As usual, I start with some recent news and developments:
As we have seen before the relentless shelling of block after block, neighbourhood after neighbourhood continues during this “ceasefire” as if nothing has happened. Now they are shelling cemeteries:
”EVEN THE DEAD OF SYRIA CANNOT REST IN PEACE – ASSAD’S FORCES SHELL A CEMETERY. Damascus (Douma): Apr 26, 2012- Assad’s forces not only murder the living of Syria, but they try their best to disturb the dead. Multiple times over this 13 month long Revolution, Bashar Al Assad’s forces have attacked and shelled cemeteries … they will not even allow the dead to rest in dignity.”
And the UN observers did something good – They shielded families from Assads forces sniper fire so that they could fetch the dead bodies AFTER 45 days:
”ASSAD’S FORCES REFUSED TO ALLOW THEM TO RETRIVE BODIES OF THE DEAD – THEY NEEDED THE U.N. OBSERVERS TO ACCOMPANY THEM. Homs(Bab Dreib): Apr 28, 2012- The bodies had been laying in the street for 45 days. For one month and a half, these bodies lay in the street, murdered by Assad’s forces – they didn’t allow family and friends to retrieve the bodies, so they rotted and decomposed. The only way they were able to get the bodies was for the UN to literally shield them from Assad’s snipers.
And some more leaked videos. Remember that these videos were filmed by the Assad militia, thugs, intelligence people etc. to show how “good”, loyal and efficient they are:
”LEAKED VIDEO -I SWEAR TO GOD I DONT WANT FREEDOM!” – IS WHAT THIS BOY TELLS HIS INTERROGATORS AS THEY BEAT AND HUMILIATE HIM. – In this leaked video clip taken by Assad’s thugs, they have a young boy in the back of a car and begin to humiliate, threaten and beat him. They even use a taser on him.
Assad’s thugs repeatedly force the boy to ‘confess’ that he is an armed gunman, that he owns a gun and that he fired on them. They force him to give them the names of all his friends and to ‘admit’ that they too are gunmen. They also force him to confess that he protested and ask him if he wants freedom, to which he replies “i swear i dont want freedom!”
They also tell him repeatedly that they will rape his sister and force him to agree that they will rape her.
These are Assad’s men. This is what they do. These are the people that Assad’s supporters look up to and respect.”
LEAKED VIDEO – ASSAD’S FORCES BEAT AND HUMILIATE THREE MIDDLE-AGED MEN. This is all they know … violence, terror and oppression. These men could be their fathers.”
LEAKED VIDEO – ASSAD’S FORCES DRAG A MAN THROUGH THE STREETS TIED TO THE BACK OF A CAR. Homs: (Date Unknown) – This is what Assad’s forces are allowed to do in Assad’s Syria. Only they could drive through town with the body of a man being dragged behind it. Unfortunately, he would most probably have been alive when they started off.
As they drive through town they scream at people who attempt to get close “Back Off!” they shout. When they stop they exclaim “this is what happens to traitors!” in the unmistakable tone of Assad’s thugs.
They did this in order to terrorize the citizens into stopping their protests for freedom.”
And the raping continuous. (see more in my part 1 and 2):
Assad’s thugs are raping and impregnating women in Syria
One of the least explored aspects of the Syrian regime’s repression is the raping of women. Various human rights monitors have documented cases of sexual violence perpetrated by Bashar al-Assad’s security forces against men, many of them young boys as young as 11 years-old. According to the UN Human Rights Council’s November 2011 report on Syria, former detainees testified to being subjected to “beatings of genitals, forced oral sex, electroshocks and cigarette burns to the anus in detention facilities, including those of the Air Force Intelligence in Damascus, the Military Intelligence in Jisr Al Shughour, the Military Intelligence and the Political Security in Idlib and Al Ladhiqiyah and the intelligence detention facilities in Tartus.”
While rumours of women being raped have run rampant in Syria since the early months of the uprising, first person testimonies have been harder to come by. This is owing to both an Arab cultural stigma on the subject and to fears of regime reprisals. Many of these rape victims have already lost parents or children to the state’s barbarism. They’re told if they want to keep the one who are left, they’ll keep quiet.
I spoke yesterday to a Syrian expat living in Washington, D.C. who asked to be identified as Farha Ghazi. She left her nativeHama18 years ago and has lately been working with Syrian women’s organisations. I’d been put in touch with Farha by a Syrian doctor friend of mine, and I knew broadly what to expect from our conversation. Still, nothing in a year’s worth of reporting on the carnage and misery of this country has chilled me more than what Farha told me.
Salma was a young girl in Baba Amr whose house was raided last February by the shabbiha – pro-Assad mercenary militias – when that rebel-held neighbourhood in Homs fell after a month-long siege. “She told them, ‘Please, please – don’t you have sisters? Don’t you have mothers?’”, Farha said. “Just leave me, please not in front of my dad.’” They didn’t listen. Instead, the shabbiha strapped Salma’s father to a chair in his own house and forced him to watch as three or four men raped his daughter. “They made him keep his eyes open and watch.”
This is standard practice now in Assad’s Syria. Boys and men might be spirited away to a mukhabarat dungeon for torture, but the women are done over in their own homes, in front of their families.
Farha said that she’s begun coordinating with gynaecologists who can attend to those who have been impregnated by their rapists. These victims’ ages range between 11 and 46. “We have documented 11 cases so far of women needing abortions because they were raped. We had to move them all from either Baba Amr or Idleb to Aleppo, where it was safer to perform this procedure. They are all safe now, but when I called some of them, they were in hysterics. All have suffered severe psychological trauma because of what they’ve gone through.” Many, she said, want reconstructive surgery to repair their hymens so as to make them appear virgins again. ”We are working with a team of doctors, but it’s hard. This is not the medical priority right now.”
And impregnation isn’t the only aftereffect. Some girls have sustained severe internal damage. Farha emailed me the following medical note written by a Syrian doctor and stamped by the Ministry of Health attesting to types of injuries common to rape victims. The names of the doctor and patient and all identifying marks have been blacked out. The note reads:
”To Whom It May Concern:
I have reviewed the case of _______, the daughter of Hassan, on Wednesday, date _______. She was suffering from bruising and tears along the posterior vaginal wall, along with tears in the anal sphincter. These injuries were the result of a sexual rape. A surgical procedure was done repairing the wall of the vagina and the sphincter. She is now in the hospital recuperating.
Signed, Surgical consultant. This report was written free from duress”
So according to Ban Ki-moon the violence in Syria has reached ‘intolerable stage’.
Eeehhh…wasn’t the UN ceasefire plan and the observers supposed to put an end to that?
Syria violence has reached ‘intolerable stage’, says Ban Ki-moon UN secretary general condemns crackdown on protests and tells regime to live up to its promise of ceasefire
” The UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon said President Bashar al-Assad’s continued crackdown on protests had reached an ”intolerable stage”, and that the UN would try to speed up the deployment of up to 300 monitors to Syria. Only 15 are there now. ”The government of Syria must live up to its promises to the world,” he said.”
Some more videos of the destruction in Hama. And in one attack, more than 70 people are believed to have been killed.
That’s life during a UN ceasefire.
”THE AFTERMATH OF THE HAMA MASSACRE – BUILDING AFTER BUILDING DESTROYED AND REDUCED TO RUBBLE – 70 PEOPLE WERE KILLED. Hama (Mashaa’ Al-Tayyar):Apr 25, 2012- This is where entire families were obliterated as they huddled together waiting for Assad’s forces to fire the next shell at their homes …”
”THEIR HOMES COLLAPSED ON-TOP OF THEM AS SHELLS RAINED DOWN FROM THE SKIES. Hama (Masha’a Al Tayaar): Apr 25, 2012 – 70 people are believed to have been killed in this one single attack alone. The police, fire-fighters, ambulance or any sort of municipal rescue services did not respond to the cries of the dying and injured. The only help they got were from family, friend’s, neighbors and citizens that have hearts and used their bare hands to dig out any survivors.”
