Tag Archive: United Nations Human Rights Council


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Published on Oct 3, 2015

Meet the new head of the United Nations panel on Human Rights: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Abby Martin takes us inside the brutal reality of this police-state monarchy, and tells the untold people’s history of resistance to it. With a major, catastrophic war in Yemen and looming high-profile executions of activists, The Empire Files exposes true nature of the U.S.-Saudi love affair.

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United Nations Farce: Saudi Arabia to Head UN Human Rights Council

The United Nations Security Council: An Organization for Injustice

All victims of human rights abuses should be able to look to the Human Rights Council as a forum and a springboard for action. (Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, 12 March 2007, Opening of the 4th Human Rights Council Session.)

Article 55 of United Nations Charter includes: “Universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”

In diametrical opposition to these fine founding aspirations, the UN has appointed Saudi Arabia’s envoy to the United Nations Human Rights Council to head (or should that be “behead”) an influential human rights panel. The appointment was seemingly made in June, but only came to light on 17th September, due to documents obtained by UN Watch (1.)

… Mr Faisal Bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador at the UN in Geneva, was elected as Chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council.

As head of a five-strong group of diplomats, the influential role would give Mr Trad the power to select applicants from around the world for scores of expert roles in countries where the UN has a mandate on human rights.

Such experts are often described as the “crown jewels” of the HRC, according to UN Watch.

The “crown jewels” have been handed to a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world. Saudi Arabia will head a Consultative Group of five Ambassadors empowered to select applicants globally for more than seventy seven positions to deal with human rights violations and mandates.

In a spectacular new low for even a UN whose former Secretary General, Kofi Annan, took eighteen months to admit publicly that the 2003 invasion of, bombardment and near destruction of Iraq was illegal, UN Watch points out that the UN has chosen: “a country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS to be head of a key Human Rights panel …” (2)

In May, just prior to the appointment, the Saudi government advertised for eight extra executioners to: “ … carry out an increasing number of death sentences, which are usually beheadings, carried out in public” (3.)

Seemingly: “no special qualifications are needed.” The main function would be executing, but job description: “also involves performing amputations …”

The advert was posted on the website of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of the Civil Service.

Read More Here

 

UN calls for end to use of drones

Press TV

A US killer drone

A US killer drone Christof Heyns is a South African professor of human rights law and the author of the UN report on the use of fully or semi-autonomous weapons including drones and robots.
A US killer drone
Fri May 3, 2013 7:9AM GMT
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The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism said in a report in February that the United States has carried out more than 360 assassination drone attacks in Pakistan since 2004, killing nearly 3,500 people.

The UNHRC report published on May 2 seeks a moratorium on the “testing, production, assembly, transfer, acquisition, deployment and use” of fully or semi-autonomous weapons including drones and robots until an international forum can establish rules for their use. The use of drones violates international law, the report stated.

Christof Heyns, a South African professor of human rights law and author of the report, said the United States, the UK and the Israeli regime in particular have developed killer robots dubbed Lethal Autonomous Robotics (LAR) that can attack targets without any human input.

“Decisions over life and death in armed conflict may require compassion and intuition. Humans – while they are fallible – at least might possess these qualities, whereas robots definitely do not. [Robots] should not have the power of life and death over human beings,” Heyns stated.

The UNHRC report was drafted after strong protests by several countries including Russia, China and Pakistan.

The United States carries out drone strikes on Pakistan’s tribal regions almost regularly with Washington claiming that militants are the targets. However, casualty figures clearly indicate that civilians are the main victims.

The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism said in a report in February that the United States has carried out more than 360 assassination drone attacks in Pakistan since 2004, killing nearly 3,500 people.

Washington has also been criticized for its drone strikes in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen.

The Israeli regime also violates the airspace of Lebanon on an almost daily basis using its aircraft including spy drones.

The findings of the UNHRC report have been scheduled for debate at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on May 29.

GMA/HSN

 

Published on Jan 31, 2013

Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank violate international law, and the country must “immediately” withdraw all settlers from such areas, UN human rights investigators have said.

Israel has not co-operated with the inquiry, set up by the Human Rights Council (HRC) last March to examine the impact of settlements in the territory, including East Jerusalem.

“Israel must … cease all settlement activities without preconditions [and] must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers” from the occupied territories, the fact-finding mission concluded in a report released on Thursday.

Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston reports from Jerusalem.

Politics, Legislation and Economy News – Blow back

U.N. Human Rights Council Calls for Boycott of U.S. Companies

U.N.’s war on Israel puts American economy in crosshairs

HRC

HRC

BY:
October 25, 2012 12:56 pm

The Washington Free Beacon has obtained a report soon to be released by the United Nations that calls for an international campaign of legal attacks and economic warfare on a group of American companies that do business in Israel, including Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar Inc., and Motorola Solutions Inc.

