Israel to return to UNHRC after 18-month walk-out

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GENEVA, Oct. 27 – Israel decided today that it will return to the UN Human Rights Council, two days before it is scheduled to undergo a quadrennial review of its human rights record on Tuesday.

Now is the time for the Council to show good faith on its part by heeding the calls of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and his predecessor Kofi Annan, to both remove the selective agenda item on Israel — the only provision of its kind focusing on a specific country — and to end the exclusion of Israel from any of the Council’s five regional groups.

(To take action and urge the EU to support equality for Israel, click here.)

The Israel-only agenda was criticized by Mr. Ban after its adoption in June 2007 at the initiative of the Arab states. Mr. Ban “voiced disappointment at the Council decision to single out Israel as the only specific regional item on its agenda, given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world.” Nevertheless, it still remains in place.

The council’s permanent investigator on Israeli violations is mandated by the council to examine only Israel and not Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, or any other Arab state or group.

It is the only country mandate that examines the actions of only one side and that in advance presumes them to be violations.

The one who holds the post, Richard Falk, has endorsed Hamas, praised 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and was condemned this year by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, the U.S., the UK, and Canada, for implying that the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks were the fault of the U.S. and Israel. Falk will present a report to the UNGA on Tuesday calling for a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign to pressure Israel.

Leading Figures Oppose UNHRC’s Anti-Israel Bias

Regional Group Exclusion

Kofi  Annan•   “Israel [is] the only Member State that is not a member of one of the regional groups…This anomaly should be corrected. We must uphold the principle of equality among all United Nations Member States.” —Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, 25 March 1998.

•   “The exclusion of Israel from the system of regional groupings [and] the intense focus given to some of Israel’s actions, while other situations sometimes fail to elicit the similar outrage […] have given a regrettable impression of bias and one-sidedness.” —Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, 12 December 1999

•   “We must uphold the principle of equality among Member States. I shall keep encouraging all concerned to find a solution.” —Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in regard to Israel’s exclusion from a regional group.

•   Late UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio de Mello advocated the inclusion of Israel in the Western group and lobbied ambassadors in Geneva.

•    “[We] need to correct a long-standing anomaly that kept Israel from participating fully and equally in the work of the Organization” by including Israel as member of the Western European and Others Group in Geneva. —Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, 15 March 2005.

•   “Israel’s exclusion from the regional group system places the UN in breach of its fundamental obligations regarding sovereign equality and is thus illegal… The need now to redress it is urgent.” —Sir Robert Jennings, QC, former President of the International Court of Justice.

Biased Agenda Item and Resolutions

Ban  Ki-Moon

•   “[I am disappointed by] the Council decision to single out Israel as the only specific regional item on its agenda, given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world.” —UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 20 June 2007.

 •  “I know that Israelis see hypocrisy and double standards in the intense scrutiny given to some of its actions, while other situations fail to elicit the world’s outrage and condemnations.” —Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, 25 March 1998.

•   Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his message to the Human Rights Council on 29 November 2006, expressed the hope that the Council would deal with the Middle East issue “in an impartial way” and “not allow it to monopolize attention at the expense of others where there are equally grave or even graver violations.”

•   “I believe the actions of some UN bodies may themselves be counterproductive. The Human Rights Council, for example, has already held three special sessions focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict. I hope the Council will take care to handle the issue in an impartial way, and not allow it to monopolize attention at the expense of other situations where there are no less grave violations, or even worse.” —Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, addressing the Security Council, 12 December 2006, 

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