Sunday, October 18, 2009

UN-HRC endorses Goldstone / Statement by Navanethem Pillay - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Israeli blockade on Gaza "constitutes collective punishment of the Gaza population, in violation of international law". - Navanethem Pillay (UN High Commissioner for Human Rights)

Dear All,

This is great news. Finally the UNHRC has adopted the Resolution wherein the vote on the Goldstone Report has been passed, much to the consternation of Obama (the guy who got the Nobel . . . some award), as well as the Netanyahu's & the Gordon Brown's & the Sarkaozy's.
The good news is that those who voted for the resolution included China, Russia, Egypt, India, Jordan, Pakistan, South Africa, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ghana, Indonesia, Djibouti, Liberia, Qatar, Senegal, Brazil, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Nigeria and Palestine.
Six countries voted against the report, including US, Italy, Holland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Ukraine.
Among those that abstained were Bosnia, Burkina-Faso, Cameron, Gabon, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Belgium, South Korea, Slovenia and Uruguay. Madagascar and Kyrgyzstan were not present during the vote.

Also the statement by Navanethem Pillay - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights included below is very clear it it's condemnation of the Israeli Genocidal war & the blockade on Gaza & the Settlements both in the West Bank & East Jerusalem. Ms. N. Pillay has also spoken out against the threat that Israel poses to the Al Aqsa Mosque & the fact that Israel has been debarring Palestinians from even praying at the Mosque.

For me personally the fact that India has voted for the resolution has come as a very pleasant surprise & is a breakthrough for the Palestine solidarity movement in our country & we need to build on this victory. It is very important that we organize a series of meetings across the country to highlight the findings & observations of the 'Goldstone Report'.

The immediate Israeli reaction to the Indian vote was a spate of terror warning that are currently being issued as 'Breaking News' on our TV screens. Israel expects it's synagogues in India to be attacked now. There was also a minor scooter-bomb attack (ala Abhinav Bharat-Mossad) in Goa, where as we all know is a haunt for Israeli soldiers, the Mossad & the Israeli druglords.

This sort of news is only meant to counter the pathbreaking Indian vote at the UN. Also Israel's Mossad is very capable of staging false flag terror attacks on the Synagogues (Iraq 1948), especially the 7 of them which are in Bombay, some of which till date have been looked after by the Muslims of Bombay, as the Jewish community began to leave for Israel. As we approach the 'first anniversary of the 26/11 terror attacks', of which undoubtedly (even by the admission of certain senior police officials in their private conversations) Israel was the biggest beneficiary, this will only become more pronounced.

But for now, we need to focus on the Goldstone Report which has been accepted by the International community, barring the ones that have recieved & conferred the Nobel Peace Prize.

In Solidarity with the International Intifada.

Feroze Mithiborwala
Awami Bharat (National President) / Free Gaza India (National Co-ordinator)

UN Human Rights Council endorses Goldstone report

Geneva - Ma'an - After listening to about 20 states and 30 nongovernmental organizations, the UN Human Rights Council on Friday adopted the resolution submitted by Palestine by a vote of 25 to six, with 11 abstentions.

The council is made up of 47 members and requires a majority of votes to pass a resolution.

The Palestinian envoy to Geneva, Ibrahim Kraishi, had demanded the UN body pursue criminals "wherever they are and whoever they are."

"The occupying power wants to make it look like it's doing the right thing," he said. "It wants the international community to look as if it's mistaken. But it's not logical. It's not possible for everybody to be wrong at the expense of one power."

"My people will not forgive the international community," Kraishi concluded, if it cannot see fit to pursue investigations against the crimes in Gaza.

The Israeli representative called the report's adoption "a setback for the efforts to revive peace," and said the move to pass the resolution would be "rewarded by terrorism." He reiterated Israel's right to defend itself.

The few Western states that spoke showed concern about why the special session was being called when the report had been on the agenda just two weeks earlier during a regular session of the Human Rights Council.

Deputy US Ambassador to the United Nations Alejandro Wolff called the resolution "regrettable," and said it went "beyond the scope of the Goldstone report." He said the resolution contained elements that should be "discussed within a final-status agreement," including Jerusalem.

