The UN’s Human Rights Council has issued more condemnations of Israel than of all other countries combined, a new report has found, prompting allegations of gross corruption. The Council also reserves a special agenda item targeting Israel in every meeting, singling out the country in a way not done for any other.
According to the civil rights group UN Watch, in the nine years since the UN’s Human Rights Council was first set up, it has issued condemnations of Israel 61 times, far outstripping the 55 condemnations of other countries from across the world issued in the same period.
The next highest on the list is Syria, which has been the subject of criticism by the Council a mere 15 times. North Korea, which keeps its countrymen in a state of perpetual starvation, cut off from the rest of the world, has received just eight condemnations, whilst Zimbabwe which “severely curtails basic human rights” has received none at all.
There were also seven urgent sessions of the Council convened to condemn Israel. Of the eleven directed at other countries worldwide, four were aimed at Syria, and just one each at seven other countries including North Korea, the Ivory Coast and Libya.
And yet the Council is set to condemn Israel again this week for the 62nd time, when the Palestinian delegation will deliver yet another report on Israeli action in Gaza.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch said “The outcome resolution for the latest Gaza report, to be introduced at the UNHRC this week by the Palestinians together with the Arab and Islamic states, will condemn Israel exclusively, and will mark the 62nd resolution targeting Israel since the new and improved Council was created in 2006 – while the total of all other UNHRC condemnatory resolutions for rest of the world amounts to 55, with most of the world’s worst violators given a free pass, if not a seat on the council itself.
“Sadly, with members like China, Russia, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Venezuela and Qatar, the UNHRC today may possibly rank as a more corrupt international organization than FIFA.”
The very agenda of the Council, unchanged for each meeting stacks the odds against Israel as it is the only country singled out for special criticism. Nestled amongst items including “Human rights bodies and mechanisms” and “Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention” is agenda item 7: “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.”
Neuer commented: “No other country in the world has its own agenda item — not Sudan, not Syria, not North Korea.”
Many western democracies have boycotted this agenda item over the last year, thanks to its clear bias. In March of this year, US Ambassador to the UNHRC Keith Harper affirmed the USA’s boycott of the item, saying: “The United States strongly and unequivocally opposes the very existence of Agenda Item 7 and any HRC resolutions that come from it.
“We remain deeply troubled – by this council’s stand-alone agenda item directed against Israel, and by the many repetitive and one-sided resolutions under that agenda item. As was the case last year, the United States will not engage in the debate. Neither will Israel. Instead, we will call a vote, and vote no on Item 7 resolutions.”
The Council further targets Israel by commissioning a Special Rapporteur whose job it is to only examine alleged Israeli violations, without also looking at the actions of its conflict partners – in this case, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or Fatah.
Neuer said: “The permanent Special Rapporteur on Israel’s alleged violations is the only one at the UNHRC whose mandate examines only one; who in advance presumes the country concerned to be guilty; and which has no expiration.
“By contrast, even the HRC mandate on Sudan examines all sides, government and rebels; does not presume violations in advance; and must be renewed each year.”