

McAdams recounted how in the days leading up to NATO’s intervention in Libya, non-governmental organizations petitioned the UN Human Rights Council to demand action in response to alleged atrocities being committed by then-Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. As a result, the issue was then taken up by the Security Council, which adopted Resolution 1973, a measure that paved the way for NATO’s airstrikes in Libya. Several of the NGOs’ allegations — which formed the basis for NATO’s intervention — later turned out to be false.

“The human rights abuses that Libyans have suffered since their ‘liberation’ far outweigh any they suffered under the rule of Gaddafi,” McAdams said.

On Tuesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the United States decided to suspend its membership in the UNHRC. Haley denounced the organization as hypocritical, saying it was biased against Israel and protected countries that abused human rights, such as Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, China and Venezuela.

“The UN Human Rights Council, like most of the UN, has long ago strayed away from its original purpose,” McAdams said. “When you have notorious human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia — and the US among others — playing a prominent role in determining human rights abuses in other countries, the whole exercise becomes a farce.”

McAdams went on to say that the US withdrawal from the UNHRC would “hopefully reduce” its importance and restrain its ability to be used as a forum to promote conflict.

“The UN’s adopting the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) doctrine in 2006 has been an unmitigated disaster. The UN was founded as a body of sovereign states seeking to work together as such to eliminate war,” he said. “The destruction of national sovereignty caused by the R2P doctrine means that countries with aggressive foreign policies can use the UN as a fig leaf as a cover. The result is more war, not less. And that is what we are already seeing.”

The US decision to quit the council comes a month after the UNHRC decided to form an independent mechanism to investigate the Israeli Defense Forces’ killings of more than 100 Palestinian protesters along the border with the Gaza Strip since March. Palestinians in Gaza have been staging protests along the border to demand the right to return to their homes now inside Israel. The UNHRC has said that the killings could be considered war crimes and need to be investigated.

According to UNHRC President Vojislav Suc, the UN General Assembly will now decide on a candidate to replace the United States on the Council, which consists of 47 members elected directly by the General Assembly.

Prior to its withdrawal, the United States’ mandate in the UNHRC was expected to last till the end of 2019. It was the country’s second three-year term, after which the US did not have the right to be re-elected.

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , | 5 Comments

US to Leave ‘Foolish, Unworthy’ UN Human Rights Council Over Anti-Israel Bias

Sputnik – June 15, 2018

The United States’ demands regarding reforming the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) have failed to be met, and as such Washington is reportedly ready to pull out over what it calls anti-Israel bias and the inclusion of alleged rights abusers.

Diplomats told Reuters that it’s merely a matter of time before the US exits the council, which will convene Monday for a three week convention that will last until July 6. One US source who spoke anonymously said that an announcement looks “imminent.”

Another US official in Geneva, where the UNHRC will meet June 18, said, “we are still moving ahead with our engagement for the coming session.”

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has cast shade on the council since taking the job, while both the US State Department and US President Donald Trump himself found issue with it in 2017.

On June 6, 2017, Haley went to Geneva to give the council a series of ultimatums. At the meeting, she said, “It’s hard to accept that this council has never considered a resolution on Venezuela, and yet it adopted five biased resolutions in March against a single country: Israel. It is essential that this council address its chronic anti-Israel bias if it is to have any credibility.”

Later in the day, she expanded on her grievances against the council at a speech she gave to the Graduate Institute of Geneva, noting that the UNHRC had, by then, passed “more than 70 resolutions targeting Israel” since its inception in 2006, but “just seven on Iran.” The UNHRC has passed more resolutions against Israel than the rest of the world’s countries combined, according to the Geneva-based UN Watch.

“This relentless, pathological campaign against a country that actually has a strong human rights record makes a mockery not of Israel, but of the council itself.”

She also called on the body to do two things: “Act to keep the worst human rights abusers from obtaining seats on the council,” and remove permanent Agenda Item 7, which requires that the council address the “human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories,” regularly when it meets.

Trump later echoed those demands in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 19, 2017, calling the inclusion of governments with “egregious human rights records” in the UNHRC a “massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations.” He also singled out North Korea and Iran for their hostility to Israel.

After the UNHRC, a body of 47 nations, adopted five resolutions condemning Israel on March 23, 2018, Haley warned “our patience is not limited,” reminding the body that “The United States continues to evaluate our membership in the Human Rights Council.”

Those resolutions called on governments to stop selling weapons to Israel; for Palestinian self-rule according to Israel and the Palestinian territories’ pre-1967 borders; for Israel to remove itself from the Golan Heights, which it has illegally occupied since the 1967 Six Day War; and for an end to Israeli settlements and human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Haley called the council “foolish and unworthy of its name” for treating Israel “worse than North Korea, Iran and Syria.”