And here Assad’s forces roll into Douma guns blazing. Another glorious example of the UN ceasefire!
”ASSAD’S FORCES ROLL INTO TO DOUMA TO IMPLEMENT THE CEASEFIRE PLAN – WITH GUN’S BLAZING.Damascus(Douma):Apr 26, 2012- In the words of @HamaEcho “Won’t mention this “ceasefire” again, it’s pointless.” ….
Assad’s forces are also systematiclay destroying medical clinics, pharmacies and medicine. They are such nice thugs are they not?
Secret medical clinics aid Syrian opposition
Exclusive report on smuggling of entire field hospitals to treat injured fighters and civilians
“Al Jazeera has obtained exclusive access to the network of Syrian medical professionals who are trying to help the towns and cities under siege from the government inDamascus.
Medical treatment for people caught up in the violence is becoming increasingly hard to obtain, not just for injured fighters who cannot go to public hospitals for fear of arrest or worse, but for any civilian who the government suspects of helping the opposition.
Medics face mounting challenges as they try to treat injured fighters and civilians, while under attack.
Activists have smuggled entire field hospitals into the country and developed a secret network to bring in supplies.”
And according to Kofi Annan, the guy in charge of this “ceasefire”, what’s going on now IS MUCH BETTER THAN WAR.
Somehow, I think the civilian population in Syria begs to differ.
And he said: “Our patience has been tested severely-close to its limits”.
Well, I don’t think that comes even close to the “patience” tested by the Syrian population.
Annan to Security Council: Diplomacy may suck, but it’s a lot better than war
“Special Envoy Kofi Annan told the U.N. Security Council today (April 24) in a closed-door session that an expanding U.N. monitoring mission still stands a chance of calming the violence in Syria, despite a spike in killings on Monday, including a report of a government attack on civilians in the town of Hama after U.N. observers left the town.”
”Our patience has been tested severely-close to its limits,” he said. ”But we have also seen signs that there is the possibility for the parties to implement a cessation of violence, which can lead to a political process and peaceful way out of the crisis.”
”Under the circumstances, the peace we are trying to build could never be perfect — and we have all been shocked by events in Syria,” he said. ”But if we succeed, the prospects are far better than any promised through war.”
Annan said that he had received written assurances on Saturday (April 21) from Syrian Foreign Minister Wallid Moallem that ”the withdrawal of massed troops and heavy weapons from in and around population centers is now complete and military operations have ceased.” Annan said he was ”encouraged” by Moallem’s pledge but that ”it should be understood that the only promises that count are the promises that are kept.”
The resistance has to fight over the few weapons and ammunition there is
FEATURE-Rebel rivalry and suspicions threaten Syria revolt
”When it comes to getting weapons, every group knows they are on their own,” says the 25-year-old with a patchy beard. ”It’s a fight for resources.”
Nominally Mustafa’s rebels fight for the Free Syrian Army (FSA), but the FSA, lacking international recognition or direct state funding, is a often just a convenient label for a host of local armed groups competing fiercely for scarce financing.
So fiercely, they sometimes turn their guns on each other.
”Everyone needs weapons. There is tension. There is anger and yes, sometimes there is fighting if rebels in one town seem to have an unfair share of weapons,” said Mustafa, who comes fromSyria’s north western province of Idlib, which borders Turkeyand has been a hotbed of resistance to Assad.
Such mistrust is compounded by the competing agendas of outside parties who are further fragmenting the rebel movement.”
“A 60-year-old rebel commander called Abu Shaham, from the central city of Hama, accused the Brotherhood of hanging back from the battlefront to overpower other rebel groups later.
”The Brotherhood is pumping money into the rebel units yet their men don’t fight as much as us. They are almost always the first to retreat. Why?” he asked.
”They are not thinking about this phase in the battle. They care about what comes next. They want to save themselves for the struggle after Assad falls, to come out the strongest.”
Analyst Joseph Holliday, of the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War, said if foreign powers do not engage with the rebels in an orderly way, their rivalries could create chaos.
”If we don’t recognise the rebels, anyone can set up shop in Turkey and start funding opposing groups,” said Joseph Holliday, of the U.S-based Institute for the Study of War. ”We don’t know who is arming who … I’m afraid by the time the West decides to do something it may be too late.”
The case for military intervention in Syria
Former US ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker argues that the West should not wait for a single mass atrocity before it intervenes in Syria, as it did in Bosnia. What is the magic number of deaths that will prompt the international community to act? We’ve already passed 9,000
“What is missing, therefore, is not an understanding of the case for intervention, or even a means to intervene, but a “catalyst” that justifies and forces action. If that catalyst occurs, the US and others might act. And then America and its friends should ask themselves why they did not act sooner, and prevent the very catastrophe that spurred them into action.”
Kurt Volker, a former US ambassador to NATO, is a professor of practice at Arizona State Universityand a senior fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
While Syria burns
“Last year President Obama ordered U.S. intervention in Libya under the grand new doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect.” Moammar Gaddafi was threatening a massacre in Benghazi. To stand by and do nothing “would have been a betrayal of who we are,” explained the president.
In the year since, the government of Syria has more than threatened massacres. It has carried them out. Nothing hypothetical about the disappearances, executions, indiscriminate shelling of populated neighborhoods. More than 9,000 are dead.
Obama has said that we cannot stand idly by. And what has he done? Stand idly by.
Yes, we’ve imposed economic sanctions. But as with Iran, the economic squeeze has not altered the regime’s behavior. Monday’s announced travel and financial restrictions on those who use social media to track down dissidents is a pinprick. No Disney World trips for the chiefs of the Iranian and Syrian security agencies. And they might now have to park their money in Dubai instead of New York. That’ll stop ’em.
Obama’s other major announcement — at Washington’s Holocaust Museum, no less — was the creation of an Atrocities Prevention Board.
I kid you not. A board. Russia flies planeloads of weapons to Damascus. Iran supplies money, trainers, agents, more weapons. And what does America do? Support a feckless U.N. peace mission that does nothing to stop the killing. (Indeed, some of the civilians who met with the U.N. observers were summarily executed.) And establish an Atrocities Prevention Board.
With multiagency participation, mind you. The liberal faith in the power of bureaucracy and flowcharts, of committees and reports, is legend. But this is parody.
Now, there’s an argument to be made that we do not have a duty to protect. That foreign policy is not social work. That you risk American lives only when national security and/or strategic interests are at stake, not merely to satisfy the humanitarian impulses of some of our leaders.
But Obama does not make this argument. On the contrary. He goes to the Holocaust Museum to commit himself and his country to defend the innocent, to affirm the moral imperative of rescue. And then does nothing of any consequence.
His case for passivity is buttressed by the implication that the only alternative to inaction is military intervention — bombing, boots on the ground.
But that’s false. It’s not the only alternative. Why aren’t we organizing, training and arming the Syrian rebels in their sanctuaries in Turkey? Nothing unilateral here.Saudi Arabia is already planning to do so.Turkey has turned decisively against Bashar al-Assad. And the French are pushing for even more direct intervention.
Instead, Obama insists that we can act only with support of the “international community,” meaning the U.N. Security Council — where Russia and China have a permanent veto. By what logic does the moral legitimacy of U.S. action require the blessing of a thug like Vladimir Putin and the butchers of Tiananmen Square?
Our slavish, mindless self-subordination to “international legitimacy” does nothing but allow Russia — a pretend post-Soviet superpower — to extend a protective umbrella over whichever murderous client it chooses. Obama has all but announced that Russia (or China) has merely to veto international actions — sanctions, military assistance, direct intervention — and America will back off.
For what reason? Not even President Clinton, a confirmed internationalist, would acquiesce to such restraints. With Russia prepared to block U.N. intervention against its client, Serbia, Clinton saved Kosovo by summoning NATO to bomb the hell out of Serbia, the Russians be damned.
