NGO Monitor at the 41st Session of the UN Human Rights Council
NGO Monitor is a project of The Institute for NGO Research, a recognized organization in Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council (since 2013). As such, the Institute for NGO Research is participating in the 41st Session of the UN Human Rights Council by presenting submissions and giving oral statements. See below for these materials.
Thank you, Mr. President.
On June 8, 2016, I was sitting at a café in Sarona Market Tel Aviv when two gunmen opened fire at the restaurant directly behind me.
Four innocent people were murdered in this horrific terrorist attack.
Yet, this Council, under the biased agenda Item 7 continues to target Israel and ignore the perpetrators and funders of this and other terror attacks that have taken the lives of over 3,000 Israelis.
Iran and its fundamentalist regime are the leaders of this terror network, and themselves regularly declare their intent to eliminate the Jewish State.
On Israel’s Northern border, Iran, with help from North Korea, provides advanced weaponry and financial support to Hezbollah in Lebanon and to the Assad regime in Syria. Hezbollah has dug multiple terror tunnels under the Lebanon-Israel border in direct violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
On Israel’s Southern border, Hamas has too utilized foreign resources, from Iran and from Qatar, to finance its terror tunnels, rocket arsenal, fire-bombing kites, and violent armed riots.
Amid all of this terror, the Palestinian Authority continues financing the perpetrators of attacks, providing terrorists, such as those responsible for the Sarona attack that I was in, with salaries far surpassing those of local teachers.
Mr. President, it is imperative that this Council once and for all end the discriminatory agenda item 7 and adhere to UN Security Council Resolution 1373 in order to combat terrorism.
Thank you, Mr. President.
The Vienna Declaration recognizes that the promotion and protection of human rights is a matter of priority for the international community and the United Nations.
Why then, given this crucial priority and the scare resources found in the UN system, are this Council’s country and issue area experts selectively condemning democracies and ignoring rights abuses in authoritarian regimes?
For example, should this Council be condemning Canada for, as the Special Rapporteur on women’s rights concluded in her report, “systematic gender-based violence” or focusing on Iran? In June 2019, Canada hosted the world’s largest conference on gender equality. In Iran, women are arrested, imprisoned, and tortured for removing their hijabs in acts of political expression.
The Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health too selected Canada as his target, ignoring Myanmar, the country with the worst health care system in the world according to the WHO.
Similarly, the Special Rapporteur on issues related to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, Mr. Michael Lynk, targets only Israel, systematically ignoring violations of human rights by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. He also repeatedly utilizes antisemitic imagery in his reports and partners with NGOs that promote discriminatory boycotts of the Jewish State.
Mr. President, it is imperative that this Council undergo serious reform in order to prioritize country and issue areas where human rights are most grossly violated and in order to uphold the values of the Vienna Declaration.
Thank you, Mr. President.
The 2001 Durban conference was filled with rank antisemitism, and the resulting declaration has done next to nothing to combat it.
A glaring example is the rise of antisemitism in Sweden, and this Council’s lack of interest in speaking up for members of that community.
On May 14, a Jewish woman was stabbed and nearly murdered in an antisemitic hate crime.
Last year, a Jewish professor’s home was set on fire after she had been bombarded with hate mail, including with notes that read “we are watching you, you Jewish swine.”
The community of Umeo was further the first Jewish community in decades to dissolve itself over security concerns. There are fears that the community in Malmo is on track to do the same.
Not only are Swedish authorities largely ambivalent to the rampant antisemitism within their country, but the government utilizes taxpayer funds in support of numerous NGOs that promote antisemitic ideas abroad.
My organization was even targeted for drawing attention to this phenomenon, with an online government-owned magazine publishing over 20 articles about us, some of which consisted of antisemitic motifs reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Ironically, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance was established in Sweden, yet Sweden has failed to adopt its working definition of antisemitism – a tool that would surely help the country in combatting this form of hatred.
Mr. President, the Human Rights Council should encourage Sweden to adopt the IHRA definition and uphold the UN values of combating racism and antisemitism.