UN Council Chief Doesn't Like Message, Threatens Messenger

UN Human Rights Council head says he "won't tolerate" criticism like that made by UN Watch Director Hillel Neuer about its anti-Israel stance.

Hillel Fendel,

Hillel C. Neuer
Hillel C. Neuer

UN Human Rights Council head says he "won't tolerate" criticism like that made by UN Watch  Director Hillel Neuer about its anti-Israel stance.

The United Nations Human Rights Council is currently holding its fourth session in Geneva - a 19-day affair at which representatives are discussing human rights and violations thereof around the world.

Hillel Neuer of Geneva, Executive-Director of the United Nations Watch observer organization, was permitted to address the Council - but Council President Luis Alfonso de Alba all but censored his words of harsh criticism.

Neuer said:

"Six decades ago, in the aftermath of the Nazi horrors, Eleanor Roosevelt, Réné Cassin and other eminent figures gathered here, on the banks of Lake Geneva, to reaffirm the principle of human dignity. They created the Commission on Human Rights. Today, we ask: What has become of their noble dream?

"In this session we see the answer. Faced with compelling reports from around the world of torture, persecution, and violence against women, what has the Council pronounced, and what has it decided?

"Nothing. Its response has been silence. Its response has been indifference. Its response has been criminal. One might say, in Harry Truman’s words, that this has become a Do-Nothing, Good-for-Nothing Council.

"But that would be inaccurate. This Council has, after all, done something. It has enacted one resolution after another condemning one single state: Israel. In eight pronouncements - and there will be three more this session - Hamas and Hizbullah have been granted impunity. The entire rest of the world - millions upon millions of victims, in 191 countries - continue to go ignored...

"And the Middle East dictators [say] seek to protect human rights - Palestinian rights... But do these self-proclaimed defenders truly care about Palestinian rights?

"Let us consider the past few months. More than 130 Palestinians were killed by Palestinian forces. This is three times the combined total that were the pretext for calling special sessions in July and November. Yet the champions of Palestinian rights... say nothing. Little 3-year-old boy Salam Balousha and his two brothers were murdered in their car by Prime Minister Haniyeh’s troops. Why has this Council chosen silence?

"Because Israel could not be blamed. Because, in truth, the despots who run this Council couldn’t care less about Palestinians, or about any human rights. They seek to demonize Israeli democracy, to delegitimize the Jewish state, to scapegoat the Jewish people...

"You ask: What has become of the founders’ dream? Mr. President, with terrible lies and moral inversion, this council is turning that dream into a nightmare. Thank you, Mr. President."

The President of the Council, Mexico's Luis Alfonso de Alba, responded with quiet outrage, threatening to "remove from the record" any similar remarks said in the future. He said that for the first time, he would not "express thanks for that statement... I will not tolerate any similar statements in the Council. The way in which members of this Council were referred to, and indeed the way in which the council itself was referred to, all of this is inadmissible. In the memory of the persons that you referred to, founders of the Human Rights Commission, and for the good of human rights, I would urge you in any future statements to observe some minimum proper conduct and language. Otherwise, any statement you make in similar tones to those used today will be taken out of the records."

A video of both Neuer's and de Alba's remarks can be viewed here

The Human Rights Council was formed last year to replace the UN's much-maligned Human Rights Commission. Its 47 member states are elected by the General Assembly for three-year terms. The UN determined that the Council "shall be responsible for promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner" and must also "address situations of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations, and make recommendations thereon." The Council's work "shall be guided by the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, constructive international dialogue and cooperation..."