If Obama wants to stay out of Syria, fine. Make the case that it’s none of our business. That it’s too hard. That we have no security/national interests there.
In my view, the evidence argues against that, but at least a coherent case for hands-off could be made. That would be an honest, straightforward policy. Instead, the president, basking in the sanctity of the Holocaust Museum, proclaims his solemn allegiance to a doctrine of responsibility — even as he stands by and watches Syria burn.
If we are not prepared to intervene, even indirectly by arming and training Syrians who want to liberate themselves, be candid. And then be quiet. Don’t pretend the U.N. is doing anything. Don’t pretend the U.S. is doing anything. And don’t embarrass the nation with an Atrocities Prevention Board. The tragedies of Rwanda, Darfur and now Syria did not result from lack of information or lack of interagency coordination, but from lack of will. “
Elie Wiesel challenges the world, and Obama
“But Obama didn’t need to reach to the historical catchphrases of the Holocaust and its past to find a challenge. Preceding him on the stage at the event commemorating the Holocaust was Elie Wiesel. And though Wiesel’s soft-spokenness and European accent can make it hard to hear the force in his words, the Nobel Peace Prize winner did throw down a gauntlet to the president.
“The greatest tragedy in history could have been prevented had the civilized world spoken up, taken measures,” he said, referring to the Holocaust and how its perpetrators “always wanted to see what would be the reaction in Washington and London and Rome, and there was no reaction so they felt they could continue.”
So he asked the audience at Monday’s ceremony: “Have we learned anything from it? If so, how is it that Assad is still in power?”
He raised a similar question of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – “How is it that the No. 1 Holocaust denier Ahmadinejad is still the president?” – and then repeated, “Have we not learned?”
What does Rwanda, Somalia, Darfur, Balkans (Srebrenica) etc. all have in common, besides genocide and atrocities?
I throw in the biggest corruption and bribe scandal in modern times to, i.e. the United Nations’ Oil for Food Programme in Iraq
Have any idea?
OK, the answer is – Kofi Annan!
Yeap, the present “peace emissary” to Syria himself.
He was directly in charge of the appropriate UN agencies that were supposed to stop things like this.
In 1962, he started working as a Budget Officer for the World Health Organization, an agency of the United Nations (UN).
1987–1990 head of Human Resources,
1990–1992 head of Program Planning, Budget and Finance, and Controller
1993 – 1996 head of Peacekeeping Operations and also served as Under-Secretary-General from 1994-1995
1995-1996 He was appointed a Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the former Yugoslavia.
1997 to 2006 Secretary-General of the United Nations
He directed and was responsible for ALL peacekeeping
He really is the loyal company man.
So it was on his watch that the genocide in Rwanda took place. Remember, he was in charge of ALL peacekeeping operations.
The United Nations Assistance Mission For Rwanda (UNAMIR) lasted from October 1993 to March 1996. Its activities were meant to aid the peace process between the Hutu-dominated Rwandese government and the Tutsi-dominated rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).
The Genocide took place in 1994 a mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people. Over the course of approximately 100 days April 6 through mid-July, over 500,000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate. Estimates of the death toll have ranged between 500,000 and 1,000,000.
Roméo Dallaire served as Force Commander of UNAMIR, the peacekeeping force forRwanda between 1993 and 1994.
In his book “Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda” (2003), he gives detaild description of what happened or did not happened.
He claimed that Annan was overly passive in his response to the imminent genocide. General Dallaire asserted that Annan held back UN troops from intervening to settle the conflict, and from providing more logistical and material support. He claimed that Annan failed to provide responses to his repeated faxes asking for access to a weapons depository; such weapons could have helped Dallaire defend the endangered Tutsis.
In 2004, ten years after the genocide in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed, Annan finally said, ”I could and should have done more to sound the alarm and rally support.”
UN chief’s Rwanda genocide regret
“At a memorial conference at the UN, Mr Annan said he realised he personally could have done more to rally support for international efforts to stop it.
”The international community is guilty of sins of omission,” Mr Annan said.
The genocide – in which some 800,000 people died – occurred when Mr Annan was head of UN peacekeeping forces.
The UN Security Council failed to reinforce the small UN peacekeeping force in the country.
”The international community failed Rwanda and that must leave us always with a sense of bitter regret,” Mr Annan said.
He said the painful memory had influenced many of his later decisions as secretary general.
”I believed at that time that I was doing my best,” he said.
”But I realised after the genocide that there was more that I could and should have done to sound the alarm and rally support.”
“In April 2000 the UN Security Council admitted responsibility for failing to stop the genocide.
The Canadian Foreign Minister, Bill Graham, told the conference that 10 years after the genocide the international community had still not learned how to stop such killings from happening again.
”We lack the political will to achieve the necessary agreement on how to put in place the type of measures that will prevent a future Rwanda from happening,” he said.
The head of the small UN peacekeeping force in Rwandaat the time, Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire, told the conference that no-one was interested in saving Rwandans and the bulk of his force was ordered to leave.
He suggested that attitudes now had not changed.
”I still believe that if an organisation decided to wipe out the 320 mountain gorillas there would be still more of a reaction by the international community to curtail or to stop that than there would be still today in attempting to protect thousands of human beings being slaughtered in the same country.”
The UN has designated 7 April as international day of reflection on the genocide.
Mr Annan announced he was backing a call from the Rwandan government for the world to observe a minute of silence to remember the victims and resolve to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.
”Let us be united in a way we were not 10 years ago,” he said.”
It took him 10 YEARS to admit that he “should have done more”!
And as we see now in Syria NOTHING HAS CHANGED, AND NOTHING HAS BEEN LEARNED. It probably will take another 10 years before he admits the he, and UN, could have done more. The question is how many more civilians will have been killed before that?
Let’s continue to another of Kofi Annas “successes” when he was in charge and did absolutely nothing to prevent the massacre.
Balkans and the massacre in Srebrenica July 1995.
On 16 April 1993, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 819, which demanded that: all parties and others concerned treat Srebrenica and its surroundings as a safe area which should be free from any armed attack or any other hostile act. On 18 April 1993, the first group of UNPROFOR troops arrived in Srebrenica. On 8 May 1993 agreement was reached of demilitarization of Srebrenica. According to UN reports ”General Sefer Halilovic and General Ratko Mladic agreed on measures covering the whole of the Srebrenica enclave and the adjacent enclave of Zepa.
Under the terms of the new agreement, Bosnian forces within the enclave would hand over their weapons, ammunition and mines to UNPROFOR, after which Serbs’ ”heavy weapons and units that constituted a menace to the demilitarized zones which will have been established in Zepa and Srebrenica will be withdrawn.” Unlike the earlier agreement, the agreement of 8 May stated specifically that Srebrenica was to be considered a ”demilitarized zone,” as referred to in article 60 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I).”.
A Security Council mission led by Diego Arria arrived in Srebrenica on 25 April 1993 and, in their subsequent report to the U.N., condemned the Serbs for perpetrating ”a slow-motion process of genocide.” The mission then stated that ”Serb forces must withdraw to points from which they cannot attack, harass or terrorise the town. UNPROFOR should be in a position to determine the related parameters. The mission believes, as does UNPROFOR, that the actual 4.5 km by 0.5 km decided as a safe area should be greatly expanded.” Specific instructions from United Nations Headquarters in New York stated that UNPROFOR should not be too zealous in searching for Bosnian weapons and, later, that the Serbs should withdraw their heavy weapons before the Bosnians gave up their weapons. The Serbs never did withdraw their heavy weapons
By early 1995, fewer and fewer supply convoys were making it through to the enclave. The already meager resources of the civilian population dwindled further and even the UN forces started running dangerously low on food, medicine, ammunition and fuel, eventually being forced to start patrolling the enclave on foot. Dutchbat soldiers who went out of the area on leave were not allowed to return and their number dropped from 600 to 400 men. In March and April, the Dutch soldiers noticed a build-up of Serb forces near two of the observation posts, ”OP Romeo” and ”OP Quebec”.
