The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has a reputation for maintaining a blatant anti-Israel bias. Gross violators of human rights often serve on the Council, devoting a disproportionate amount of attention to alleged Israeli human rights abuses without substantive discussion dedicated towards other nations with far worse records.
Marking the Council's 70th anniversary on May 17, Hillel Neuer – executive director of United Nations Watch – outlined the shocking hypocrisy characterizing the UNHRC in testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
While the Council's founders intended for the body to uphold the principle of human dignity for all, Neuer describes how brutal dictators like Libya's ruthless leader Muammar Qaddafi hijacked the UNHRC over the years.
Countries like China and Russia, which frequently stifle dissent and freedom of speech, have been exempt from a single resolution or special session. Instead, both countries sit on the Council.
"In Saudi Arabia, women are subjugated, Christians are arrested for practicing their religion, democracy blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a thousand lashes, and beheadings are at an all time high," Neuer said. "The Council's response? Silence. A recent attempt to investigate Saudi Arabia's carpet bombing of Yemeni civilians was quashed. On the contrary: Saudi Arabia, too, was elected a member."
Neuer continued to outline blatant human rights abuses associated with countries such as Algeria, Congo, Cuba, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela – all of which were elected as Council members. In fact, 62 percent of current UNHRC member states fail to meet the minimum standards to be considered free societies. There are fewer democracies on the committee than ever.
Instead of focusing on real human rights abuses, the Commission's rights violators devote much of their time to praising each other. Neuer recalled being present when China commended Saudi Arabia for respecting religious freedom and the following day Saudi Arabia praised China for upholding minority rights.
Beyond self-praise, the UNHRC focuses a disproportionate amount of attention on condemning the world's sole Jewish state.
"Despite the promise of ending selectivity, the Council's pathological obsession with demonizing Israelis, and denying their human rights, has never been worse. Since its creation, the Council has adopted 67 resolutions condemning Israel—and only 61 on the rest of the world combined," confirmed Heuer.
Now, the Council instituted a U.N. black-list of Israeli businesses, adopting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to punish Israel's economy and its citizens.
While Neuer applauded U.S. officials and ambassadors for calling out UNHRC hypocrisy, real reform of this U.N. body is unlikely to be realized in the foreseeable future.
Read Neuer's remarks here.