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Testimony at the UN

How can the UN promote impunity

UN Watch testimony before the UN Human Rights Council 22nd Session
Agenda Item 2: General Debate
Delivered by Jonathan Lang
March 4, 2013


Thank you, Mr. President.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights rightly calls for an end to impunity. Today we ask: is the United Nations doing its part?

Let us consider the voices of the victims. We heard them last week, just across the street. Some of the world’s most courageous human rights dissidents and victims assembled for the 5th annual Geneva Summit, organized by UN Watch, together with 20 other human rights NGOs.

We heard from Syrian activist Randa Kassis. She spoke of the 70,000 of her fellow people who have been massacred so far.

We ask: Did the UN promote impunity when it re-elected Syria last week to a senior post on a committee mandated to uphold fundamental human rights, and to combat the “subjugation, domination and exploitation” of peoples? Was impunity promoted when, predictably, Syria’s state-funded news agency trumpeted this election and propaganda victory?

We also heard from Mukesh Kapila, the former UN coordinator for humanitarian affairs in Sudan. He described evidence of Sudanese crimes against humanity in the Nuba and Blue Nile regions.

We ask: Did the UN promote impunity when it elected Sudan a member of ECOSOC, then made it Vice-President, and then nominated it to chair its proceedings on humanitarian affairs?

We also heard from Mukhtar Mai, a woman who was gang raped by tribal edict in Pakistan, a country that experts say is also complicit in extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and violent attacks against Christians, Shia, Ahmadis, and other Muslim and non-Muslim minorities.

We ask: Did the UN promote impunity when it elected Pakistan a member of this Council?

Finally, Marina Nemat of Iran testified about her arrest and torture at the young age of 16. We ask: Did the UN promote impunity when, in January, it made Iran not only a board member, but Vice-President of the UNICEF executive board, a victory being trumpeted by the regime’s news agencies?

Thank you, Mr. President.





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