Prof. Gerald Steinberg and Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor’s Legal Advisor, travelled to Geneva the week of March 24, 2014 to attend the 25th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and for high-level meetings with diplomats and UN officials.
This was the first time in which NGO Monitor fully participated in all aspects of the HRC following NGO Monitor’s accreditation with the UN Economic and Social Council in July 2013, under its registered Israeli name: Amuta for NGO Responsibility.
Prior to the Session, the Amuta submitted two written statements to the Council – one focusing on European funding for NGOs in the region, and the second on women’s rights in the Middle East. Both submissions are now official UN documents available on the UN website and archived in the UN documents system.
During the HRC Session, Prof. Steinberg made three oral statements – one focusing on BDS and antisemitism during the last presentation by Richard Falk, the UN Rapporteur on “Palestine,” (made jointly with the European Union of Jewish Students); one statement addressing counterproductive European funding of NGOs during the Item 7 debate (the standing anti-Israel session that takes place at every HRC meeting); and a statement on the Durban Conference and its continued negative impact during the Item 9 debate (addressing the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action). Anne Herzberg presented a statement on women’s rights in the Middle East during the Item 8 debate (addressing general human rights issues). All four of NGO Monitor’s oral statements are available on the UN website.
NGO Monitor also hosted two side events at the UN. The March 24 event, “Obstacles to Arab-Israel Peace,” featured Professor Steinberg discussing NGO funding and Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, discussing double standards and bias in UN frameworks. At the second event, on March 25, “Women’s Rights in the Middle East,” Anne Herzberg discussed NGO Monitor’s new monograph, “Second Class Rights: How Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch Fail Women in the Middle East,” and former MK Dr. Einat Wilf delivered a keynote address.
In addition to activities at the UN, Professor Steinberg and Anne Herzberg met with several high level UN officials and diplomats, as well as representatives of Jewish groups.
Written versions of oral statements:
Durban and the Exploitation of Human Rights for Political Warfare: A Troubling Legacy Continues, Prepared Statement for Human Rights Council Twenty-fifth Session, Delivered by Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg, March 2014
Assessing the Impact of European Government Funding for Human Rights NGOs in the Context of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Prepared Statement for Human Rights Council Twenty-fifth Session, March 2014
Prepared Joint Oral Statement by Amuta for NGO Responsibility & European Union of Jewish Students, Item 7 Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur 25th Session UN Human Rights Council, March 25, 2014
Women’s Rights in the Middle East Must Top the Agenda, Oral Statement of the Amuta for NGO Responsibility, Item 8, 25th Session Human Rights Council, March 24, 2014