Wolff said the report failed to deal adequately with the asymmetrical nature of the confrontation, and the adoption of the resolution could only postpone a lasting peace and deepen the divide between Israel and Palestine.

Six countries voted against the report, including US, Italy, Holland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Ukraine.

Among those that abstained were Bosnia, Burkina-Faso, Cameron, Gabon, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Belgium, South Korea, Slovenia and Uruguay. Madagascar and Kyrgyzstan were not present during the vote.

Those voting yes included China, Russia, Egypt, India, Jordan, Pakistan, South Africa, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ghana, Indonesia, Djibouti, Liberia, Qatar, Senegal, Brazil, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Nigeria and Palestine.

The voting was postponed for several hours before the session started. Following the delay, more than 20 states and 30 nongovernmental organizations, including the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Al-Dameer and Adalah addressed the council.

Delay and preambles

The French requested first a short delay for consultations and then a longer two-hour delay, to which Egypt, one of the sponsors of the resolution, objected. Although stating immediately after the Egyptian objection that he heard "no objections" to the French request, the Belgian president said that council would then proceed to a vote.

Finally opening the Friday morning session, the League of Arab States lamented what it termed the continuing violations of human rights and aggression by the government of Israel against the people of Palestine.

Syria, Iran, and Libya associated themselves with the Arab statement and emphasized the necessity, in the Libyan delegate's words, of "continuing to discuss the Goldstone report and look into its recommendations."

The Libyan delegate, whose country had raised the report in the Security Council session held this past Wednesday, also called for the matter to be considered and acted upon by the UN General Assembly.

The Libyan delegate called the draft resolution a "a litmus test" that would prove whether international human rights law creates legal obligations or are mere "slogans that are misused" to accomplish political ends.

A spokesperson for UN Watch, a pro-Israel NGO, claimed Israel had done more than the US or the UK in Iraq or Afghanistan to "safeguard the rights of civilians in the war zone" in Gaza.

A former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Col. Richard Kemp addressed the UN session and said that based on his knowledge and experience, Israel "did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare."

This was immediately followed by a statement from the Israeli NGO, the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, stating that based on its long and extensive experience in the Israeli courts, these courts have failed to adequately deal with violations of law by Israeli soldiers. She went on to enumerate the laws and some examples of cases that evidence the failure of the Israel judicial and legislative bodies.

Mustapha Barghouti, speaking for the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, recounted the international crimes that he had witnessed as a doctor in Palestine. He called the Goldstone report a test of the integrity of the UN's concern for human rights and respect for the rule of law.

The deputy permanent representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, then introduced the resolution with an oral amendment for a new paragraph "condemning all targeting of civilians and stressing the urgent need to ensure accountability for all violations of the international human rights law and international humanitarian law to prevent future violations."

The president of council then gave the permanent representative of Israel the floor as a concerned country, who quoted Justice Goldstone as expressing his concern that the draft resolution was too harsh on Israel, stating "this time Justice Goldstone is correct." He continued that Israel, however, did not agree with what Justice Goldstone had said in the report. He ended with an implicit threat by his government to stop cooperating with the council and to sabotage the Middle East peace process.

The Palestinian ambassador then spoke, saying that he "would not use the rostrum of the council to condemn either Hamas or Israel," and plead that "all we want is to ensure that criminals everywhere do not enjoy impunity."

He ended by requesting consensus in the council on the resolution.

The United States made a statement before the vote lamenting the council, for dealing with the report as an urgent manner, instead hoping that the council would delay action on the report. As in his statement delivered during the general debate on the resolution, the US delegate again recalled that more than six months should be given to Israel to investigate the allegations of international crimes.

He did not address the statements by several Israel officials that unequivocally stated that "no Israeli soldier" would be prosecuted because of the allegations made in the report. The US also called for a vote on the resolution stating that it would vote no and calling on other states to join them.

Also speaking before the vote Chile, Brazil, and Argentina generally spoke in support of the resolution, although most expressed dissatisfaction with the way this session had been convened.

Slovenia, Uruguay, Norway, and Mexico stated that while they could not support the draft resolution and would abstain. Several of these states also reiterated their support for the Goldstone report and the human rights of the Palestinian people.

