Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Israel and the UN's Human Rights Council

UN's Dream Became a Nightmare

Israel and the joke that called UN’s human rights body (UNHRC), composed of world’s worst human right violators.

The reports against Israel by the UN Human Rights Council should be framed and posted in every political science class in the world: It would be an advanced lesson on diplomatic cynicism and the broken UN dream.

Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s worst human rights violators. It is not an electoral democracy and political opposition is forbidden. Freedom of speech is heavily restricted. The government maintains control of the media and responds harshly to criticism or deviation from its strict Islamic dogma.

Moreover, freedom of religion is nonexistent: All Saudis are required by law to be Muslim, while public practice of other religions is prohibited. Religious practices of Shiite and Sufi Muslims are also restricted. Arbitrary arrests and torture are not uncommon.

Discrimination against women is appalling: They may not drive cars, travel within or outside of the country without a male relative, or use public facilities freely in the presence of men. Employment rates of women are extremely low and their ability to take part in political life is minimal. The testimony of one man is equal to that of two women at the country's Sharia courts.

One might expect a body that calls itself "Human Rights Council" to devote a significant portion of its activity to criticism and condemnation of Saudi Arabia. But this is not the case. Not only has Saudi Arabia never been condemned by the UN Human Rights Council - it is a dignified member of this very body.

How can a country with virtually not connection to human rights be a member of a formal body dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights around the world?

Is that not similar to putting a wife-beater in charge of a women's shelter?

The UNHRC is dominated by third world countries, in most of which democracy and human rights are nothing more than theoretical concepts. More than half of the Council's members are not free democracies; on top of Saudi Arabia and Iran, it includes some of the world’s most oppressive dictatorships, such as Libya, Qatar and China.

Incredibly, about 80%, 34 out of 40 of the Council's censures were devoted to Israel. This is an unbelievable figure: Meanwhile, tyrannies such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Libya, China and others were never condemned by the UNHRC.

Israel, a democracy that grants freedom, civil rights and human rights to all of its citizens, including minorities that belong to a people with whom Israel is involved in bitter conflict – is supposedly the worst human rights violator on earth, and in fact one of the only human rights violators altogether.

The Sri Lanka case
During the first half of 2009, two countries, Israel and Sri Lanka, fought terrorist groups that target civilians and use them as human shields – Israel faced Hamas in Operation Cast Lead while Sri Lanka struggled with the Tamil Tigers. There were several differences between these similar cases: While Israel undertook extensive measures to prevent the harming of civilians, described by British Colonel Richard Kemp as unique in military history, Sri Lanka did no such thing. While Israel made humanitarian pauses every day, Sri Lanka failed to do so.

The civilian death toll in Gaza was approximately 1,000 according to Palestinian sources (and much lower according to Israeli sources), while the number of civilian casualties in Sri Lanka was no less than 6,500, and as high as 20,000 according to some estimates.

We all know what became of Israel in the UN Human Rights Council. A fact-finding mission, quickly established with the stated goal of investigating Israel's "war crimes" and "violations," confirmed all predetermined conclusions depicting Israel as the devil. Israel was severely condemned, as always.

But what of Sri Lanka? Did the UNHRC completely ignore the killing of thousands of civilians? Not at all. It shamelessly adopted a resolution written by Sri Lanka itself, praising Sri Lanka for promoting and protecting human rights. True story.

Paradox and parody
There are millions of people worldwide who need someone to speak out on their behalf and an organization that will guarantee their rights. However, when it comes to the UN, even if we ignore the fact that some of its committees grant Israel exclusive treatment, paradox (and parody) is the face of everything.

As we know, these states show genuine concern for human rights in their own countries on a daily basis, so it's hard not to be impressed by their concern for a single flotilla headed to the tranquil shores of Gaza.

Here is a partial list of the dignified members of the UN Human Rights Council:

Burkina Faso
Saudi Arabia

By the way, a partial list of members in the UN committee on the status of women or have NO human rights in their own states:

Saudi Arabia

and the crown jewel –

Where sinning women are stoned to death by law.

And these are the critics who issue verdicts against the democratic Israel, while the rest quietly ignore the distortions by the joke which they subsidize, in the process ignoring the poor souls of this world as well.

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