The US ambassador hasn’t only struggled with the Human Rights Council, but also with the UN General Assembly and Security Council. On Wednesday, she failed to prevent the assembly from condemning Israel’s use of deadly force against Palestinians demonstrating in the Great Return March after having vetoed a similar resolution in June. She fired back against the vote, saying that for some, “attacking Israel is their favorite political sport.”

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed and more than 13,000 injured, many by live ammunition, since the start of the protest on March 30, Sputnik News reported. Haley previously told the UN Security Council that Israel acted with “restraint” in the protests. One Israeli soldier was “slightly wounded” in the protests, according to an IDF spokesperson.

The US has boycotted the UNHRC before, as former President George W Bush and his Ambassador to the UN John Bolton — now Trump’s national security adviser — opposed it from its outset in 2006. The Bush administration refused to run in its first election and also declined to participate the following year.

The main points of opposition then were the “focus on Israeli human rights violations while failing to address human rights abuses in other parts of the world,” according to the US Congressional Research Service’s 2009 “Issues for Congress” report on the UNHRC.

However, former President Barack Obama began to work with the council after his election in 2008, believing it was better to work on human rights issues within the council than from the outside, according to a similar report from 2017.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 4 Comments

UN warns to blacklist firms working in lands occupied by Israel: Report

Press TV – September 28, 2017

The United Nations human rights office has reportedly threatened to blacklist nearly 150 Israeli and international companies for operating in the Israeli occupied territories, including the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and Golan Heights.

Israeli daily Haaretz cited anonymous Israeli officials as saying on Wednesday that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein notified the companies through letters two weeks ago.

In response, several of the companies assured Hussein that they do not plan to renew their current contracts or to enter into new ones.

The letter said that due to the companies’ activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, they may be added to the blacklist being compiled by the UN of companies “that operate in opposition to international law and in opposition of UN resolutions.”

According to an unnamed western diplomat, over half of the companies that received the letter were Israeli, nearly 30 were American and the rest were mainly from Germany, Norway and South Korea.

The copies of Hussein’s letter have reportedly been sent to the respective countries of the firms and seen by the Israeli cabinet.

The companies include giant international corporations such as Coca-Cola, TripAdvisor, Airbnb and Caterpillar as well as major Israeli firms, including pharmaceutical giant Teva, the national phone company Bezeq, bus company Egged, the national water company Mekorot and the regime’s two largest banks, Hapoalim and Leumi.

In 2016, the UN Human Rights Council voted, with 32 nations in favor and 15 abstentions, to a proposal by the Palestinian Authority and Arab states to compile a database of all businesses enabling or profiting from development of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The proposal also condemned Israeli settlement construction and urged companies not to do business with Israeli settlements.

In June, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley slammed the blacklist as “the latest in this long line of shameful actions” adopted by the UNHRC, warning that the US may withdraw from the 47-member UN body unless it is reformed, end condemnation of Israel and cancel the membership of what she called notorious human rights violators from the council.

Since 2007, Israel has been the only entity whose human rights violations have been regularly discussed in the framework of a single permanent item on the Human Rights Council’s agenda.

Since the inauguration of US President Donald Trump in January, the regime in Tel Aviv has stepped up its construction of settler units on occupied Palestinian land in a blatant violation of international law.

Less than a month before Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council had adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Israel also seized the Golan Heights from Syria after the 1967 Six-Day War and later occupied it in a move that has never been recognized by the international community. The regime has built dozens of settlements in the area ever since and has used the region to carry out a number of military operations against the Syrian government.

September 28, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UK supports Dubai police fair, despite UAE torture record

Reprieve | October 28, 2015

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is supporting a trade fair hosted by the Dubai police this week, despite widespread use of police torture in the UAE.

The event, the Emirates Security Exhibition and Conference (Emsec), is said by its organizers to be ‘designed to support and encourage UK exports’. It is officially hosted by the Dubai police, though UKTI has organized a reception at the British embassy in Dubai for UK companies taking part.

Human rights organization Reprieve – which assists British and other victims of police torture in the Emirates – has previously raised concerns with UKTI about its support for the event. Reprieve’s research has found that some 75 per cent of prisoners in Dubai Central Jail reported having been tortured into ‘confessing’. They include British citizens who say they were subjected to electric shocks. Despite this, a recommended ‘product requirement list’ given to UK companies ahead of this week’s event included the category ‘Public Order Equipment – Electronic’.

British student Ahmad Zeidan, from Reading, was arrested and tortured in December 2013, and was eventually convicted on the sole basis of a ‘confession’ he signed in Arabic – a language he neither reads nor writes. Ahmad, who initially faced a potential death sentence, recently learned that he was not included in a royal pardon that saw hundreds of other prisoners freed – despite his requests to the UK Foreign Office to support his case.

