U.N. Chief Rebuked in Human Rights Council

Islamic states call for “streamlining relationship” with Ban Ki-moon, accuse him of “singling out” council measures that single out Israel

UN Watch

Geneva, July 25, 2007 — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was rebuked by Islamic states in the Human Rights Council today for having criticized its decision to institutionalize the censure of Israel, singled out under the council’s new procedures as the only country permanently indicted by a standing agenda item.

“We’re witnessing a dangerous attempt to censor the highest official of the United Nations, an effort to silence anyone who exposes the council’s repeated breaches of its own principles of equality, universality, and non-selectivity,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, a human rights monitoring group based in Geneva.

In the council’s first meeting since Ban Ki-moon issued his June 20th appeal for equal treatment of all situations, Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the U.N.’s 57-strong Organization of the Islamic Conference, told the council it would have to “streamline its relationship” with the Secretary-General. The representative of the Musharraf government reproached Mr. Ban for his statement that, according to Pakistan, criticized the “consensual adoption of our agenda” and was guilty of “singling out the issue of Palestine.” He said “we should remove this anomaly through dialogue.”

Egypt, whose recent election to the council drew sharp criticism from activists at home and abroad, said that Mr. Ban’s statement “is a very unfortunate development and we would seek further clarification on that statement and the appropriate means of the Council to verify the authenticity of that statement and its context.”

In addition to its recent adoption of an Islamic-sponsored agenda item that singles out Israel for permanent scrutiny, the council, since being established in June 2006, has directed all of its country censures, now numbering eleven, against the Jewish state. The only other country addressed has been Sudan, though instead of issuing condemnations, the council has praised Khartoum’s “cooperation” and repeatedly called for further reports.

“It is somewhat ironic,” said Neuer, “for the Arab and Islamic states to object that their measures singling out Israel are themselves being ‘singled out’ for unfair treatment by the Secretary-General.”

Canada’s representative defended Mr. Ban. “I’m concerned that colleagues raised objections to the Secretary-General’s remarks on the outcome of the Council’s fifth session,” he said in a speech to the council. “We have to acknowledge that the Secretary-General is entitled to his views, and it would ill behoove this council to appear to be constraining or discouraging the exercise of freedom of opinion and expression, a fundamental freedom we are committed to uphold.”

Canada vociferously objected in June when the “consensus” adoption of the new reforms was achieved over Canada’s clear opposition, and by means of procedural irregularities that included the non-submission of the package to a promised up-and-down vote.

When the General Assembly voted on the March 2006 reform of the council, U.N. officials promised that the agenda item “targeting Israel” — a notorious feature of the defunct Commission on Human Rights — would be replaced by a “clean slate.”

When that promise was broken, Mr. Ban issued his statement. In Geneva, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has yet to issue any similar public declaration, though in recent letters to activist groups she acknowledged that “the specific, explicit itemization of one situation is selective.”

“The U.N., and Geneva in particular, would do well to hear more, not less, independent voices of principle,” said Neuer. “We trust that High Commissioner Arbour will follow Mr. Ban’s example to speak truth to power, and begin to vigorously oppose measures that trample the credibility of the council.”

July 25, 2007 | 3 Comments »

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3 Comments / 3 Comments

  1. Bill: Yes, I agree, Louise Arbour is a pro-Islamist still remaining in the Canadian contingent; a relic and hold out of the Liberal era who has managed to keep her place in an organization that loves Western self-haters and those whose ideology is very biased and skewed in favor of the Islamists.

    They are educated people of privilege and position without brains and I hope that she will soon be removed from this office because she has transformed her position into a personal political diatribe that is counter to the views and direction of our government.

  2. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon breathes some fresh air into the U.N. with his having rightly criticized the Human Right’s Council decision to institutionalize the censure of Israel.

    That Canada stood firmly against this move by the O.I.C. last June, 2007 speaks well of Canada.

    U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour is Canadian. She however has not done Canada proud in the least playing the role as she usually has of being the O.I.C.’s useful idiot when it comes to Israel.

    Meanwhile, Louise Arbour sits on the fence, issuing a sterile meaningless phrase

    “the specific, explicit itemization of one situation is selective.”

    Does she mean selective right, selective wrong, or is it just her observation that the O.I.C.’s anti-Israel campaign is selective without attributing any moral quality to that observation?

    Given her track record at the Human rights Commission, unless you happen to be one of the 57 Muslim states represented by the O.I.C., there is little reason to believe she will say anything salient and every reason to believe she will not be saying anything that gladdens Israeli hearts.

  3. Mr. Ban strikes me as a reasonable person negotiating his way around the ubiquitous and evil Islamist lobby at the UN. I hope that he succeeds in putting them in their rightful place – in the scrap heap of history – rather than having them win the day with more of the same crap that has taken all responsibility for Islamic terrorism (and change) off the shoulders of Muslim countries and places the hate-filled, sardonic blame on Israel…these Islamic UN members and others who side with them are the Great Satans and the Lesser Satans of the world today. Go Ban go…don’t take anymore shit from those propagandists in your organization.

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