The Human Rights Council (HRC), a body dominated by Islamic countries and known for its hostility to, and heavy focus on, the Jewish State, issued the report. The George W. Bush administration refused to participate in the HRC, but President Barack Obama joined it soon after taking office. Members of the HRC include infamous human rights abusers such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Libya, China, and Cuba.

The Obama-approved body maintains a “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories [sic].” The current rapporteur is American college professor Richard Falk, a 9/11 “truther” who once posted an anti-Semitic cartoon on his personal blog.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman blasted the report and the HRC’s special rapporteur: “We believe you should have prevented the Secretariat from being a party to Mr. Falk’s anti-Israel agenda. Mr. Falk’s entire tenure as Special Rapporteur has served to undermine the credibility of the institution of the United Nations.”

The report attempts to instigate a campaign of boycott, divestment, sanctions, and legal action against a litany of international companies doing business in Israel. In addition to American companies, the U.N. targets include major European firms such as Veolia Environment, Group 4 Security, the Dexia Group, the Volvo Group.

“The costs to companies and businesses of failing to respect international humanitarian law are considerable,” the report warns, “including damage to a company’s public image, impact on shareholder decisions and share price and could result in employees being criminally responsible for rights abuses.”

The report warns American employees of targeted companies that they face legal risks.

“Employees of companies can face investigation and prosecution for human rights violations committed irrespective of where the violation was committed.”

In addition to legal action against American employees of targeted companies, the Special Rapporteur “concludes that all companies that operate in or otherwise have dealings with Israeli settlements should be boycotted.” The companies should ”be prepared to accept any consequences—reputation, financial, or legal—of continuing operations.”

Should the companies continue doing business in Israel, the Human Rights Council “calls on civil society to actively pursue legal and political redress against non-complying business” and “to vigorously pursue initiatives to boycott, divest and sanction the businesses highlighted in this report” and “calls on the international community to consider requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice” to punish the businesses.

When the Obama administration joined the Human Rights Council in 2009, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice pledged, “Working from within, we can make the council a more effective forum to promote and protect human rights.”

 

Politics, Legislation and Economy News

 

 

Syrian diplomat in Geneva defects, Swiss media say

“I announced my resignation on Friday on a Syrian web site and informed the Syrian charge d’affaires in Geneva,” the Swiss news agency ATS quoted him as saying.

A junior Syrian diplomat accredited to the United Nations in Geneva has defected, Swiss media said on Monday, the latest member of Syria’s establishment known to have turned against President Bashar al-Assad during an uprising against his rule.

Dany Al Ba’aj is listed as third secretary at the Syrian mission to the U.N. in Geneva, where he was part of its delegation to the Human Rights Council. He is not known to have addressed the 47-member forum, which has condemned Assad’s government four times during the conflict.

“I announced my resignation on Friday on a Syrian web site and informed the Syrian charge d’affaires in Geneva,” the Swiss news agency ATS quoted him as saying.

“I was in contact with an opposition group for some time. The situation continues to worsen. I felt that I could no longer serve my country in the government camp,” he said, adding that he was not seeking asylum in Switzerland but his parents were with him in Geneva.

The highest-level civilian defection from the Assad administration to date has been Prime Minister Riyad Hijab, who fled Syria with his family on Aug. 6.

But the rate of public defections has been much slower than the speed at which officials turned their backs on Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan government last year, something that those who have defected attribute to fear.

 

 

 

Syria’s U.N. human rights envoy defects in Geneva

GENEVA: Syria’s top representative at the UN Human Rights Council said Monday he had defected because he no longer felt able in that position to do anything for the Syrian people.

“Basically, when I felt I could not help my people any more I had to move on,” Danny al-Baaj, the first Syrian diplomat in Switzerland to abandon Bashar al-Assad’s regime, told AFP.

“When I was involved in any negotiations (on Syria) my concern was to protect the country not the government,” he added.

Baaj said he took his decision a long time ago and had been in contact with Syrian opposition group the Democratic Forum based in Paris.

He had been in Geneva for two years and met the opposition group “some time ago”, before announcing his resignation last Friday, he said.

“I met the charge d’affaires (of Syria in Geneva) and I told him I had made my decision that I was going to the opposition… He said it was my choice and he wished me luck.”

Speaking from Geneva where he is considering his next move, Baaj described the Democratic Forum as one of the main opposition groups. It is headed by Michel Kilo, a long-time opponent of the regime.

The development comes ahead of the release on Wednesday of an official UNHRC independent commission of inquiry report into Syria.

Baaj said he “hoped” the Geneva-based body would make progress towards consensus on the situation in Syria despite many countries letting their own agendas interfere with finding a solution.

“At the last session the HRC was very close to reaching consensus … I hope different countries put aside their agendas to help the Syrian people,” he said.

Baaj also stressed his opposition to outside military intervention in the conflict but supported the role of the UN’s Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), calling it “a good thing”.

“I hope it stays there. It’s very important to document abuses by both sides,” he said.