I was visiting Pierre Tristam’s site and someone named Van commented about John Dugard’s latest report on Israel. As always, Dugard finds fault with Israel’s actions in defending itself and “Van” indicated that this was informative because Dugard was an impartial observer. I didn’t think so and responded with some detail. Since it involved some research and a lot of writing, I thought it might be of some interest to our readers. I enclose it below Hillel Neuer’s of UN Watch statement to the Human Rights Council. You should watch the 4 minute video as well, if only because at the end of the talk, the Council’s president is so displeased that he strikes it from the record.
To see my response to “Van” about the unfairness of this Council, please follow the link.
Dugard has long been an opponent of Israel and UNISPAL is one of 2 agencies specifically focused on the Palestinian issue, Van. The only agencies so specified for minority national groups in the entire UN.
However, that’s not the reason that he ends up seeing Israel as the “more belligerent party. You see, he’s actually NOT impartial. He’s MANDATED to be partial to the Palestinians. By a UN body!! Let’s go on a little journey, okay Van?
Here, be sure to read paragraphs 3 and 5 of the Introduction on page 6 where Dugard informs you that oddly, his mandate is solely to report on “violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by Israeli in the OPT.”
That’s it, his sole mandate. Somehow, there is no opponent to Israel that needs to be investigated. How did such a strange mandate come about? After all, China doesn’t have this type of rapporteur for Tibet and Russia doesn’t have one for Chechnya. The US doesn’t get one for Iraq and Syria never got one for Lebanon. So how is it that there’s a person dedicated to investigating Israel’s “violations?” And how is it that he’s not permitted to investigate any other side of the conflict?
Here’s the US State Dept. in March of 2007 about the UN’s Human Rights Council which is the sponsor of Dugard:
“We believe that the Human Rights Council has thus far not proved itself to be a credible body in the mission that it has been charged with. There has been a nearly singular focus on issues related to Israel, for example, to the exclusion of examining issues of real concern to the international system, whether that’s in Cuba or Burma or in North Korea.
So we are going to remain as observers to the Human Rights Council and we hope that over time, that this body will expand its focus and become a more credible institution representative of the important mission with which it is charged. But nonetheless, the United States will remain actively engaged not only in the UN system but also outside of the UN system in promoting human rights.
QUESTION: Do you think that if the U.S. were to take — were to about-face and take a greater leadership role, run for the Council, take more of a leadership role in the deliberations, that it could forge some kind of change in the body?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, this is always a question, whether or not it is — you would be more effective in working outside to try to change the behavior of an institution or a body, in this case the Human Rights Council, or to work from within. Secretary Rice has made the decision that in this particular case it is better to try to work for change from without and to serve as an example within the UN system of the kind of promoter of human rights, the kind of mechanism or enabler of promotion of human rights within the UN system that the Human Rights Council should be.
It is unfortunate that it has not proven to be that since its inception a couple of years ago. So while we hope that it will expand its focus and will be a credible body for the promotion of human rights within the international system, we just have made — come to the conclusion at this point that it is not and that the interest of human rights are better served by our actively working outside of the Human Rights Council while remaining an observer to it.”
Lest you think it’s just the Americans and Israelis who have a problem with this Council, you should be aware that this is only the second year of this new council because the previous body which this Council replaces was so clearly biased against Israel for decades without seriously addressing other international issues of concern that Kofi Annan felt compelled to replace it with a new body. It was probably putting Libya at the head of the previous council that sealed the deal.
Here is Human Rights Watch, no friend of Israel’s on the problems with the new Council:
“On the last day of the session, the council adopted a resolution on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which calls for existing human rights experts to report on Israeli human rights violations at its September session and for consideration of this situation at subsequent sessions. Based on a request by more than one-third of the council’s members, the council will also hold a special session on the situation in the occupied territories, possibly next week. Human Rights Watch agreed that the deteriorating situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories should be considered by the council, but urged it to look at international human rights and humanitarian law violations committed by Palestinian armed groups as well.
Human Rights Watch called on the council to avoid the selectivity that discredited its predecessor and urged it to hold special sessions on other urgent situations, such as Darfur. The council’s ability to take up such situations quickly and send in human rights experts to do fact-finding should be a valuable tool in tackling violations.
“The council’s singling out the Occupied Palestinian Territories for special attention is a cause for concern,â€ said Hicks. â€œThe human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories deserves attention, but the new council must bring the same vigor to its consideration of other pressing situations.â€ ”
But there’s more, Van. Read paragraphs 5, 6, and 7 on pages 2 and 3 of this report.
In short, the Council decided to investigate Israel’s actions in Lebanon last year. Except, incredibly, as the report states, the commission of inquiry had NO permission to investigate Hizbullah or Lebanon. It was supposed to ignore the opponent in the war. Sound to you like a bias similar to that given in Dugard’s mandate?
Here’s an overview from an author at Wikipedia:
“The new UN Human Rights Council has specifically condemned only one country, Israel. It voted on 30 June 2006 to make a review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel a permanent feature of every council session. The Council’s special rapporteur on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is its only expert mandate with no year of expiry. The resolution, which was sponsored by Organization of the Islamic Conference, passed by a vote of 29 to 12 with five abstentions.
On 29 November 2006, Secretary-General Kofi Annan criticised the Human Rights Council for “disproportionate focus on violations by Israel” while neglecting other parts of the world such as Darfur, which had what he termed “graver” crises.   Annan reiterated this position in his formal address on 8 December 2006 (International Human Rights Day), noting the Commission’s “disproportionate focus on violations by Israel. Not that Israel should be given a free pass. Absolutely not. But the Council should give the same attention to grave violations committed by other states as well.” 
By the beginning of 2007, the Council had spent much of its three regular meetings and four special sessions focusing almost exclusively on the actions of only one country, Israel. The Council has passed eight resolutions condemning Israel, and none condemning any other country. More resolutions targeting Israel have been proposed for upcoming sessions.”
Hmmm, why oh why could this be happening, Van? By now you should be getting a clear idea as to why Israel refuses to recognize the Rapporteur and his limitless mandate to investigate only Israel from a UN Council that seems to care primarily about Israel.
Take a look at the membership of the Council, Van and try, I mean really do try, to put 2+2 together. Ask yourself, Van, whether the UN’s Human Rights Council should have violators of human rights on their roster while focusing on one country in particular?
Here’s how the Council treats human rights issues in Iran and Uzbekistan.
That’s right, it voted not to investigate. This is despite being provided with information of serious violations of human rights in both countries (which is why the Council was considering investigating)
But the Council has now condemned Israel 8 times as of March 28 of this year.
To help you understand, here is Peggy Hicks from Human Rights Watch from a different article than the one above providing you with some details. Note that she doesn’t recommend shutting the whole thing down, but she should.
So do me a favor, Van. When you provide a link to a UNISPAL report on what the Special Rapporteur on Israel for the Human Rights Council of the UN thinks of Israel, note that it has the odor of cow-dung all around it. It is far from “impartial” and any conclusions reached are tainted by nothing less than the clearest case of abuse of a nation’s rights in the UN.