Category Archives: UN

Thousands of children murdered in Arab wars, #UN report on children in war focuses on… guess who

By Mark Langfan,

Israel’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, David Roet, lambasted a UN report on children in warfare Thursday, noting that in the context of numerous Islamic wars where thousands of children were murdered this year alone, “it is simply absurd that this report disproportionately focuses on Israel.”

The diplomat spoke at a UN Security Council open debate on a report titled “Children and Armed Conflict.”

Facing a typically hostile United Nations audience, Dep. Rep. Roet bravely spoke truth to power stating: “The reason for this skewed presentation is evident. Instead of being balanced, neutral, and focused on the facts, the report’s discussion of Israel is politicized, stained with interests, and distorts reality.”

Roet then went on to itemize the report’s distortion of reality, by quoting Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum who said, “our rockets are aimed at the Hebrews, the murderers, the Israelis, the criminals. . . our missiles accurately target the home of the Israelis and the Zionists.”

While Israel warns Palestinian civilians to leave affected areas, Roet argued, “Hamas voids international law by launching rockets from schools, hospitals, mosques, and other places children would usually feel safe.”

The diplomat also stated that while Israel “didn’t want” the war, Hamas had launched over 450 missiles against Israel before Israel responded – and that even this only happened after Hamas had fired 60 rockets in one day. Still, Israel did everything to de-escalate, and warned the populace in Gaza by dropping leaflets and sending texts, but again all this was ignored by the UN report.

He stated that these points were absent from the report, not because the UN “simply failed to notice” them. Rather, this was because, in Roet’s words, “The drafting of the report was marked at every level by widespread, systematic and institutionalized biased conduct against Israel.”

Roet gave numerous examples of how the working group, “conveniently forgot to inform Israel of the writing of the report,” and didn’t “seek input from Israeli authorities.”

But it didn’t stop there. The working group “flatly refused” to accept any Israeli evidence and facts. Instead, the working group “welcomed with open arms” information supplied by virulently anti-Israel NGOs.

But perhaps the must serious accusation Dep. Rep. Roet leveled against the UN’s report was its report statement that “the question of intent when determining responsibility will not be a crucial consideration.”

This means, he explained, that even if Israel’s intent is to avoid harming children, using every available method, and Hamas has the specific intent of harming Palestinian children by using them as human shields, the United Nations is redefining international law – for Israel only – in stating that the “intent” doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that Israel harmed a Palestinian child

Sinai: Islamic State Claim Rocket Attack on UN Airport

Al-Qaeda supporters in the Sinai

By Ben Ariel/Reuters

Sinai Province, Islamic State’s Egypt affiliate, fired rockets at the direction of an airport in Sinai used by UN peacekeeping forces on Tuesday night, Reuters reported.

Security sources told the news agency there were no casualties in the attack. Details of the attack were not immediately clear, with some sources saying the rockets fell inside the airport and others saying they fell outside.

Sinai Province claimed responsibility for the attack on several Twitter accounts linked to it, according to Reuters.

Sinai Province, formerly known as Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis, has claimed responsibility for most of the terrorist attacks in the restive Sinai Peninsula over the last few years.

Among the attacks claimed by the group since Morsi’s ouster was the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood, and a bus bombing on a tour bus filled with South Korean tourists in the Sinai.

Most recently, members of the group killed two Egyptian judges and a prosecutor in the Sinai, in an attack which came hours after a court in Cairo sentenced ousted president Mohammed Morsi to death for his role in a mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising.

The leader of Sinai Province later called on the group’s followers to continue to attack local judges.

Saudi Arabia Seeks Top Spot on UN Human Rights Council

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BY:
Saudi Arabia is making a bid to head the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (HRC) just days after it posted a slew of new job openings for executioners who would help carry out beheadings amid a massive uptick in state-sanctioned killings in the country.

Saudi Arabia, which has come under increasing criticism from human rights groups for an uptick in the number of executions in the country, has been a member of the U.N.’s top human rights body since 2014, along with Russia, China, and Cuba.

