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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

UN 'Human Rights Council' 'reforms', hits bottom, keeps digging

If you thought things couldn't get any worse at the UN 'Human Rights Council,' you're wrong. The discredited council celebrated its first anniversary today by 'reforming' and making Israel one of two permanent items on the agenda (the other being the rest of the world) and by permanently taking the dictatorial regimes of Cuba and Belarus off the agenda. In other words, in the Council's bizarre view of the world, there is less freedom in Israel than in Cuba or Belarus. Or for that matter, the 'Palestinian Authority.'
As part of a reform package, the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted Tuesday two measures to permanently single out Israel for special scrutiny.

The first places Israel automatically on the council's agenda for debate while all other countries in the world are dealt with under an overall global subject heading. The second move calls for Israel's activities in the Palestinian territories to be permanently reviewed until it withdraws from the West Bank.


At the same time the Council heightened its focus on Israel, it halted investigations into Cuba and Belarus - a move that immediately drew fire from Canada and the United States.

The decisions were part of a package of reforms adopted by the members of the Human Rights Council to change how it conducts its future work, including how and when to launch investigations into some of the world's worst rights offenders.

The council passed the compromise package despite objections from Canada over plans to continue singling out Israel for scrutiny.

The European Union, which played a key role in the negotiations, said ahead of the meeting that it remained to be seen how the council could perform on the basis of the agreement.

"The package is certainly not ideal, but we have a basis we can work with," said Ambassador Michael Steiner of Germany, which currently holds the EU presidency. "The package must prove its value in practice." [And now you see why I refer to the EU as the Euroweenies. CiJ]The United States - which is only an observer to the 47-nation body - has been skeptical since the beginning.

Among the changes was the establishment of a "universal periodic review" mechanism under which all countries would have their rights record examined regularly.

Nine other expert mandates, including on Haiti, Somalia, Congo, Sudan, Myanmar, North Korea and the Palestinian territories, will continue. [Where's the one for Venezuela? Iran? Saudi Arabia? CiJ]
The fact that the UN is corrupt and anti-Israel is nothing new. The real question is why the US keeps funding this disgrace:
An influential Cuban-American member of Congress, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, said she would seek to halt US funding to the council because of the "hopelessly flawed" rules exempting Cuba and Belarus and targeting Israel.

Ros-Lehtinen, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said she plans to offer an amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations legislation that was scheduled for a vote later this week by the US House of Representatives.

"To its shame, the UN Human Rights Council celebrated its first birthday by giving gifts to Fidel Castro, the authoritarian regime in Belarus and the enemies of the democratic state of Israel," she said.
The problem is that the members of the 'Human Rights Council' have no shame. None.


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