New UN rights body targets Israel

Review of alleged abuses by Israel to be feature of every council session.

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June 30, 2006 21:43
1 minute read.
New UN rights body targets Israel

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The new UN Human Rights Council voted Friday to make a review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel a permanent feature of every council session. The resolution, which was sponsored by Islamic countries, was passed by a vote of 29-12, with five abstentions. It effectively revives a practice of the UN's dissolved Human Rights Commission, which also reviewed alleged Israeli abuses every time it met. Israel protested Friday's vote, calling it a perpetuation of "the old infamous habits" of the widely discredited commission. The resolution requires UN investigators to report at each council session "on the Israeli human rights violations in occupied Palestine." The resolution also said the council "decides to undertake substantive consideration of the human rights violations and implications of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and other occupied Arab territories at its next session and to incorporate that issue in its following sessions." One of the United States' main criticisms of the 53-nation Human Rights Commission that was replaced this year by the council was that it spent one week of its annual six-week session criticizing Israel and made other frequent attacks on the Jewish state. "Voting in favor of this draft resolution will lead you directly to the old infamous habits of the commission," Israeli Ambassador Itzhak Levanon told the council. "Voting yes essentially means that no lessons have been drawn. It means that there is no fresh beginning." Besides Arab and other Muslim countries, "yes" votes were cast by African nations, Brazil, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia and Sri Lanka. Canada and European Union members on the council voted against it. The United States is not a member of the council and, like Israel, was unable to vote. The council has two more sessions this year, starting in September and December.

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