Thursday, July 06, 2006

UN Human Rights Council votes to condemn Israel in emergency session

In its first major vote since its formation earlier this year, the UN Human Rights Council in an emergency session voted to deplore Israel's recent incursion into the northern tip of the Gaza Strip. The resolution condemning Israel contained an amendment proposed by Switzerland saying that armed Palestinian groups should be called to account as well. The resolution was proposed by the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Itzhak Levinon, Israel's UN ambassador in Geneva, likened the action to a diplomatic ambush:

Israel's ambassador to the UN's European headquarters in Geneva called the session "a planned and premeditated" attack on his country, and said it continued the anti-Israel bias set by the discredited U.N. Human Rights Commission, which was phased out this year.

Anne Bayefsky sees the new HR Council as a repackaged HR Commission:

The credibility of the flagship of UN "reform," the newly-created Human Rights Council, sunk during its very first session, which ended on Friday, June 30th. The deck chairs on the Titanic had been rearranged when the Council replaced the discredited Human Rights Commission.

Bayefsky points out that as a myriad of human rights abuses take place around the globe, the Human Rights Council chose to single out one nation:

NO, THERE was only one country singled out by the UN Human Rights Council, and that was Israel.The Council decided that the program for the first session should focus discussion on five issues; the first one being the "human rights situation in the occupied Arab Territories, including Palestine." (The rest were "support for the Abuja Peace Agreement," and three thematic subjects.) The Council placed criticism of Israel permanently on the agenda of all future sessions. It gave only the special investigator on Israel what amounted to a permanent mandate. On its final day, the Council passed just one resolution condemning human rights violations by any of the 192 UN members, and directed it at Israel. When it was all over, the Council decided to hold its first special (emergency) session within the next few days - on Israel.

The United States and Israel were two of only four UN members who voted against the council. Neither holds a seat on the body at this time. It's ironic that a body created to prevent the ascesion of evil regimes such as Nazi Germany focuses all its outrage on a democratic nation born despite the devastation wrought during the aforementioned nightmare.


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