Israel’s U.N. Ambassador, Ron Prosor, attacked on Thursday the requests by Syria and Iran to join the UN’s Human Rights Commission (UNHRC).
“A new Guinness world’s record at the UN? Putting Syria and Iran in the UNHRC is like appointing mob bosses to head the witness protection plan,” Prosor said in a statement.
The move comes as the Syrian regime of Bashar el-Assad continues a bloody campaign to crush a two-year rebellion, which has seen massive human rights violations and accusations of war crimes on both sides, including the use of chemical weapons and the indiscriminate bombardment of civilian areas by regime forces.
Iran’s candidacy comes only days after Arutz Sheva revealed that the Islamic Republic had executed 61 people in less than a month, following the election of Hassan Rouhani as the country’s new president on June 14. Human rights activists now claim that number has risen to more than 70.
The candidacies put forth by the two countries surprised even some of the more cynical officials in the UN.
Besides Syria, where the death toll in the civil war is approaching 100,000, and Iran, which denies the Holocaust and vows to erase Israel from the map, other candidacies announced Wednesday were those of China, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Jordan and the Maldives.
The estimates in the UN are that Syria and Iran will fail to receive enough support in the General Assembly vote – to be held in the fall – in order to enter the UNHRC.
However, a UN source told Arutz Sheva, “Nowadays you can never know anything. If these countries enter the Commission, it will be a big joke.”
NGO calls on Western nations to mobilise in opposition
Hillel Neuer, the head of UN Watch, a Geneva-based advocacy group that monitors the work of the United Nations, called on the U.S. and the EU to mobilize opposition to Iran and Syria, as well as to “others in the rogues’ gallery of declared candidates: Algeria, Chad, China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.”
“The U.S. and EU should encourage worthy candidates from each regional group to throw their hats in the ring, and then lobby for their election over the current slate of tyrannies and human rights abusers,” said Neuer.
“Countries that murder and torture their own people must not be allowed to become the world’s judges on human rights,” he added.
“Given that Iran was recently elected to the UN commission on women’s rights, and Syria to UNESCO’s human rights committee, we cannot take anything for granted.”
“Syria is certainly less popular now, but Iran chairs the largest UN voting bloc — the non-aligned movement — through which it hosted a Tehran summit last year that drew many world leaders including UN chief Ban Ki-moon,” Neuer said. “We need to seriously fight these candidacies.”
US levels harsh criticism
In response to the news, America’s U.N. Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo condemned the move as “highly inappropriate,” given that both Syria and Iran are under investigation for their own gross violations of basic human rights.
“In our view, attempts by either country to join the Human Rights Council are highly inappropriate, given the Human Rights Council’s existing mandates to investigation human rights violation in these countries, their egregious records on human rights, and their ongoing cooperation to suppress democratic aspirations in Syria.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN is known for his witty one-liners in rebutting the arguments of Israel’s detractors in the United Nations.
At a UN Security Council meeting back in February, he famously responded to a reluctance among some EU-member states to blacklisting Hezbollah, due to its charitable activity in Lebanon by retorting:
“Calling Hezbollah a charity is like calling al- Qaida an urban-planning organization because of its desire to level tall buildings.”