By mid 1995, the humanitarian situation of the Bosnian civilians and military personnel in the enclave was catastrophic. In May, following orders, Naser Orić and his staff left the enclave by helicopter to Tuzla, leaving ranking officers in command of the 28th Division. In late June and early July, the 28th Division issued a series of reports including urgent pleas for the humanitarian corridor to the enclave to be reopened. When this failed, Bosnian civilians began dying from starvation. On Friday, 7 July the mayor of Srebrenica reported 8 residents had died of starvation.
On 4 June 1995, the French commander of the UN forces in former Yugoslavia, general Bernard Janvier, secretly met Ratko Mladic to obtain the release of hostages, many of whom were French. Mladic demanded of Janvier that there would be no more air strikes.
The Serb offensive on Srebrenica began in earnest on 6 July 1995. In the following days, the five UNPROFOR observation posts, in the southern part of the enclave, fell one by one in the face of the Serb forces advance. Some of the Dutch soldiers retreated into the enclave after their posts were attacked, but the crews of the other observation posts surrendered into Serb custody. Simultaneously, the defending Bosnian forces came under heavy fire and were pushed back towards the town. Once the southern perimeter began to collapse, about 4,000 Bosnian residents, who had been living in a Swedish housing complex for refugees nearby, fled north into Srebrenica town. Dutch soldiers reported that the advancing Serbs were ”cleansing” the houses in the southern part of the enclave.
Colonel (ret.) Thomas Karremans was the commander of Dutchbat troops in Srebrenica.
In 1994 Karremans was appointed as commander of Dutchbat III battalion that was sent to the Srebrenica enclave. On 11th, 12th and 13th July this battalion had to deal with the capture of the enclave by Serb soldiers. Karremans requested NATO air support to defend the enclave, which arrived too late and was too little to stop the Serbian advance. After Serbian forces entered Srebrenica, Karremans met with Serb General Ratko Mladić. During the meeting Karremans was defensive and submissive, excusing himself from ever requesting air strikes against Bosnian Serb forces, claiming the decision was made by higher authorities based on information he provided. This is in sharp contrast with facts – it was determined that it was Karremans who requested air strikes several times, but they were first denied, then delayed, and later granted by UN General Janvier. After this Karremans was filmed raising a glass with war crimes suspect and Serb General Ratko Mladić.
Following negotiations between UN and Bosnian Serbs, on Friday, July 21st, 1995, lieutenant-colonel Karremans and Dutch UN soldiers were allowed to leave Srebrenica. On the farewell, Colonel Karremans accepted gifts from General Mladić, smiled, shook his hand and departed. Shortly after his return to The Netherlands Karremans was promoted to full colonel.
In July 1995 more than 8,000 Bosnian muslims, mainly men and boys, in and around the town of Srebrenicain Bosnia and Herzegovina, were executed by units of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladić. The mass murder was described by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as the worst crime on European soil since the Second World War.
A paramilitary unit from Serbiaknown as the Scorpions, officially part of the Serbian Interior Ministry until 1991, also participated in the massacre.
The vast majority of those killed were adult men and teenage boys but the victims included boys aged under 15, men over the age of 65, women and reportedly even several babies. The Preliminary List of People Missing or Killed in Srebrenica compiled by the Bosnian Federal Commission of Missing Persons contains 8,373 names, some 500 of them under 18, and includes several dozen women and girls.
In 2005, in a message to the tenth anniversary commemoration of the genocide, the Secretary-General of the United Nations noted that, while blame lay first and foremost with those who planned and carried out the massacre and those who assisted and harboured them, great nations had failed to respond adequately, the UN itself had made serious errors of judgement and the tragedy of Srebrenica would haunt the UN’s history forever
‘MAY WE ALL LEARN AND ACT ON THE LESSONS OF SREBRENICA’, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN MESSAGE TO ANNIVERSARY CEREMONY
“Today, we pay tribute to the victims of a terrible crime -– the worst on European soil since the Second World War. Throughout the world, this date is marked as a grim reminder of man’s inhumanity to man.”
“But we cannot evade our own share of responsibility.
As I wrote in my report in 1999, we made serious errors of judgement, rooted in a philosophy of impartiality and non-violence which, however admirable, was unsuited to the conflict in Bosnia. That is why, as I also wrote, “the tragedy of Srebrenica will haunt our history forever”.
“May we all learn, and act on, the lessons of Srebrenica.”
Here we go again; it took him another 10 YEARS to admit that he and UN “should have done more”!
And for lessons learned, remember he said the same thing about Rwanda. Eeehh.. and just watch the glorious UN ceasefire and observation plan under Annan in Syria.
The same old same old.
These hypocrites keep repeating at regular intervals how “sorry” they are and how they could have “done more”. And then they gladly move on to the next catastrophe and do exactly the same again (i.e. nothing). Where a lot of civilians get massacred, slaughtered etc.
That is international and UN “diplomacy” in a nutshell.
And this UN “proudly” upholds its tradition of doing ABSOLUTLY NOTHING when it really maters, like Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Darfur, Bosnia (Srebrenica anyone?) etc. And now inSyria.
Refusing to arm or help the opposition will not end the conflict or limit it; it will drag on as all the above examples shows.
And by waiting the situation gets worse and much more complex, then “they” used its complexity as an excuse not to intervene while decrying the lost opportunity for intervention. And ALL this time the killing and atrocities just continues as nothing has happened.
Unforgiven, unforgotten, unresolved: Bosnia 20 years on
Visegrad, site of one of the worst atrocities of the Bosnian war, is still in denial about the past
“I have come, after all, to thelandofSerbnationalist permafrost. Visegrad is in Republika Srpska, the ethnically cleansed enclave carved out by Radovan Karadzic in the 1992-1995 war. When I ask about the picture, the mayor looks a little embarrassed, as he is, understandably, when I ask how Visegrad is confronting its past.
“There are no solutions,” he says. “Time has to pass. Where would we start if we got involved in dealing with the past? Would we not have to begin with theOttoman empire? All truths have to come to the surface and everyone who committed crimes should be prosecuted, but we have to look at everyone equally.”
He speaks, carefully, as if by rote. I recall the words of a young Bosnian Muslim lawyer I had spoken to a day before. His family were stalwarts of Visegrad’s Muslim establishment before the war. “Visegrad was worse than Srebrenica,” he had told me. “It was a small, slow genocide that went on for weeks. Teachers murdered pupils. Pupils murdered teachers. Godfathers murdered each other … It was a hunting party and we were the prey.”
And the final irony, survivors of the July 1995 massacre sued the UN for it’s responsibility in the massacre. But the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that the UN has “the most far-reaching form of immunity and cannot be prosecuted by any national court”.
In other words, regardless how UN screws up and regardless how many civilians get killed, massacred, slaughtered, genocide etc. etc., NOTHING IS EVER GOING TO HAPPEN TO THE ONES RESPONSIBLE!
U.N. can’t be tried for Srebrenica massacre -Dutch court
“The Dutch Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the United Nations cannot be prosecuted in the Netherlands for failing to prevent genocide against Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica near the end of Bosnia‘s war in 1995.
The final ruling was the last legal option in theNetherlandsfor a group of survivors of the July 1995 massacre, when as many as 8,000 boys and men were killed by Serb forces in an area that the United Nations had declared a ”safe haven”.
Lawyers representing a group of 6,000 survivors calling themselves the Mothers of Srebrenica said they would appeal against the decision at the European Court of Human Rights.
”The U.N., as the international human rights champion, should not stand above the law but should take responsibility for its role in the Srebrenica genocide in 1995,” a statement issued by the group said.
”This is a violation of fundamental human rights and in contravention of the case law of the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Court of Justice (ECJ).”
In 2001 the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) judged that the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre was an act of genocide.”
”The Supreme Court upholds the opinion of the (lower) court that the U.N. has the most far-reaching form of immunity and cannot be prosecuted by any national court,” a summary of the ruling said.”