It is now making a bid to assume lead control over the HRC after 2016, when the presidency rotates to a new nation.

While the HRC has often been dismissed for hosting nations with some of the worst human rights records in the world, its importance in the coming year could be critical to how the international community deals with atrocities in Syria and other Middle Eastern nations.

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U.N. Watch, a nonprofit group that monitors the international body, disclosed Saudi Arabia’s intentions in a recent report and urged the United States to fight against it, describing the move as “the final nail in the coffin for the credibility” of the HRC.

“We urge U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and EU foreign minister Federica Mogherini to denounce this despicable act of cynicism by a regime that beheads people in the town square, systematically oppresses women, Christians, and gays, and jails innocent bloggers like Raif Badawi for the crime of challenging the rulers’ radical brand of Wahabbist Islam,” Hillel Neuer, the group’s executive director, said in a recent statement.

Neuer compared the possible ascension of Saudi Arabia to the top slot to electing “a pyromaniac as the town fire chief.”

Germany currently heads the HRC, but its term ends in 2016. Elections will be held in early December 2015 for the 2016 term, according to a U.N. official.

The presidency will then rotate to a member of the U.N.’s Asian bloc, which includes Bangladesh, China, the United Arab Emirates, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Maldives, Pakistan, South Korea, Qatar, and Vietnam.

Human rights experts say that Saudi Arabia is not fit to lead the body, particularly amid a rise in executions under the newly crowned King Salman.

On Monday, Suadi Arabia put out advertisements seeking eight new state executioners. These individuals would be responsible for beheading criminals and “performing amputations for those convicted of lesser crimes,” according to Fox News.

David Weinberg, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and lead author of recent report on Saudi human rights abuses, said the autocratic nation would make of mockery of the HRC.

“It’s sadly ironic Saudi Arabia wants to be elected president of the human rights council when its citizens aren’t granted enough civil rights to even have a president or an elected prime minister but are instead ruled by a hereditary autocrat,” Weinberg said.

“That Riyadh wants to head the human rights council when back home it chops off the heads of foreigners and its own citizens in the streets—at a pace nearly three times as fast as last year so that the government is now seeking to hire more willing executioners, rather than transitioning them into retirement,” he added.

Rates of human trafficking are high in Saudia Arabia. The kingdom is currently designated by the United States as a “country of particular concern” regarding religious persecution.

The country also has come under fire in recent months for sentencing a blogger to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for essays critical of the government.

“Saudi Arabia has already used its position at the Human Rights Council to whitewash the crimes of allied but abusive regimes in places like Bahrain and Egypt, and it no doubt will seek to do further harm to the very concept of human rights in other ways as well,” Weinberg said.

Like U.N. Watch’s Neuer, Weinberg urged the United States to “head off this worrisome development at the U.N.”

“To the extent to which the [Obama] administration cares about international governance, it must support an Asian democracy for this position that strives to respect human rights—such as Japan, South Korea, or India—rather than a repressive autocracy like the Saudi state,” he said.

When asked to comment about these reports, a State Department official told the Free Beacon that “as far as we know there are not yet any announced candidates for the 2016 Human Rights Council presidency.”

US taxpayers on hook to the UN for approx $3.024 billion in 2015

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UN peacekeepers largely paid for by US taxpayers.
The United States taxpayers will pay the United Nations approximately $3.024 billion in 2015, according to testimony by Brett Schaefer, a Heritage Foundation fellow, before the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee responsible for multilateral institutions on May 6, 2015. This total accounts for $621.9 million toward the UN regular budget and $2.402 billion toward the UN peacekeeping budget. In contrast, 35 nations will pay less than a total of $29,000. Schaefer testified that the US’ contributions continue to rise due to the UN’s runaway budget which increased from nearly $15 billion in 2002 to nearly $41.5 billion in 2012. A major factor behind that increase is the “failure to arrest growth” in UN personnel costs which accounts for 70% of UN spending.

