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Thread: Gaza complicates Barack Obama's policy in Mideast

  1. #211
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    you do know the US doesn't have veto power on the human rights council don't you? in fact, they're not even members. and i was mostly speaking about hrc resolutions since those are the ones i have experience in.

    as for security council resolutions, votes are also political, the veto is a pretty big deal and let's just say not even the US can credibly veto every single resolution on israel that passes through the security council because it's the sort of thing that could then bite them in the ass. any time you're a member of anything at the UN, and there's a vote, you're not just voting on the issue, you're voting while keeping in mind how this vote will affect you in the future - in case of other votes that might concern you, what it will do for your standing with certain regional groups, how it will affect any candidatures you might have to certain posts, etc... no vote is isolated.
    again, i'm not defending israel's history concering international law, i'm just saying that things aren't as black and white as you want them to be.

    The vast majority of UN resolutions issued against Israel come from the Security Council. The UNHRC has passed a grand total of 9 resolutions against Israel.

    From Wiki:

    UN Special Rapporteur on Israeli actions
    On March 26, 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on "the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967."[11] Falk replaces South African professor John Dugard, an expert on apartheid who will leave his post in June 2008 after seven years.[12]

    Richard Falk is a Jew and an exemplary human being.

  2. #212
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    i know, i was there.

    and the UNHRC has 'only' passed 9 resolutions because it's only been around a year and a half. it replaced the now-defunct Commission on Human Rights, which passed a lot of resolutions on israel and palestine. so far, most of the country-specific special sessions have been on that, save for darfur, congo and the lebanese war of 2006.
    and both in the commission and the new HRC, the OPT is a standing/permanent issue on the agenda, the only country situation to have that.

    also from wiki:
    Council's position on Israel

    As of January 24, 2008, Israel had been condemned 15 times in less than two years. The UN Human Rights Council, like its predecessor the UN Human Rights Commission, has been criticised by some Western countries for its focus on Israel.[19] By April 2007, the Council had passed nine resolutions condemning Israel, the only country which it had specifically condemned.[20][21] Toward Sudan, another country with human rights abuses as documented by the Council's working groups, it has expressed "deep concern."[20]
    Other observers disagree with criticism of the UN Human Rights Council. Richard Falk found the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories to be unprecedented in international experience and found that it has produced immense suffering for Palestinians. He argues that it would not be forgivable if the Human Rights Council overlooked charges of Israeli violations of international humanitarian law. He notes that the HRC has appointed special rapporteurs for other situations, including the DPRK and Myanmar. Falk says that his experience suggests that the Council gives complete freedom to its special rapporteurs to report on a situation and expects adherence to principles of impartiality. [22] Other observers take the view that the Human Rights Council's has an obligation to condemn Israel's violations of international law in keeping with the basic mission of the Council, which is to safeguard human rights. [23]
    The council voted on 30 June 2006 to make a review of possible 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. Human Rights Watch 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 that in Darfur.[24]
    At its Second Special Session in August 2006, the Council announced the establishment of a High-Level Commission of Inquiry charged with probing allegations that Israel systematically targeted and killed Lebanese civilians during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.[25] The resolution was passed by a vote of 27 in favour to 11 against, with 8 abstentions. Before and after the vote several member states and NGOs objected that by condemning Israel and failing to address Hezbollah attacks on Israeli civilians, the Council risked damaging its credibility. The members of the Commission of Inquiry, as announced on 1 September 2006, are Clemente Baena Soares of Brazil, Mohamed Chande Othman of Tanzania, and Stelios Perrakis of Greece. The Commission noted that its report on the conflict would be incomplete without fully investigating both sides, but that "the Commission is not entitled, even if it had wished, to construe [its charter] as equally authorizing the investigation of the actions by Hezbollah in Israel,"[26] as the Council had explicitly prohibited it from investigating the actions of Hezbollah.
    On 29 November 2006, UN 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.[27][28]
    Annan reiterated this position in his formal address on 8 December 2006 (International Human Rights Day). Annan argued that the Commission should not have a "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."[citation needed]
    On 20 June 2007, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement that read: "The Secretary-General is disappointed at the council's decision to single out only one specific regional item given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world."[citation needed] The European Union, Canada and the United States were also critical of the Council's focus on Israeli violations.{{{author}}}, {{{title}}}, [[{{{publisher}}}]], {{{date}}}.
    A Council meeting in Geneva in 2007 caused controversy after Cuba and Belarus, both accused of abuses[citation needed], were removed from a list of nine special mandates. The list, which included North Korea, Cambodia and Sudan, had been carried forward from the defunct Commission.[29]
    The Council's charter preserves the watchdog's right to appoint special investigators for countries whose human rights records are of particular concern, something many developing states have long opposed. Commenting on Cuba and Belarus, the UN statement said that Ban noted "that not having a Special Rapporteur assigned to a particular country does not absolve that country from its obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." The United States said a day before the UN statement that the Council deal raised serious questions about whether the new body could be unbiased. Alejandro Wolff, deputy US permanent representative at the United Nations, accused the council of "a pathological obsession with Israel" and also denounced its action on Cuba and Belarus. "I think the record is starting to speak for itself," he told journalists.[30][31]
    The UNHRC President Doru Costea responded: "I agree with him. The functioning of the Council must be constantly improved." He added that the Council must examine the behaviour of all parties involved in complex disputes and not place just one state under the magnifying glass.[32][33].
    Speaking at the IDC's Herzliya Conference in Israel in January 2008, Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen criticized the actions of the Human Rights Council actions against Israel. "At the United Nations, censuring Israel has become something of a habit, while Hamas's terror is referred to in coded language or not at all. The Netherlands believes the record should be set straight, both in New York and at the Human Rights Council in Geneva," Verhagen said.[citation needed]
    the reason there wasn't stronger condemnation of the situation in sudan was that the african countries (with the exception of zambia and ghana, who dared speak out against their regional group) and the OIC acted together to prevent harsher action from being taken, just as they always do with any situation that concerns an islamic government, or an african one because by protecting them from country-specific resolutions they can then count on their support. that's why there's never been specific action on zimbabwe either.
    it's frustrating when you belong to the minority of countries (euro countries, canada, japan, australia and most latin american countries) that actually want to do something about these situations. but you don't have the numbers, so action is impossible.
    basically, the only you can condemn at the hrc is israel. so do you see now why it is one-sided and biased? again, not to give israel a free pass but you can see why in the face of such actions, international law doesn't have the credibility and respect that it should.
    Last edited by sputnik; January 12th, 2009 at 11:48 AM.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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