There is a saying that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. This phrase comes to mind when one witnesses the international reactions to Israel deciding to skip this years UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review. During this proceeding that all 193 UN member states undergo, dictatorships frequently line up friendly countries to claim falsely that they are advancing human rights, yet at the same time will attack Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy. For these reasons, Israel had no desire to participate and declined to show up for this years’ Universal Periodic Review. However, the community of nations seemed more bothered by Israel’s lack of desire to participate than the exploitation of human rights that frequently occurs at the UN Human Rights Council by notorious human rights abusers.
Indeed, the present UN Human Rights Council has members who are not in any position to lecture Israel about human rights. One UN Human Rights Council member, Pakistan, routinely abducts young Hindu and Christian girls, rapes them, and forcefully converts them to Islam. In addition, three quarters of the women in Pakistani prisons are rape victims who lacked four male Muslim witnesses and thus were prosecuted for engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse. Another member of the UN Human Rights Council is Venezuela, whose president is a notorious anti-Semite who persecutes his domestic critics. Other countries ranked as not free by Freedom House that are members of the UN Human Rights Council include Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Cote D’Ivoire, the United Arab Emirates, and Gabon.
Yet even more disturbing, three out of the four Vice Presidents of the UN Human Rights Council hail from countries with questionable human rights records. Mauritania is ranked as not free by Freedom House, while Maldives and Ecuador are ranked as partly free. Reporters Without Borders ranked Ecuador 104th place out of 179 in its Press Freedom Index, while Mauritania was 67th and the Maldives was 73rd.
According to UN Watch, “Mauritania is a North African Islamic state where conversion to another faith is punishable by death. […] According to activists, up to 18 percent of the population may still be in slavery today. […] Another of […] HRC vice-presidents, the Maldives, is also an Islamic state where […] women may be flogged for extramarital sex and homosexual activity is a crime, punishable with banishment and flogging. Ecuador is an electoral democracy but a country which, Freedom House reports, President Rafael Correa has turned into “one of the more restrictive countries for freedom of expression in Latin America.””
The fact that non-democratic or partly free countries dominate the UN Human Rights Council adversely affects the promotion of human rights worldwide. For example, in October 2011, when Syria showed up for its Universal Periodic Review, the Cuban representative stated, “The Syrian government is working for the human rights of its people.” The North Korean delegate stated, “We commend Syria on its efforts taken to maintain security and stability.” The Iranian representative stated, “We appreciate the efforts of the government of Syria to promote and protect human rights.”
In the conclusion of the Universal Periodic Review of Syria, it was announced that 179 recommendations were made, of which 98 were accepted and 26 were considered. At this time, 2,600 Syrians had been murdered by their own government. Since then, that number has risen to 60,000. Yet the UN Human Rights Council appears more concerned about Israel skipping its Universal Periodic Review than the situation in Syria.
In contrast, when it comes to a democratic country like Israel, 40 percent of the UN Human Rights Council’s resolutions have been condemning solely Israel. The UN Human Rights Council has a permanent agenda item that focuses only upon Israel. There have been more special sessions on Israel than any other country on the planet. The official UN document titled “Summary of Stakeholders Submissions” objected to Israel being a Jewish state and demanded that Israel accept five million Palestinians into her borders. At a time when the Assad regime is committing democide, the UN Human Rights Council had the audacity to condemn Israel for the “suffering of Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan,” even though the Arabs of the Golan Heights are much better off than the Arabs in Syria.
Thus, when the UN Human Rights Council decided to do a fact-finding mission on how building Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria affect Palestinians, Israel decided to cut off all ties with the UN Human Rights Council. Israel did this for she could not tolerate a situation where dictators and human rights abusers are determining who is a model for human rights around the globe and who isn’t.
By Rachel Avraham