No state joined the United States in announcing it would vote against the resolution.

The resolution

The three-part resolution calls for Israel to cease settlements in East Jerusalem, to allow unhindered access to the Al-Asqa Mosque and for the council to refer the report of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict to the General Assembly. The omnibus resolution also called for the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to report on the situation of human rights in Palestine.

When the vote was finally taken in recorded form at the request of the United States, 25 states voted for the resolution, six voted against, and eleven abstained.

After the resolution was passed, about a dozen states elaborated on their votes. The HRC president then stated he would transmit the resolution "urgently" to the General Assembly.

Finally, the Algerian ambassador challenged the US ambassador to back his oral commitment to making the Human Rights Council a real body of action, by ending the armed conflict in Palestine and taking meaningful action on violations of human rights in Palestine.

Curtis Doebbler contributed to this report.

xxxxxxxxxx Statement by Ms. Navanethem Pillay United
Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights at the 12th Human Rights
Council Special Session


15 October 2009

Mr. President,
Distinguished Members of the Human Rights Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (the OPT) remains of grave concern. There is strong evidence indicating that all parties to the conflict—in different ways and with different effects—have committed and continue to commit serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Many of these violations have been documented in my report to your last regular session, which I also submit today for your consideration.

Allow me to discuss two issues that require all our attention, namely the situation in East Jerusalem and the continuing blockade of Gaza.

In the past weeks, there have been numerous clashes in and around the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The stringent restrictions imposed by Israel on Palestinians wishing to enter this Mosque must be lifted in order for members of the Palestinian community to exercise their right to worship.

In East Jerusalem home demolitions continue. My Office has called for an immediate halt to the recent wave of eviction orders and demolitions of Palestinian houses in the occupied territory. OHCHR views these practices as violations of both international humanitarian law and of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Despite condemnation expressed by the international community, the tragedy of losing their homes continues to be inflicted on many Palestinian families.


Turning now to the situation in Gaza, I wish to express once again my dismay at the continuing blockade that severely undermines the rights and welfare of the population there. The living conditions of Gazans keep deteriorating as a result of restrictions on the import of services and goods, including basic food and fuel supplies. The blockade prevents the delivery of essential building materials and thus hampers the reconstruction of homes and infrastructure destroyed during Israeli military attacks in December 2008 and January 2009. It constitutes collective punishment of the Gaza population, in violation of international law. It must be lifted. Israel must allow the free movement of goods and people into and out of Gaza and between Gaza and the West Bank.

A culture of impunity continues to prevail in the occupied territories and in Israel in relation to violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. I have pointed this out in my report to this Council. The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, led by Justice Goldstone, made a similar assessment.

Let me take this opportunity to reiterate my support for the recommendations of the Fact Finding Mission, including its call for urgent action to counter impunity. I encourage the Council and the broader international community to give full consideration to the Fact Finding Mission's report. I also wish to underscore the necessity for all parties to carry out impartial, independent, prompt, and effective investigations into reported violations of human rights and humanitarian law in compliance with international standards.

For those in detention, the widespread recourse to military justice systems, which do not meet international standards of due process, remains of grave concern. Due process and the rights of those in any form of detention must be respected at all times.

Mr. President,

Accountability for breaches of international humanitarian law and for human rights violations, as well as respect for human rights, are not obstacles to peace, but rather the preconditions on which trust and, ultimately, a durable peace can be built.

The reactions from victims and concerned people and organizations to the postponement by this Council of its deliberations are compelling evidence that addressing impunity for human rights and international humanitarian law violations is essential to preventing further violence and shoring up the peace process. I encourage all Members to have a constructive role in supporting accountability for serious violations.

In seeking a political solution to the decades-long conflict, the international community must anchor its efforts in international law, in particular international human rights and humanitarian law.

To conclude, all human rights are equal for all human beings, and no party can claim that, in defending or supporting its own population, it is allowed to disavow the rights of others. All parties have an obligation to respect the human rights of their own people, of their own neighbours, of all.

Let me reiterate that respect for human rights is an imperative in building a solid foundation for both justice and peace. I hope you will emphasize this basic principle in your deliberations.

Thank you.

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