UN Human Rights Council endorses Goldstone report and recommends it to UNGA + says Israeli sanctions on Gaza constitute collective punishment

As we reported yesterday, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva adopted a resolution supporting the report on last winter’s Gaza war that the HRC had commissioned¬† from a team lead by South Africa’s Justice Richard Goldstone.

The vote was 25 in favor, 11 against, and 6 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Zambia;

Against: Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, Ukraine, United States of America.

Abstaining: Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Uruguay.

These results are posted on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights here.

The resolution endorsed the recommendations in the Goldstone report, and recommended that the UN General Assembly “consider” the report in its current session (which lasts until late December, or eventually until next September). It also said that the Israeli restrictions on Gaza — which the HRC resolution says is occupied — is a “siege” that “constitutes collective punishment of Palestinian civilians”.

The resolution stresses “that the right to life constitutes the most fundamental of all human rights“, and recognizes that “the Israeli siege imposed on the occupied Gaza Strip, including its closure of border crossings and the cutting of the supply of fuel, food and medicine, constitutes collective punishment of Palestinian civilians and leads to disastrous humanitarian and environmental consequences“.

Continue reading UN Human Rights Council endorses Goldstone report and recommends it to UNGA + says Israeli sanctions on Gaza constitute collective punishment

Palestinian Foreign Minister outlines plan to ask for discussion of Goldstone repor

The Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki asked diplomatic representatives in Ramallah on Monday for their government’s support to — at least — discuss the Goldstone report on last winter’s war on Gaza.

Al-Maliki has been a frequent flyer in the past ten days — he’s back in Ramallah for two days from trips between UN headquarters in New York and France, then Syria, then back to New York, then Libya — since the diplomatic fiasco at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva when Palestinian support was withdrawn for an immediate discussion of the report submitted by the Fact-Finding Mission headed by South Africa’s Justice Richard Goldstone.

Continue reading Palestinian Foreign Minister outlines plan to ask for discussion of Goldstone repor

Diplomats, like bureaucrats, should never be asked to deal with rape

The NY Times is reporting an interesting skirmish in a UN General Assembly Committee vote — was it the Sixth (or Legal) committee?

The U.S. sponsored what it thought was a self-evident text, and was mystified when other delegates didn’t agree.

The NYT writes that today “A UN committee has watered down a U.S. draft resolution on rape that will now go to the full UN General Assembly for approval. South Africa‚Äôs ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, defended the revised measure. ‘The original U.S. draft appeared to concentrate on condemning rape when perpetrated for political and military purposes only’, he said. ‘We felt strongly that this would have created two categories of rape, that is, [1] rape by military and militia groups and [2] rape by civilians’. Mr. Kumalo said that the Africans had insisted on the changes ‘to balance the text by making certain that there was no politicization of rape’. [!] Grover Joseph Rees 3rd, an American ambassador with responsibilities for human rights, protested that ‘contrary to what some have suggested, this resolution never said there were ‘two kinds of rape’. He said the original language had been aimed at ‘the particularly outrageous situation in which a state condones the use of systematic mass rape by its own forces or surrogate militias in order to advance their military or political objectives’. While he said the Unites States welcomed the final agreement by consensus, he added, ‘is no secret that we would have strongly preferred the final wording to place stronger emphasis on the use of rape to attain political and military objectives’. Kristen Silverberg, the [U.S.] assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, said Friday: ‘We are very disappointed that we could not secure stronger language condemning government-sponsored rape. We would not have imagined that language along those lines would provoke controversy‘.”
The NYTimes account of a UN GA Committee negotiation on a U.S. draft resolution on state-sponsored or military rape is here.