The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday denounced the
Israeli presence in the Golan Heights and created the post of a special
investigator into human rights issues in Iran.
The resolution on the
“Syrian Golan,” which calls for an immediate cessation of any “settlement”
construction in the Golan, is the first of six resolutions on Israel. The UNHRC
is expected to approve the remaining five resolutions when it wraps up its 16th
session on Friday.
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Thursday’s vote on the Golan Heights was 29 in favor,
with 16 abstentions. Only the US voted against the resolution; those abstaining
included the United Kingdom, Hungary and France.
The resolution calls on
Israel to comply with Security Council Resolution 497 from 1981, which stated
that Israel’s decision “to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on
the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and without international legal
effect, and demanded that Israel rescind forthwith its decision.”
resolution deems the Knesset’s November 2010 decision to hold a referendum on
the Golan a violation of international law, and considers it null and
In addition, it insists that Israel “desist from its continuous
building of settlements,” as well as from “changing the physical character,
demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the
occupied Syrian Golan, and emphasizes that the displaced persons of the
population of the occupied Syrian Golan must be allowed to return to their homes
and to recover their property.”
The resolution further states that Israel
should allow Syrians in the Golan free transit into Syria through Quneitra under
Red Cross supervision, and should allow the Red Cross to “visit Syrian prisoners
of conscience and detainees in Israeli prisons,” though it also calls for Israel
to release all Syrian detainees in Israeli prisons.
The HRC also voted on
its one resolution on Iran, creating a special rapporteur on the situation of
human rights there – the first in a decade.
That resolution was adopted
by a vote of 22 in favor and seven against, with 14 abstentions.
and the US introduced the resolution.
In the discussion, Swedish
representative Jan Knutsson said it was the responsibility of the council to use
all of its mechanisms to address the issue of human rights abuses in
Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe of the US said America was extremely
concerned about human rights in Iran, stating that floggings, torture and
stoning continued to be carried out by the Iranian government.
Hill source told The Jerusalem Post that the resolution on Iran was a
significant statement against the regime in Tehran.
“It is one of the
most visible manifestations of the Iranian regime’s increasing international
isolation,” the source said.
“Many countries who were not supportive of
these resolutions or abstained switched votes. It was a huge win,” the source
added, noting that countries that would have been expected to vote against such
a resolution or abstain in the past, such as Brazil, South Korea and Senegal,
had come out in support of the move.
Senegal was particularly noteworthy,
because it is a Muslim country, the source said.
According to the source,
the abstentions were also significant – particularly that of Malaysia, one of
Israel’s fiercest critics, as well as Bahrain and Qatar.
“It shows the
degree to which Iran has further isolated itself, especially in such a
politicized environment as the council,” the source said.