Syria: The evil results of doing good
The Annan Plan is ‘worse than feckless’, because it buys the Assad regime time and precludes more effective options.
“Yes, all this makes Kofi Annan a logical choice as emissary. He is, after all, a professional peacemaker. He will not choose sides, and his six-point interim peace proposal for Syria is a model of even-handedness, both as between the regime and the rebels, and as between their respective allies. When circumstances will not permit distinctions between oppressor and oppressed, between aggressor and victim, or between right and wrong, Kofi is your man. The patient Ghanaian will deal impartially with anyone. He will sit, as he did over the past weekend with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, to discuss his peace proposal, as though the latter were earnestly seeking justice in the Levant.
But does anyone honestly think that the Syrian regime, committed as it is to a programme of violent intimidation and collective punishment, will provide ”full humanitarian access”, or a daily ”humanitarian pause” for those whom it suspects of aiding its adversaries? What are the chances that the tender Mr Assad will release detainees who may promptly rejoin the struggle against him, or that he will permit foreign journalists to freely document his atrocities? Who would want to bet his life, or the lives of those dear to him, that Bashar and his generals will honour a ceasefire, or engage in good faith in a ”political dialogue” with those who are challenging their power?
Pursuing such ”solutions” is worse than feckless, for it forestalls other, potentially effective actions. By permitting the Syrian regime added time, it is morally equivalent to aiding and abetting Bashar al-Assad.
Diplomats at the UN embraced the Annan proposals – not because they had any chance of implementation, but because they demonstrated ”progress”. Diplomats love a process, and that’s what the Annan Plan provides them. The hope is that when – not if – the proposals are effectively stymied by Syria, the unanimously approved UN ”statement” by which the Annan proposals were launched might then be passed as a ”resolution”. More ”progress”. But a feckless statement will not be any more effective for having become a resolution. This is the diplomatic equivalent of Zeno’s Paradox, for each progressively smaller step forward slowly converges on, but can never pass the hard barrier of Sino-Russian obduracy.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Army that devastated Baba Amr continues its brutal shelling of al-Khalidiya and its offensive in Hama Province. And the rebels of the Free Syrian Army, who are rapidly running out of arms and ammunition, are being progressively forced to flee toTurkey andLebanon.”
“But such good as can be done in these circumstances will only be done by those who are willing to climb metaphorically into the ring, and to dirty themselves in the process of providing such assistance as is possible to the oppressed of Syria as they struggle to liberate themselves from an unspeakable regime. It will mean taking sides.”
“For what the situation needs is not high-minded sentiments, but effective, lethal aid to Syrians willing to fight for basic freedoms against a regime that has shed any pretense of legitimacy or respectability.
Edmund Burke famously said that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. The good and high-minded people, the Kofi Annans if you will, who vote on statements and pass resolutions, who promote quixotic peace proposals, who hold earnest parleys with implacable dictators, may appear to have clean hands in the end. Those who engage, who try to do good in an evil world, on the other hand, will be compromised. But when ultimately the smoke has cleared, both literally and metaphorically, and the final accounting is made, and judgments are passed on all those implicated, either for their action or for their inaction, it will be upon the shoulders of the ”good” that the weight of moral opprobrium should fall.”
Douma – ”We do not want to live easily in humiliation rather we die with pride”
Another example under Annans watch, the United Nations’ Oil for Food Programme in Iraq. Below is just a small sample of all the corruption which was going on.
The Oil-for-Food Programme (OFF), established by the United Nations in 1995 (under UN Security Council Resolution 986) was established with the stated intent to allow Iraq to sell oil on the world market in exchange for food, medicine, and other humanitarian needs for ordinary Iraqi citizens without allowing Iraq to boost its military capabilities.
The programme was introduced by United States President Bill Clinton’s administration in 1995, as a response to arguments that ordinary Iraqi citizens were inordinately affected by the international economic sanctions aimed at the demilitarisation of Saddam Hussein’sIraq, imposed in the wake of the first Gulf War. The sanctions were discontinued on November 21, 2003after theU.S.invasion ofIraq, and the humanitarian functions turned over to the Coalition Provisional Authority
In addition to criticism of the basic approach, the programme suffered from widespread corruption and abuse.
Benon Sevan of Cyprus, was head of the programme. While Benon Sevan was in charge of the programme, he stonewalled efforts to review and investigate the programme. He ordered his staff that complaints about illegal payoffs should be formally filed with the whistleblower’s country, making them public and allowing Iraq to bar any whistleblowers. In 2000, Dileep Nair, the UN corruption watchdog, wanted to determine the programme’s level of vulnerability. Sevan, along with UN Deputy Secretary-General, Louise Frechette, rejected any such investigation, claiming that it would be too expensive to be worthwhile. Sevan ordered the shredding of years’ worth of documents concerning the programme.
In response to these criticisms, and to evidence acquired after the United Statesinvasion of Iraq, UN Secretary-General accusations were made that skimmed profits were being used to buy influence at the UN and with Kofi Annan himself.
According to an interim report released on February 3, 2005by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker’s commission, much of the food aid supplied under the programme ”was unfit for human consumption”. The report concluded that Sevan had accepted nearly $150,000 in bribes over the course of the programme, and in 2005 he was suspended from his position at the United Nations as a result of the investigation of fraud in the programme.
Peter van Walsum, the now-retired Ambassador of the Netherlandsto the United Nations and chairman of the Iraq Sanctions Committee from 1999 to 2000, speculated in a recent book that Iraq deliberately divided the Security Council by awarding contracts to France, Russia, and China but not to the United Kingdom and the United States. He also stated he encountered a number of cases in which he felt the lack of Iraqi cooperation was designed to exacerbate the suffering of its own people. He also claimed that it was his opinion that the sanctions were not an effective deterrent.
Until 2001, the money for the Oil-for-Food Programme transited through the BNP Paribas bank, whose main private share-holder is Iraqi-born Nadhmi Auchi, a man estimated to be worth about $1 billion according to Forbes, and ranks 13th in Britain according to The Guardian. Auchi received a 15-month suspended sentence for his involvement in the Elf scandal, which has been qualified by the British newspaper as ”the biggest fraud inquiry in Europe since the Second World War. Elf became a private bank for its executives who spent £200 million on political favours, mistresses, jewellery, fine art, villas and apartments”. Elf, an oil company, merged with TotalFina to become Total S.A. in 2003.
One of the earliest allegations of wrongdoing in the programme surfaced on 25 January 2004, when al Mada, a daily newspaper in Iraq, published a list of individuals and organizations alleged to have received oil sales contracts via the UN’s Oil-for-Food Programme. The list came from over 15,000 documents which were reportedly found in the state-owned Iraqi oil corporation, which had close links to the Iraqi Oil Ministry.
Named in the list of beneficiaries were British MP George Galloway and his charity, the Mariam Fund; former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua; and Shaker al-Kaffaji, an Iraqi-American businessman, India’s foreign minister, Natwar Singh, was removed from office because of his role in the scandal. Many prominent Russian firms and individuals were also included on the al Mada list. Even the Russian Orthodox Church was supposedly involved in illegal oil trading. The former assistant to the Vatican secretary of state, Reverend Jean-Marie Benjamin, is said to have received rights to sell 4.5 million barrels.
The scheme is alleged to have worked in this way: individuals and organizations sympathetic to the Iraqi regime, or those just easily bribed, were offered oil contracts through the Oil-for-Food Programme. These contracts for Iraqi oil could then be sold on the open world market and the seller was allowed to keep a transaction fee, said to be between $0.15 and $0.50/barrel oil sold. The seller was then to refund the Iraqi government a certain percentage of the commission.
The final official version of the Iraq Survey Group report (Duelfer Report) cites only France, Russia and China as violators who paid kickbacks. According to the report, the top three recipients of oil included Russia (30%), France (15%), and China (10%). The US received 2–3%.