Schaefer pointed out that US contributions to the UN may be higher than reported: “there is also a lack of transparency and analysis on the U.S. side…(the) 2006 report confirmed that actual U.S. contributions to the U.N. were higher by about 25 percent than previously reported by the State Department. The reporting requirement lapsed in 2011. As a result, a comprehensive accounting of U.S. contributions to the U.N. system after FY 2010 is not available and the last reliable accounting by the OMB was for FY 2010, which reported contributions totaling $7.692 billion.”

This figure is more than double today’s figure, raising the question of what exactly is the true cost of US’ membership to the UN.

Date
May 7, 2015
Title
Key Issues of U.S. Concern at the United Nations, Heritage Foundation
Author(s)
Brett Schaefer

The UN’s War on Israel

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UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. It was intended to be a temple of peace, but this once great global body has been overrun by the repressive regimes that violate human rights and undermine international security.

In 1949, when the United Nations admitted Israel as a member state, it had 58 member countries and about half had a democratic orientation. Today, the landscape of the organization has changed drastically. From 51 member states at its founding in 1945, the institution has grown to 193 members — fewer than half of which are democracies.

The very nations that deny democratic rights to their people abuse the United Nations’ democratic forums to advance their interests. The largest of these groups comprises members from the 120-member-strong bloc known as the Non-Aligned Movement. Since 2012, the bloc has been chaired by Iran, which has used its position to bolster its allies and marginalize Israel.

In March, the United Nations closed the annual meeting of its Commission on the Status of Women by publishing a report that effectively singled out just one country for condemnation: Israel. The commission apparently had nothing to say about the Sudanese girls who are subjected to female genital mutilation. It also had nothing to say about the Iranian women who have been punished for crimes of “adultery” by stoning. These oversights may have something to do with the fact that both Iran and Sudan sit on the 45-member commission.

Then there is the United Nations Human Rights Council (the body that replaced the Commission on Human Rights in 2006). Its membership includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Venezuela — nations where you risk life and liberty if you express dissenting opinions. Yet these governments stand in judgment on the rest of us.

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In 2007, Sudan chaired a committee overseeing human rights — even as its president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, was being investigated for crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur, for which the International Criminal Court later issued arrest warrants. Saudi Arabia — a regime notorious for public executions and floggings like that, most recently, of the blogger Raif Badawi — sits on the Human Rights Council, despite regularly receiving the worst possible ratings on civil liberties and political rights from the independent watchdog Freedom House.

In 2013, Iran was elected to the committee responsible for disarmament — even as it continued its nuclear expansion, support for terrorism and the destruction of Israel. Last year, an Iranian served as a vice chair of the General Assembly’s legal committee, an inexplicable choice given that Iranian citizens are routinely denied due process and fair trials.

Knowing this history, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that, in the 2014-15 session alone, the General Assembly adopted about 20 resolutions critical of Israel, while the human rights situations in Iran, Syria and North Korea merited just one condemnation apiece. Day after day, member states turn a blind eye to the most deplorable crimes.

Iran? Just one hostile resolution for a nation that, on average, executes citizens at a rate of two a day for “crimes” that include homosexuality, apostasy and the vague offense of being an “enemy of God.”

North Korea? Just one negative resolution even though it has imprisoned more than 200,000 citizens, throws children into forced labor camps and subjects its population to food shortages and famine as a result of government policies.

Syria? Again, just one resolution for a government that has pursued a war against its own people that has caused the deaths of at least 220,000 men, women and children — many by torture, starvation, chemical weapons and barrel bombs dropped on markets and schools.

Christians now number among the world’s most persecuted religious groups in Muslim countries, yet this human rights crisis is almost completely ignored by the United Nations. Instead, Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East and an area in the region where the Christian population is actually growing, often seems to be the only nation the United Nations cares about.

Nowhere is anti-Israel bias more obvious than in the Geneva-based Human Rights Council. The council addresses the human rights abuses of all countries in the world under a program known as Agenda Item 4. That is, all countries but one. Israel is the only nation that is singled out for criticism by virtue of a special program, known as Agenda Item 7. A result, according to the Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch, is that more than 50 percent of all condemnatory resolutions are directed at the Jewish state.

