Gillerman: UN human rights panel is a 'monster'

Israel's ambassador excoriates HRC for failing to deal with violations around the world.

UN human rights council  (photo credit: Courtesy)
UN human rights council
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman slammed the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday for failing to deal with human rights violations around the world, and for disproportionately singling out Israel. "The new human rights council was delivered by some who thought they were giving birth to a new baby, but they have given birth to a horrendous monster," Gillerman said following a meeting of the General Assembly's Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural), currently discussing the council's institution-building package. The committee hopes to reach a consensus on the council's package on Thursday. After Gillerman was introduced Tuesday, a fire alarm forced the committee to evacuate to a shelter, delaying his speech. "This is another example of how Israel is singled out," Gillerman told the committee to audible chuckles. The alarm was the "calm before the storm," he quipped, warning them of what he was about to say. "The real burning - literally burning - human rights situations in our tormented world have certainly not been reflected in the council's deliberations, and one wonders, sadly, if they ever will," Gillerman said. Instead, he said, the Human Rights Council was responsible for a "ritualistic and virulent campaign" against Israel. The council's membership included countries whose records on human rights fell "markedly below" the standards of the international community, said Gillerman, and "who cannot genuinely serve as a beacon for human rights when their respective performances are so dismal and poor." Aside from Israel, the only specific situations to have been addressed by the council have been Myanmar and Darfur. Resolutions on the latter "not only failed to find the Sudanese government culpable for atrocities, but even had the audacity to congratulate Sudan for its cooperation," said Gillerman. He said special rapporteurs on human rights violations by Cuba and Belarus were eliminated from the institution-building package without serious consideration, in "blatant disregard for the constituent mandate." The committee discussion is intended to be a mere "technicality," but on Tuesday, Gillerman said Israel could not accept the institution-building package as is, and urged countries to join in "opposing the consensus." "The Human Rights Council is unworthy of the dreams of the founders of the Universal Human Rights Declaration, and Israel could not go along with those who feel consensus is the name of the game," Gillerman said following the meeting. "There are hundreds of thousands abused every day and who die every day because of human rights violations. They look to this organization and wait for us to do the right thing. I appeal to colleagues on a personal note to do the right thing." There are a host of nations that think the council is a "disgrace," Gillerman told reporters. "I know that they know deep down, that if they could, they would lay aside political considerations and say what they think. It's time to do the right thing, not time to hide behind technicalities."