A 2013 UKTI strategy document unearthed by Reprieve lists security export events such as Emsec as a new priority for the Government, and a Reprieve Freedom of Information request has revealed that last year the government spent £12,000 on encouraging British companies to attend.

The event comes as the UAE was expected to secure re-relection to the United Nations Human Rights Council, in a vote today. In a submission to the body in support of their bid, Emirati representatives said: “Our wish to serve a second term on this esteemed body reflects our view that societies that uphold human rights are more resilient, more sustainable and more secure.”

Commenting, Maya Foa, head of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said: “The Emirati authorities have boasted to the UN about their human rights record, but the reality is dismal. The UAE systematically uses torture to secure convictions – and death sentences – based on bogus statements. British student Ahmad Zeidan is still languishing in prison after he was forced to sign one of these ‘confessions’. Instead of lending UK support to the Emirati police responsible for his torture, the British Government should make clear that we want no part in such abuses – and should demand the release of victims like Ahmad without delay.”

October 29, 2015 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Netanyahu: UN Gaza probe should be ‘shelved’

MEMO | February 3, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said that a probe by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) into last year’s Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip should be shelved in light of the recent resignation of inquiry commission head William Schabas.

“After the resignation of the committee chairman, who was biased against Israel, the report that was written at the behest of the UNHRC… needs to be shelved,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

The Israeli premier went so far as to slam the rights council as “an anti-Israel body, the decisions of which prove it has nothing to do with human rights.”

“This is the same council that in 2014 made more decisions against Israel than against Iran, Syria and North Korea combined,” Netanyahu asserted.

“It is Hamas, the other terrorist organizations and the terrorist regimes around us that need to be investigated, not Israel,” he added.

The Israeli government has already said it would not cooperate with the UNHRC committee formed to investigate violations committed during Israel’s onslaught on the Gaza Strip last July and August.

Israel had said that the UN council would not be objective.

The Israeli offensive left more than 2,160 Palestinians dead and some 11,000 injured – the vast majority of them civilians – while partially or completely destroying thousands of residential structures across the territory.

The onslaught, which was launched with the stated aim of ending rocket fire from the coastal enclave, finally ended with the announcement last August of an open-ended cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian resistance factions.

On Monday, Schabas, a Canadian professor of international law, reportedly resigned from his post as head of the investigation committee due to Israeli allegations of bias.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, for his part, hailed Schabas’ resignation, saying it was a “victory” for the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

“It is an Israeli diplomatic victory. However, it will not change the probe’s conclusions,” he said.

He added that the appointment of Schabas to investigate last year’s war against Gaza was like “appointing Cain to investigate who killed Abel.”

February 3, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel plans boycott of UN human rights review

Al-Akhbar | January 29, 2013

Israel planned on boycotting a routine review of its human rights situation by the United Nations Tuesday, despite threats of “unspecified action” by the UN Human Rights Council if it did not cooperate.

According to Israeli media, Israel would be the only UN member state to ever boycott the yearly UNHRC Universal Periodic Review since the process’ inception in 2006.

Israel unilaterally severed ties with UNHRC in March 2012 over a planned fact-finding mission over illegal West Bank settlements.

According to news website The Times of Israel, Israel has participated in the first round of reviews in October 2011, before asking the council to postpone Israel’s review with no justification.

Israel later accused the Human Rights Council of “anti-Israel moves.”

“We are under an ongoing policy of suspension of all our contacts with the Human Rights Council in Geneva and all its branches after their sequence of systematically anti-Israel moves, which have come to contradict the mission statement of the organizations and sheer common sense” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told The Times of Israel Sunday.

Israel’s review is still scheduled to take place Tuesday afternoon, and it remains unclear as to whether a representative of the Jewish state will actually attend the meeting.

If Israel follows through with its boycott, it could set a negative precedent for other countries unwilling to respond to accusations of human rights violations.

The website for the UPR specifies that in case of “persistent non-cooperation,” “the Human Rights Council will decide on the measures it would need to take” against the offending state.

UNHRC spokesman Rolando Gomez warned that “if a delegation from the country was not to attend then action, as yet unspecified, would be taken.”

The UNHRC review of Israel is overseen by the Maldives, Sierra Leone and Venezuela.

Israel has fought back and criticized many investigations into its treatment of Palestinians, including on illegal settlements and the use of drones.

Its relationship with the Human Rights Council has been tense for years, most notably since 2007, when the council made Israel’s actions in Occupied Palestine a permanent item on the agenda.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Comments Off on Israel plans boycott of UN human rights review