Following last summer’s conflict in Gaza, the Human Rights Council established a Commission of Inquiry and selected William Schabas, a Canadian law professor, to chair the investigation. In February, Mr. Schabas was forced to resign after documents came to light revealing that, in 2012, he had done consulting work for the Palestine Liberation Organization. Surprisingly, this fact slipped Mr. Schabas’s mind during his vetting process.

It was clear from the outset that Mr. Schabas was not an impartial arbiter since he had a record of public statements suggesting that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the former president, Shimon Peres, should face trial at the International Criminal Court. When Israel protested, however, the United Nations ignored it.

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I am often asked how I can stand the tide of hatred aimed at Israel. Our response to the United Nations’ accusations is to speak tirelessly for those who are denied a voice in most of the Middle East — women, minorities, the L.G.B.T. community — and to fight daily efforts by totalitarian regimes to undermine democratic societies. Based on the fact that Israel is a thriving society, I believe we are winning.

Later this year, chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement will transfer to Venezuela, Iran’s ally. For the foreseeable future, we can expect more of the same.

The problem with the United Nations is that the leaders of many of its member states do not rule with the consent of the governed. Instead, they use the body as a forum to deflect attention from their own ruthless rule. In so doing, they turn a stage for courageous statecraft into a tragic theater of the absurd.

Ron Prosor is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.

UN Security Council Allows Iran a Free Hand in Yemen

 

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by

The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on Sunday March 22nd regarding the rapidly deteriorating situation in Yemen. It heard a briefing from Jamal Benomar, the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Yemen, describing Yemen’s descent towards a possible sectarian civil war. It then issued a presidential statement on behalf of all fifteen members that, in essence, told all parties to the conflict to behave, stop the violence, engage in peaceful political dialogue and obey past Security Council resolutions calling for the same thing. However, once again, the Security Council demonstrated its incapacity to deal truthfully and effectively with a crisis that has potentially far-reaching geopolitical significance.

The Security Council presidential statement ritualistically called on all member states to refrain from external interference in Yemen’s affairs and reaffirmed its readiness to take further measures against any party in case of non-implementation of its prior resolutions on Yemen. However, the Security Council did not call out Iran specifically for its funding, training and arming of its Shiite Houthi allies, whom have continued to occupy government institutions in Yemen’s capital, threatened the duly elected president and his ministers, and expanded militarily into other areas of Yemen outside of the capital.

It is not as if Iran’s disruptive intervention in Yemen to expand its own sphere of influence is a secret. Iranian senior officials openly brag about it.

In January, Iranian Brigadier General Baqir Zada said that the “Houthis victory in Yemen” represented “a historic victory for the Iranian Islamic revolution.”

Also in January, Hojatoleslam (a Shiite clerical rank just below that of ayatollah) Ali Shirazi, representative of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, said, “Hezbollah was formed in Lebanon as a popular force like Basij (Iran’s militia). Similarly popular forces were also formed in Syria and Iraq, and today we are watching the formation of Ansarollah in Yemen.”

In February, Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, boasted: “We are witnessing the export of the Islamic revolution throughout the region. From Bahrain and Iraq to Syria, Yemen and North Africa.”

The Security Council’s public silence regarding Iran’s admitted active role in destabilizing Yemen as part of fulfilling its hegemonic ambitions is as deafening as it is revealing. At this delicate point in its nuclear negotiations with Iran, the Obama administration and its allies do not want to do anything at the UN Security Council that might upset Iran and cause it to back away from a possible deal.

Consider the fact that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, issued her own statement condemning the Houthis, but that she too left out any mention of Iran. Ambassador Power said that “the Houthis’ actions – taken in close collaboration with former President Ali Abdullah Salih – have consistently undermined Yemen’s transition.” Ambassador Power referred to “a series of violent actions perpetrated by the Houthis since they chose to overrun Sana’a, take over government institutions, and attempt to govern by unilateral decree.” She added that “all parties must refrain from any further unilateral and offensive military actions.” Unmentioned was the identity of the state party fueling the Houthis’ perpetration of violence – the same terrorist sponsoring state that the Obama administration is feverishly negotiating with to reach a nuclear deal by the end of this month.

