Ban to urge UN to hold session on suicide bombings

Says suicide attacks are "unacceptable political weapon."

Ban side on 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Ban side on 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called suicide bombing an "unacceptable political weapon" on Tuesday, and said he will speak to the president of the General Assembly about holding a special session on the issue. Ban spoke during a private 50-minute meeting with officials from the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The officials urged the UN to designate suicide bombing a crime against humanity, a campaign they have been conducting for four years. Rabbi Marvin Hier, the center's dean, said the UN had held special sessions on important issues - including disarmament, apartheid, AIDS and the environment - and that "the time has come to place suicide terror at the top of the international agenda." "This scourge is only going to get worse and world must act before it's too late" Hier said. "No group has escaped suicide terror and today Muslims are the predominant victims of this scourge." The secretary-general said he would personally speak to the president of the General Assembly about holding a special session on the subject. Also discussed were concerns regarding the Durban II process, which many fear will be a repeat the first conference on human rights held in 2001 that degenerated into an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hatefest. Ban said Durban II must "galvanize to fight against anti-Semitism." The Wiesenthal Center expressed skepticism that the UN Human Rights Council, which regularly singles out Israel for condemnation, could properly supervise Durban II. While the Human Rights Council is not under the jurisdiction of the secretary-general, Ban said he was aware of what took place at Durban I and did not want to see a repeat, according to Hier. Ban also said he "fully sympathizes with the victims of the rocket attacks [in Sderot]." He said Israel had the right to act against those who have fired the rockets, but expressed concern over the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. "I am fully sympathetic but the humanitarian issue prevails over security," he said, again according to Hier. Members of the Wiesenthal Center said they were impressed with the secretary-general, and had confidence he would address the issues discussed in Tuesday's meeting. "My impression of him, and he is the fourth secretary-general I've met with, is that he's a breath of fresh air," said Hier. "He is sympathetic by nature, moderate, and well informed."