According to high-ranking Russian SVR defector Tretyakov, the Oil-for-Food program was sabotaged by an undercover Russian intelligence officer Alexander Kramar who worked in the UN. Kramar set up the artificially low oil prices in 1998 to allow Saddam to use the oil vouchers as lucrative bribes. The difference between the market price and the artificial price (defined by Kramar) was pocketed by people who received the vouchers from Saddam. Among the bribed were top officials from Russia, France, and China. The biggest part of vouchers (to buy 1,366 billion barrels of oil) went to forty-six individuals or organizations in Russia, including Russian Orthodox Church. They pocketed $476 million. Among Russians who received the money were Alexander Voloshin and Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Sergei Isakov, a buddy of Voloshin, carried bags with money from Moscow to Baghdad to return some of the ”earned” money as kickbacks to Saddam.
This is “sanctions” a la UN.
GAO investigation after the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and subsequent Coalition victory over the Iraqi army, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was given the task of finalizing all Oil-for-Food related supply contracts made with the now-defunct regime as well as tracking down the personal fortunes of former regime members. During the execution of this task, the GAO found weaknesses in the programme that allowed kickbacks and other sources of wealth for Saddam Hussein.
The GAO estimates that the Saddam Hussein regime generated $10.1 billion in illegal revenues. This figure includes $5.7 billion from oil smuggling and $4.4 billion in illicit surcharges on oil sales and after-sales charges on suppliers. The scale of the fraud was far more extensive than the GAO had previously estimated. A U.S. Department of Defense study, cited by the GAO, evaluated 759 contracts administered through the Oil-for-Food Programme and found that nearly half had been overpriced, by an average of 21 percent.Unlike the 661 committee, members of the Security Council had the authority to launch investigations into contracts and to stop any contract they did not like. The British and the Americans had turned down hundreds of Oil-for-Food contract requests, but these were blocked primarily on the grounds that the items being imported were dual-use technologies.
Joseph A. Christoff, director of international affairs and trade at the General Accounting Office, told a House hearing that UN auditors had refused to release the internal audits of the Oil-for-Food Programme. Benon Sevan, with support from Kofi Annan, had written letters to all former Oil-for-Food contractors asking them to consult Sevan before releasing any documents to GAO or US congressional inquiry panels.Throughout its history, the programme had received both complaints from critics saying that it needed to be more open and complaints from companies about proprietary information being disclosed.
The United Nations has denied all requests by the GAO for access to confidential internal audits of the Oil-for-Food Programme.
GAO report here:
The Paul Volcker report here:
And then there where all these allegations against his son Kojo Annan who worked for Cotecna:
The younger Annan stopped working for Cotecna in late 1998, but it now turns out that he continued to receive money from Cotecna not only through 1999, as recently reported, but right up until February of this year. The timing coincides with the entire duration of Cotecna’s work for the U.N. oil-for-food program. It now appears the payments to the younger Annan ended three months after the U.N., in November, 2003, closed out its role in oil-for-food and handed over the remains of the program to the Coalition Provisional Authority inBaghdad.
Cotecna Inspection Services SA, which from 1998-2003 held a lucrative contract with the U.N. to monitor goods arriving in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq under the oil-for-food program
The pattern in this scandal has been that Secretary-General Annan, until confronted by the press, has either failed to spot or failed to disclose timely information about Cotecna’s paychecks for his son
“So far, the secretary-general has refused requests from Congress for inter views with U.N. staff, or access to the U.N.’s 55 internal audits of the oil-for food program. One of those internal audits, which leaked this past May, noted serious irregularities with the U.N.’s handling of the Cotecna contract, including an ”inappropriate” upward revision of Cotecna’s lowball $4.87 million bid, just four days after Cotecna and the U.N. signed the deal.
At every turn, the saga of the secretary-general’s family ties to Cotecna raises questions about Kofi Annan’s handling of potential conflicts of interest. Even if Mr. Annan cannot be held responsible for the decisions of his son, his job does entail responsibility for the actions of the U.N. Secretariat. As the oil-for-food scandal has unfolded, it has become clear that U.N. secrecy and lack of accountability evolved, in effect, into complicity with Saddam’s scams and influence-buying. By now, between congressional and other investigations, there are allegations that Saddam, on Mr. Annan’s watch, under U.N. sanctions and oil-for-food supervision, scammed and smuggled some $17.3 billion in oil money meant for relief, using some of that money to fund terrorism, import weapons, and buy influence with Security Council members France, Russia, and China.
On top of that, only now is it learned that for fully more than eight years, from 1995-2004, the secretary-general’s son was in one way or another on the payroll of Cotecna, which for almost five of those years held a crucial oil-for-food inspection contract with the U.N. Secretariat. All this, said the investigator for Mr. Hyde’s congressional committee, is good reason why ”the U.N. Secretariat should move swiftly to lift the gag order on U.N. employees and contractors and publicly release its oil-for-food program files.”
Are you not impressed with these guys?
Then we have various organization of the UN like the Human Rights Council witch replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights because it was so one-sided and more like a forum for dictators.
Well, it only got worse and it’s funded by our tax money.
These people are supposed to protect the civilian population all over the world, including Syria. Instead, the butchers sit at the table. Totally failing its founding mission to defend the world’s victims of human rights violations.
According to it’s statues:
“The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year. It meets at the UN Office atGeneva. “
Here in glaring detail who corrupt and one-sided, selective and politicized this UN Human Rights Council is by Unwatch Director Hillel Neuer in a speech on March 19, 2012 in the Human Rights Council:
With Syria and Mideast Aflame, UN Maintains Permanent Focus onIsrael
”delivered by Executive Director Hillel Neuer on March 19, 2012, under Agenda Item 7, “Human rights situation inPalestineand other occupied Arab territories.”
“Thank you, Mr. President.
Starting three years ago in Tehran, then spreading the past year from Tunis to Tahrir Square, and continuing as we speak in Hama, Homs and Deraa, millions of young men and women have braved bullets and beatings to peacefully stand up for their rights; to cry out—after decades of corruption, cruelty and oppression—for human dignity and freedom.
As they break the chains of their bondage, many lift their heads up and ask: Where was the world? In all the years that we were imprisoned by brutal bullies that trampled our basic human rights, where was the United Nations?
To these courageous and idealistic youth, we must tell the truth. We must say to them in all candor: Sadly, world policy was to look away from your suffering.
We must tell them: Despite its declared mission to protect human rights, when faced with gross human rights abuses by Col. Qaddafi’s Libya, Assad’s Syria, Mubarak’s Egypt and others, UN policy—this council’s policy—was to look away.
Indeed, until the Arab Spring, abuses by these governments were met by not a single council resolution, inquiry, or urgent session.
We must also tell them: It was worse than that. The policy, embraced in session after session of this council, was to allow these governments to act and be treated as champions of human rights. In 2003, Col. Qaddafi’s Libya was elected Chair. In 2010, it was reelected to this council.
The agenda item under which we meet today—the only one that targets a single country, Israel—is the living symbol of this illogical and immoral policy.
For decades, while thousands were tortured in Libya, Syria and Egypt, the only country to be the object of a permanent agenda item was Israel. Under this item, the countries that introduced the resolutions, and made the accusations, were themselves the violators.
And yet despite everything that happened this past year, despite the sudden realization that hundreds of millions living across the Middle East were being victimized by their governments, this Council has just renewed its permanent agenda item on Israel.
This Council decided that no agenda item was needed on Syria, Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia or any of the other countries in the Middle East—or around the world. Only on Israel.
And so today we ask: What if?
What if the world, what if the United Nations, what if this Council had turned a spotlight on the abuses of the Middle East’s brutal dictators, and held them to account?
What if, over the past decades, these tyrants’ systems of repression had been exposed, if they had been stripped of international legitimacy, if world pressure were brought to bear? Would they still be in power?
Would President Assad still be in power? Would he still be murdering his own citizens today?
Thank you, Mr. President.”
And another one:
Why Does the U.N. Human Rights Council Turn A Blind Eye to Terrorism?
