UNHRC Gave Assad, Other Dictators a Free Pass, Study Shows
Rights Commissioner turned a blind eye to most of the world’s worst abusers, UN Watch found.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 6/12/2011, 12:08 AM
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has turned a blind eye to most of the world’s worst abusers, UN Watch has found.
In an exhaustive study, the watchdog group examined all statements by Pillay published on the UN website between September 2008 and June 2010. The findings show “a questionable sense of priorities,” the group reported. “Ms. Pillay turned a blind eye to most of the world’s worst abusers… She failed to voice any concern for victims in 34 countries rated ‘Not Free’ by Freedom House—meaning those with the worst records, and the most needy victims.”
Syria was among the nations that received no criticism from Pillay. In July 2010, two renowned Syrian human rights lawyers, Haytham al-Maleh and Muhanad al-Hasani, were convicted for criticizing the Syrian authorities. In March 2010, Syrian military detained journalists, bloggers and writers for exposing government abuse and corruption. However, the High Commissioner did not respond to any of these events, and over the course of her tenure, did not make any public comments about the state of human rights in Syria.
Pillay only woke up to the problematic regime in Syria last Thursday when she called on it to stop "its aggression against its people," and urged Syria to allow an UNHRC fact-finding mission to investigate the violence, including the killing of 120 security personnel at Jisr a-Shugour.
Pilllay said in a statement: "This is very unfortunate that the government tries to force its people into submission using tanks, artillery and snipers. I urge the government to stop this assault on basic human rights of its people."
Among the countries not criticized between September 2008 and June 2010 despite severe human rights abuses: Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Brunei, Cambodia, Cameroon, Congo (Brazzaville), Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mauritania, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
There were 21 statements on countries in the Middle East and North Africa. However, of these, nine were on Israel, the only democracy in the region.
UN Watch slammed the UNCHR earlier this year for its hypocrisy regarding mass murder of rebels in Libya.
Ms. Pillay failed to issue any public statement in response to the well-documented violence against demonstrators in Iran following the June 2009 presidential elections. Her first comment appeared three months after initial reports and video evidence of government-backed paramilitary forces arbitrarily arresting, beating and killing protestors were released. She called on Iran to respect human rights in her traditional opening speech at the UNHRC session in September 2009 but did not give a press conference and chose not to issue a statement on the matter.
The UNHRC is the body that commissioned the now-discredited Goldstone report that slammed Israel for alleged war crimes in Operation Cast Lead against Gaza terrorists.