Saturday, March 5, 2011

UNW's Hillel Neuer Asks U.N. Rights Chief: "Why Were You Silent on Qadda...

Reversal: UN Ousts Qaddafi from Human Rights Council UN Watch

Nine months after shamefully electing the Qaddafi regime to its Human Rights Council, the UN today reversed itself and suspended Libya's membership. Click here for details.

From the moment the Libyan regime declared its candidacy last year, UN Watch initiated the opposition to Qaddafi sitting as a world judge of human rights. Click here for chronology of UN Watch's tireless campaign.

In September, when the Libyan regime took its seat, UN Watch launched a campaign demanding Libya’s suspension from the Geneva-based Council, becoming the first voice to do so. We were supported by 27 human rights groups, a number that surpassed 80 in our renewed NGO appeal of nine days ago.

Silence of the ghouls:

UN Watch Asks Rights Chief: "Why Were You Silent on Qaddafi's Crimes?

Around the globe, the Qaddafis were kings. No longer. The head of the London School of Economics has just resigned over his ties to the Qaddafi regime. Rock stars Beyonce, Nelly Furtado and Mariah Carey are expressing remorse for paid peformances at Qaddafi family parties. Former Egyptian minister of culture Gaber Asfour renounced his 2010 “Qaddafi International Award for Literature.”

Yet at the U.N., no one is willing to take the slightest responsibility for the world body's tight embrace of the Qaddafi regime. In the plenary of the UN Human Rights Council yesterday, UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer urged U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay to begin the soul-searching. She refused to respond. Click here for video. The text follows below.

Madame High Commissioner,

We thank you for your report, and applaud its emphasis on the core principle of accountability. We commend your recent leadership on human rights in Libya. As you stated, “the people of Libya had long been victims of the serious excesses of the Libyan leadership.”

In this regard, given that accountability begins at home, we wish to ask whether your office has begun to reflect upon how, in recent years, the United Nations and its human rights system could have shown greater solidarity with Libya’s victims. We offer five specific questions:

1. Given that your responsibility is to mainstream human rights throughout the U.N. system, we ask: When the Qaddafi regime was chosen to serve on the Security Council for 2008 and 2009; when its representative was chosen as President of the General Assembly in 2009; when Col. Qaddafi’s daughter Ayesha was designated in 2009 a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador — why did you not speak out?

2. According to a study of all your published statements from September 2008 through June 2010, you never once mentioned human rights in Libya. Why?

3. Your report refers to your office’s strong support for the Durban process, for which you served as Secretary-General of its 2009 World Conference on Racism. When a representative of the Libyan regime was chosen to chair that conference’s two-year planning committee, and to chair the main committee, why did you not speak out?

4. When the Qaddafi regime was elected as a member of this council last year, why did you not speak out?

5. Your report refers to the council’s Advisory Committee. In 2008, ignoring the appeal of UN Watch and 25 human rights groups, the council elected Jean Ziegler, the co-founder of the Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize—a propaganda tool for the regime—to this body. Last year he was made the committee’s vice-president. Why did you not speak out?

And will you now call on the recipients of this prize—former Cuban President Fidel Castro in 1998, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in 2004, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in 2009, and Turkish PM Erdogan in 2010—to renounce this prize, and to apologize to all the human rights victims—past and present—of Col. Muammar Qaddafi?

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