“UN Watch testimony before the UN Human Rights Council, 19th Session,March 5, 2012,Geneva, delivered by executive director Hillel Neuer.
Thank you, Mr. President.
UN Watch welcomes the report on the issue of human rights of victims of terrorism, A/HRC/19/38, which is before us today. We support the exchange of information on efforts made at the international level to protect the rights of victims of terrorism and their families.
Terrorism does not grow in a vacuum. It breeds on a ground of hatred. It thrives in an atmosphere that teaches extremism, and that legitimizes violence against civilians.
This Council is the world’s highest human rights body. As such, it has the unique ability—through its sessions, resolutions and experts—to send the opposite message. It can educate the hearts and minds of millions with the message that the deliberate killing of civilians is wrong—that terrorism is illegal, immoral and a violation of the right to life. It can show sympathy and support for the victims.
And so we ask: how has the Council responded to acts of terrorism? What messages has it sent? Is its current approach helping victims?
Let us consider the record.
Over the past decade, terrorist attacks were perpetrated in New York; in London; in Madrid; in Mumbai; in Iraq; and in Jerusalem. These attacks, and many more, were carried out in the name of an extremist religious ideology. Thousands of innocents were killed.
How many urgent sessions did this Council convene to condemn these atrocities?
How many inquiries were created?
How many resolutions were adopted in response to these attacks?
Instead, when justice was served on Osama Bin Laden, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay questioned this act.
Instead, after staying silent when Hamas and Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets against civilians, this Council convened sessions, inquiries and reports condemning the victim for defending itself.
Instead, this Council appointed an expert, Richard Falk, whom the Palestinian Authority itself has accused of being “a partisan of Hamas.”
To protect the human rights of victims of terrorism, it is time to adopt a new approach.
Thank you, Mr. President.”
Another glorious example of this UN madness:
U.N.-ADOPTED REPORT ON QADDAFI RIGHTS RECORD CALLED ”ABHORRENT” BY AMNESTY USA CHIEF
“March 14, 2012 – A U.N. report ridiculed worldwide for lavishing praise on the Qaddafi regime’s human rights record was unanimously adopted today by the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council, with president Laura Dupuy Lasserre overruling the objection made in the plenary by UN Watch.
After it was first exposed by UN Watch last year, the report card giving high marks to Qaddafi was mocked by the New York Times, The Economist and other major media worldwide, causing a red-faced UN to postpone the report’s adoption repeatedly — until today.
Said the Times:
”Until Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s violent suppression of unrest in recent weeks, the United Nations Human Rights Council was kind in its judgment of Libya. In January, it produced a draft report on the country that reads like an international roll call of fulsome praise, when not delicately suggesting improvements. Evidently, within the 47-nation council, some pots are loath to call kettles black, at least until events force their hand. Last week Libya was suspended from the body, and the report was shelved.”
Even ardent defenders of the council are slamming the report. Echoing UN Watch’s recent protest, Suzanne Nosssel, the head of Amnesty USA and former top human rights official in the Obama Administration, described the Libya report as ”abhorrent,” and called for a complete ”redo.”
Testimony delivered before UN Human Rights Council by UN Watch director Hillel Neuer,March 14, 2012.
Thank you, Madam President.
In the 16th session last year we outlined our grave concerns with this report, which records this council’s 2010 review of Libya’s human rights record under the rule of Col. Moammar Qaddafi.
We recall that the report before us includes the following:
•“Pakistan praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s commitment to human rights.”
•“Algeria noted the efforts of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to promote human rights.”
•“The Islamic Republic of Iran noted that the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya had implemented a number of international human rights instruments and had cooperated with relevant treaty bodies.”
•“Qatar praised the legal framework for the protection of human rights and freedoms.”
•“Sudan noted the country’s positive experience in achieving a high school enrolment rate and improvements in the education of women.”
•“The Syrian Arab Republic praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its serious commitment to and interaction with the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms. It commended the country for its democratic regime.”
•“North Korea praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its achievements in the protection of human rights.”
•“Palestine commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for the consultations held with civil society in the preparation of the national report, which demonstrated its commitment to the improved enjoyment of human rights.Palestinepraised the country for the Great Green Document on Human Rights.”
•“Brazil noted the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s economic and social progress.”
As delegates here know, for years UN Watch brought victims of Libyan torture to testify before this council, including Bulgarian nurse Kristyana Valchyeva, Ashraf al-Hajouj and the brother of Fathi Eljahmi. Libyan delegates rudely interrupted them, and called them liars.
In May 2010, we pleaded for Libya not to be elected to this council. Tragically, our voice was ignored; it was elected in great numbers. Not a single country spoke in opposition.
The 2010 review that is before us today does not live up to basic standards. It should be completely redone.
For the victims, is that too much to ask?
Thank you, Madam President.”
And more praise of dictators:
Qaddafi Regime’s Human Rights Record Praised in Controversial Report
“A controversial report dealing with the extent of Libya’s pre-revolutionary compliance with human rights norms is currently being debated by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Despite unequivocally praising the record of the notoriously repressive Qaddafi regime, which was found by a separate commission of inquiry to be responsible for gross violations of human rights, it is expected the report will be adopted next week by the 47-nation council.
The report forms part of the Universal Periodic Review mechanism – a state-level peer evaluation process – and was originally scheduled for consideration at a session held last March, following a review undertaken in November 2010. At the time, Libya’s human rights record was lauded by Algeria, Sudan, Qatar, Iran, North Korea and Syria, amongst others. The summary of the report “noted with appreciation the country’s commitment to upholding human rights on the ground.”
Does Obama have Israel’s back or just the UN’s?
“The Bush administration refused to lend the UN “Human Rights” Council the credibility offered by U.S. membership and withheld taxpayer dollars accordingly.
In 2009 President Obama, signed on, paid the dues, and is currently seeking a second three-year term for the United States on the Council.
The only trouble is, in just six short years the body created in 2006 as a reform of the discredited UN Human Rights Commission, has gone from very bad to even worse.
As of this past Friday, 42% of all the resolutions and decisions critical of the human rights records of specific states ever adopted by the Council have been directed at Israel. The scorecard was 44 resolutions against Israel and 61 resolutions directed at all of the other 192 UN members combined. And Council resolutions never even mention “Hamas.”
The Council has a permanent agenda governing every regular session composed of ten items, one reserved for criticizingIsraeland one for “human rights situations that require the Council’s attention” anywhere else.
192 of 193 UN members meet in five regional groups before the Council’s public sessions to strategize and share information – Israel is the only UN state excluded.
The Council has commissioned thirty reports condemning Israel alone. That’s compared to five specific reports on Syria’s executioners, three on Iran’s genocidal regime, and none on Council members like Saudi Arabia – which tyrannizes its entire female population, or China – which denies more than a billion people elementary freedoms.
The reports damning Israel all follow the same pattern. Israel’s actions to defend itself – combating rocket attacks from Gaza, preventing a Gaza port for Iranian arms, establishing checkpoints to deny terrorists a way in to Israel, targeting the rocket launchers and terrorist masterminds – all become violations of Palestinian rights. Like the infamous Goldstone report,Israelis the villain and Palestinians are the victims from the outset.
The reports aren’t made for dusty library shelves. They are terrorist manifestos and manuals in what can best be described as Anti-Semitism 101. “
“UN demonization is not idle bureaucratese. Last March Palestinian terrorists stabbed and killed members of the Fogel family, three children and their parents, including a 3-month old baby “settler.” But a year later, the only reference to “violence” in this perverse UN “human rights” resolution was trumped-up “violence by Israeli settlers.”
So where was the Obama administration? Its UN Geneva Ambassador Eileen Donahoe ducked out, and a political counselor and a first secretary were sent in to cast and explain America’s vote against the slew of new anti-Israel resolutions“
Team Obama decided to use this moment to criticize Israel– “we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity” – and to reinforce the Council’s bona fides by depicting Americans as a member of a like-minded club. “As members of the Human Rights Council, we all share a responsibility to promote and protect human rights.”
