Syria Deraa fire 520.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Reuters TV)
NEW YORK – Members of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council in Geneva are
trying to force a special session of the body next week to examine government
crackdowns against populist protests in the Middle East and North
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Sixteen signatures are required to convene the body for a special
session, which is being proposed under the title, “Promotion and protection of
human rights in the context of recent peaceful protests.”
Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria would come under scrutiny in the
special session for violent suppression of populist protests.
Organization of the Islamic Conference, however, has said it will not consent to
holding such a meeting.
“We think that the events that are taking place
do not merit some kind of a special session,” said Zamir Akram, Pakistan’s
ambassador to the UN in Geneva, to the Associated Press.
Press quoted Akram as accusing those advocating a special session of double
standards, and said the OIC would use any such meeting to focus on human rights
abuses by Israel instead.
A spokesperson from the UN Secretary General’s
office said his office had no comment on the prospective meeting.
up to the Human Rights Council members to determine whether to hold a special
session,” the spokesperson said.
David Keyes, executive director of the
non-governmental group Advancing Human Rights, welcomed the possibility of a
special session addressing suppression of recent populist uprisings.
UN Human Rights Council should address the crackdowns against civilian
populations in the Arab world and Iran,” Keyes said. “It can start with its own
member states, like Saudi Arabia, who are among the worst human rights violators
in the world.”
Keyes also referenced the contradictory impulses evident
in the HRC.
“Can a brutal dictatorship that bans women from leaving their
homes or country without permission of a male guardian sit in judgement of
democracies regarding human rights? If the fox can guard the hen-house, then
sure,” Keyes said.
“Ruthless dictatorships like Libya should be
investigated by the UN Human Rights Council – not chair it. And it should not
take the slaughter of thousands of civilians to realize this. Forty years of
tyranny is enough.”