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Human Rights Watch on Monday criticized the new UN Human Rights Council for its one-sided attacks on Israel and disproportionate attention to the Middle East.
The New York-based human rights organization issued a statement urging the council to "expand its focus beyond the Middle East" and address other crises, such as those in Darfur and Sri Lanka.
The statement also pointed out that in the meetings that have occurred since the council was created in March, it has adopted three resolutions on "human rights abuses and violations of humanitarian law" by Israel. But, the organization noted, it "has ignored the responsibilities and roles of other parties in the Middle East, including Hizbullah and Palestinian armed groups, who have committed violations."
It continued, "In taking a one-sided approach, the council failed in its duty to act to protect the rights of all citizens in the region."
The council was establish to replace the now-defunct UN Human Rights Commission, scrapped largely because it allowed "abuser nations" such as Sudan and Libya to take part and repeatedly singled out Israel.
Human Rights Watch itself has been attacked by some pro-Israel activists for unfairly focusing on Israeli rights abuses as opposed to those of other actors such as the Palestinians. Some of those activists were unimpressed by Monday's statement.
"This is what we call the pot calling the kettle black. Human Rights Watch is as guilty as the United Nations Human Rights Council in having an anti-Israel agenda," said Gerald Steinberg, who directs the Jerusalem-headquartered NGO Monitor, accused the rights organization of merely trying to deflect criticism, and charged that, "The Human Rights Council is simply following Human Rights Watch's lead."