Everyone listening understood the code language. President Obama cares more about propping up the credibility of the Council than he does about protecting Israel from UN-driven harm.
In case anyone missed it, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland was asked at a Friday briefing: “the council keeps doing these things that you say are unwise and biased and one-sided. Why are you a member?” Her response: “the Human Rights Council…generally provides a good moral bellwether.”
Anne Bayefsky is director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust
This is a good one, a representative of the Assad regime, denounces Israel for, alleged, violations of human rights on the Golan Heights. This is the same regime who had slaughtered around 9000 people at the times, some of them sought refuge on the Israeli side of Golan.
UN Human Rights Council Exposed
“On Friday, the HRC will conclude a month long deliberation by submitting four more resolutions condemningIsrael.
The HRC heard testimony from a representative of the Assad regime, in formulating one of the resolutions, which denounces Israel for, alleged, violations of human rights on the Golan Heights. At the same time, the Assad regime has already murdered 8,000 Syrian dissidents and rebels, causing tens of thousands of refugees, some seeking asylum in Israel’s Golan Heights.
80% of all 2010 UN resolutions criticizing specific countries for human rights violations were directed at Israel. Only six other UN members faced human rights criticism at all, one of which was the United States. The HRC subjected the USA to harsh criticism—by Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Russia—for, supposed, human rights violations. The HRC criticized the elimination of Bin-Laden and Israel’s defense against PLO, Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists.”
The true face of ‘human rights’ at the UN
“GENEVA— I have spent the past few days inGenevawith some of the most remarkably brave people one is ever likely to meet. All have suffered horrendously for calling for freedoms in their countries — the kind of freedoms that people elsewhere take for granted.
But none of them were invited to Geneva by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the UN’s most prominent body that is supposed to deal with human rights, which is meeting here in annual session.
This is the organization behind the infamous and now discredited “Goldstone report” on Gaza. This is the organization that in 2009 praised Sri Lanka’s human rights record shortly after that country’s military had killed 40,000 Tamil civilians.
On Monday, I sat in on this year’s UNHRC debate, and listened to the Syrian ambassador — with a straight face and with no gasps of disapproval from other delegates — tell the chamber that it was really Israelis who were behind the ongoing violence in Syria. And I heard delegates from Cuba, Syria, Belarus, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and elsewhere praise the Iranian government’s human rights record. (In fact, in addition to a litany of other abuses, Iran carried out the highest number of executions of any country in the world last year, for such “crimes” as being homosexual, or being a member of the Baha’i faith — though it is true that some other countries’ delegates did condemn Syria and Iran for other matters.) This week, the HRC also adopted a report heaping praise on the Gaddafi regime’s human rights record.
The human rights ambassadors engaged in this activity while sitting under the newly painted ceiling art of the council chamber — a remarkably unimpressive piece that the UN says cost $23-million — money that the UN might have used to, say, feed starving children in Africa.
In the entrance to the chamber, two pieces of art, from the time before its renovation, remain. On one, the plaque reads “A statue of Maat, ancient goddess of truth and justice”; it was donated by Egypt’s Mubarak regime. On the other, it says “A statue of Nemesis, Goddess of justice, donated by the Syrian government.”
Just down the road from the UN, another human-rights summit took place the following day — one where actual human rights heroes were present. That summit was organized by UN Watch, and a coalition of 20 other human-rights groups, fromTibet toUganda.
Among the speakers were Chinese dissidents Ren Wanding, who during more than 10 years in prison produced a two-volume attack on the Chinese government painstakingly written on toilet paper; and Yang Jianli, who was released from jail in 2007, and who in 2010 was asked by the jailed Liu Xiaobo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on his behalf.
Also speaking were Joo-il Kim and Song Ju Kim, who endured a living hell in North Korea before risking their lives to escape. And Nestor Rodriguez Lobaina, who survived 20 years in prisons in Castro’s Cuba, where he was severely tortured and had his bones broken on many occasions. He was finally released last year and immediately expelled from Cuba. He has now taken refuge in Spain.
Then there was Zimbabwean activist Jestina Mukoko, who was imprisoned and tortured for calling for democracy in her country. And Burmese activist Zoya Phan, a member of the Karen minority, which has undergone virtual genocide in recent decades. In addition, there were other brave democracy campaigners fromVietnam, Tibet, Pakistan and elsewhere.
I chaired the final session, which was on the Middle East. Impassioned speeches were given by Maikel Nabil, a young Egyptian veterinary student released seven weeks ago after enduring 302 days in a Cairo prison. For much of this time, he was held in solidarity confinement in a one-metre square space. In other periods, he was packed into a cell with 50 common criminals who were bribed by the guards to beat him. Maikel’s crime? After President Mubarak’s ousting last year, he dared to ask the Egyptian military to cede power too, and wrote blog posts calling for Egyptian society to treat women, gays and Jews with respect. In jail, Maikel went on a hunger strike for 80 days and almost died. But none of this broke him, and on his release on January 24 he waved a “V for victory” sign to waiting supporters.
Also on the panel was Ebrahim Mehtari who, for daring to oppose Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s 2009 presidential bid in his nativeIran, was thrown into prison, raped, tortured and left for dead on the side of a road. Ebrahim’s life is still at risk, since he is one of the few who speak out about the widespread use of sexual torture in Iranian prisons.
Finally, there was 20-year-old Hadeel Kouki, who had been studying English literature in the Syrian city of Aleppo. Caught trying to bring medical supplies to children injured in one of her government’s barbaric and indiscriminate bombardments of civilians last year, she was imprisoned for eight weeks. During that time, she was subjected to electric shocks and repeatedly raped by prison guards. She asked me to tell the world the name of the guard she says was her chief rapist: Abdul Hakeem Abdullatif.
Upon her release, Hadeel managed to escape across the border to Turkey. She has now been offered political asylum by a Western country. I won’t name that country since Syrian thugs — who see her as a particular threat because she is a Christian standing up against the regime when Syria’s Christian leadership are still backing Assad — sent her messages only last week, warning that “we will catch up with you wherever you are and throw acid all over your beautiful face”.
American and Canadian embassy staff came to UN Watch’s alternative Geneva human rights summit. But where were the other ambassadors? Does the UN care about human rights? Or does it prefer to be in league with the criminals of the world?”
And some more of this one-sided madness, this time from UNESCO:
UNESCO condemns Syria, keeps it in rights committee
“U.N. cultural agency UNESCO condemned Syriaon Thursday for its crackdown on a year-long uprising but did not expel Damascus from its human rights committee as some Western and Arab countries had demanded, diplomatic sources said.
The executive board of the U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) elected Syria to two panels in November, including one that assesses human rights violations.
Angered by Syria’s inclusion on the committee, a group of Western and Arab nations had pressed for Syria‘s expulsion following the violence in the country.
But a resolution, seen by Reuters and submitted by Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Britain, Denmark, and other countries, stopped short of expelling Damascus from the key committee.
Washington and campaigners criticised the ommission.
”The United Statesis profoundly disappointed that this resolution does not call for the outright removal ofSyriafrom the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations – something for which we have repeatedly called for,” said Ambassador David Killion, U.S. Permanent Representative to UNESCO.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, which has been campaigning to getSyriaexpelled from UNESCO, called the decision scandalous.
”For UNESCO to keep Assad on a human rights committee while his regime mercilessly murders its own people is simply immoral, indefensible and an insult to Syria’s victims,” he said.
The resolution condemned Damascus for ”the continued widespread and systematic violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities.”
“Ambassadors, including those of the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Qatarand Kuwait, had asked in December for Syria’s situation to be discussed at the 58-member UNESCO executive board. Russia last week attempted to block the move and appears to have succeeded in convincing members to water down the resolution.”
I think I stop here. You got the picture.
And the prospect for this UN cease fire with these people in charge.