Diplomacy

Diplomat: Upcoming UN Human Rights Election A “Comedy”, Iran and Syria Vying for Seats

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was created as a successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). The latter had become a vehicle where rogue regimes huddled together for mutual protection – they voted to thwart criticism of themselves and allies – and from which they targeted Israel disproportionately and sometimes exclusively. It was replaced once it became politically unsustainable.

Its UNHRC successor has subsequently been blasted for becoming… a vehicle where rogue regimes huddle together for mutual protection – voting to thwart criticism of themselves and allies – and from which they target Israel disproportionately and sometimes exclusively.

Regarding Israel, the organization was accused in 2011 by then-Secretary of State Clinton of having “structural bias” against Israel. Clinton pointed to among other things the existence of a standing UNHRC agenda item targeting Israel. Every other country on the planet is treated under common items. No other country, by far, is subjected to as many condemnations as Israel. UNHRC sessions have been marked by the distribution of anti-Semitic propaganda and images.

Last April the UNHRC’s special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights Richard Falk blamed Israel for the Boston marathon bombings, leading the U.S. to press unsucessfully for his resignation. The U.K. investigated the article in which Falk pushed his conspiracy theory and concluded that it was “resonant of the longstanding antisemitic practice of blaming Jews (through the State of Israel by proxy) for all that is wrong in the world.”

The degree to which the UNHRC is used by rogue regimes to insulate themselves and their allies, meanwhile, reemerged this week as it was reported by Reuters that both Iran and Syria would be seeking seats on the body:

The General Assembly’s annual elections for the United Nations’ 47-nation Geneva-based human rights body will be held later this year in New York. There will be 14 seats available for three-year terms beginning in January 2014.

From the so-called Asia group, which includes the Middle East and Asia, seven countries – China, Iran, Jordan, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Vietnam – are vying for four seats, U.N. diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

One diplomat predicted that Syria and Iran would fail in their bids to join the U.N. rights watchdog when the 193-nation General Assembly votes in the fall, while another said the upcoming election would be a “comedy.”

[Photo: United Nations – Geneva]