Only the Yemeni representative had the guts to call out the elephant in the room. He implored the Security Council to “curb the drums of war” propagated by the promotors of the coup, fuelled by “Iranian ambitions” in Yemen.

Closed consultations among Security Council members followed the public briefing. A senior Western delegate told me that Iran’s involvement in the Yemen conflict did come up during the closed consultations. However, there was evidently no discussion on what steps might be taken to enforce prior Security Council resolutions vis a vis Iran’s role. There are prior Security Council resolutions related to Yemen that could be used, including Resolution 2140 (2014), extended until at least next year. Resolution 2140 had set up a mechanism for identifying and sanctioning individuals and entities responsible for, among other things, “providing support for acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Yemen.”

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Yet Iran has escaped even the slightest slap on the wrist for its continued shipment of arms to its Houthi allies in Yemen, which is going on as the UN continues to spin its wheels rather than act. According to a March 21, 2015 report by StrategyWorld.com, for example, “An Iranian freighter recently docked at Yemen’s second largest port (al Saleef) and unloaded 185 tons of weapons and military equipment.”

More disturbing is the fact that, aside from the specific resolution regarding Yemen, the Security Council already has a ready-made vehicle to enforce against Iran but is ignoring it. Iran is openly violating a 2007 UN Security Council resolution that imposed an embargo on arms exports from Iran along with other constraints on Iranian arms imports. This and other resolutions, which Iran is seeking to have rescinded as quickly as possible as part of a negotiated nuclear deal, were passed as the foundation for declaring Iran’s nuclear program to be illegal and punishing Iran for its continued intransigence.

Security Council Resolution 1747 (2007) stated that “Iran shall not supply, sell or transfer directly or indirectly from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft any arms or related materiel, and that all States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in the territory of Iran.”

In a statement after the vote on that 2007 resolution, the U.S. representative reminded the world of “Iran’s continued well-known role as one of the world’s leading State sponsors of terrorism.”

The Iranian regime has not changed its stripes. In fact, it has gotten even worse. By its own admission, it is actively expanding its reach in the Middle East and beyond, and it is using more terrorist proxies on the Hezbollah model. Yet the Obama administration, in its attempt to whitewash Iran’s association with terrorism, actually removed Iran from the list of terrorist threats in the most recent Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community report published on February 26, 2015.

The Obama administration is also reportedly considering offering Iran a phased lifting of the UN sanctions as Iran complies with specified milestones. Not that it makes any real difference, given Iran’s flouting of Resolution 1747 and other Security Council resolutions related to its nuclear program, but lifting of the UN sanctions could potentially spill over into relaxing the embargo on Iran’s export of arms. And that would give Iran even more of a sense of international legitimacy in arming its proxies such as the Houthis.

The French, who are participating in the nuclear negotiations with Iran, are not in such a hurry to compromise on the UN sanctions. They want the Iranians to come clean on the past work they have done on nuclear warhead development before UN sanctions can begin being lifted. The Iranians are reportedly refusing to cooperate, as they continue to stonewall UN inspectors whom have been seeking information on Iran’s past military dimensions of their nuclear program. U.S. diplomats are for all intents and purposes running interference for Iran, trying to convince France not to worry so much about any past Iranian work on nuclear warhead development right now. In their zeal for a deal, Obama’s negotiators are willing to overlook any evidence of Iranian deception and stonewalling.

The UN Security Council’s inaction against Iran regarding its blatant arming, training and funding of the Houthis in Yemen, in violation of a prior Security Council resolution, is no accident. It is in keeping with the Obama administration’s own reluctance to offend Iran on any issue that might get in the way of completing a nuclear deal with the pre-eminent global state sponsor of jihadist terrorism.