by Jagdish N. Singh
- What makes the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) ignore such rights violations? The answer is simple: most of the member states of the Council are themselves the worst violators of rights of their own citizens, and they are trying to save each other through a conspiracy of corruption.
- When Hamas was raining rockets down on Israel, most members of the UNHRC seemed unconcerned that Jerusalem might have had moral and legal obligations to protect its citizens.
- The horror is that so many corrupt countries go along with it to protect their own corruption. More sickening is that countries pretending to stand for freedom, such as the United States, fund nearly a quarter of the UN's budget.
- It is time for those who truly care about human rights to dismantle this show.
Like it or not, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a big flop. It does not care a fig for what it is supposed to do: promote and protect human rights in general, and freedom of association, assembly, expression, belief and religion, sexual preference and women's rights and the rights of racial and ethnic minorities in particular.
The past record of the UNHRC shows it has overlooked rights violations in a large part of the world in general and the Middle East in particular. The UNHRC has notoriously been obsessed with inventing rights violations by Israel, the Middle East's only democracy, where women and minorities -- the most oppressed sections in most of the nations in the world -- enjoy equality in law and practice both. Since March 2006, when the UN General Assembly brought the UNHRC into existence, it has condemned Israel 61 times, compared to just 55 condemnations of all other nations in the world combined.
What makes the UNHRC ignore such rights violations? The answer is simple: most of the member states of the Council are themselves the worst violators of the rights of their own citizens, and they are trying to save each other through a conspiracy of corruption.
The mandate of the UNHRC Advisory Committee experts is too restrictive for them to look into the rights abuses of the states they themselves belong to. Experts tend to pass time discussing some vague, high-sounding priorities, initiatives, working methods, procedural efficiency measures and proposals, such as creating a world human rights court for ensuring citizen safety and human rights.
Recently, the UNHRC voted on a resolution that condemned Israel for human rights violations allegedly committed during the 2014 Israeli strikes on Gaza. Forty-one countries voted in favor of the resolution. The United States alone voted against it. India, Kenya, Ethiopia, Paraguay and Macedonia abstained from voting.
The McGowan Davis Commission Report on the Israeli strikes claims that the Israeli military deliberately targeted civilian areas and residential buildings. The UNHRC brought it to a vote and called on Israel and Hamas "to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court" -- another unaccountable, biased and politicized group.
Although the McGowan Davis Report also criticized Hamas for violence against Israeli citizens, its net effect amounted to equating Hamas, a lawless, terrorist actor, with Israel, a democratic state with a sound judicial system.
That approach to life is something that most member states of the UN Human Rights Council have in common with Hamas. Neither group seems to believe in secular democracy or human rights. The Hamas Charter preaches the politics of hatred and violence against Israel, but Hamas does not spare even its own people, whom it used freely during the war last year as cannon-fodder before the eyes of international television crews. Hamas threw many of the more progressive Palestinians off the highest floors of buildings in Gaza when it took over in 2007 and expelled officials of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah. Hamas activities have also included the support of the so-called "Axis of Resistance": Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and the Islamic Jihad.
After Hamas's parent movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, came to power in Cairo, then Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi blessed Hamas.
In June 2014, senior Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal, Fauzi Barhum, and Mushir al-Masri praised the abduction and murder of the three Jewish teenagers.
When Hamas was raining rockets down on Israel, most members of the UN Human Rights Council seemed unconcerned that Jerusalem might have had moral and legal obligations to protect its citizens by resorting to "Operation Protective Edge," aimed at countering more than 11,000 attacks from Gaza into Israel since Israel totally withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
Given the pattern of lawless, unpunished (often rewarded) behavior of many member states just now -- such as Iran, rewarded for violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty by being fast-tracked to building nuclear weapons; Russia, which invaded Ukraine with no push-back; and China, which has been building military land-fill islands throughout the South China Sea while encountering no serious negative response -- why shouldn't the leaders of Hamas employ a practice illegal under the Geneva Convention -- using the civilian population in Gaza as hostages -- to protect themselves, and dub the impending civilian casualties as "Israeli crimes against humanity"?
By contrast, any perceived infraction by Israel of the even most trivial nature is treated as an international catastrophe.
The horror is that so many corrupt countries go along with it to protect their own corruption.
More sickening is that countries pretending to stand for freedom, such as the United States, fund nearly a quarter of the UN's budget.
It is time for those who truly care about human rights to dismantle this show.
Jagdish N. Singh is a senior Indian journalist based in New Delhi, India.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.