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Human rights orgs to UN: Sends a clear message that human rights are universal – move the Goldstone Report forward

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The Center for Constitutional Rights has joined the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, the International Federation for Human Rights, and Al-Haq in making the following appeal to the United Nations:

During the 66th General Assembly, the world’s attention has been focused on issues surrounding recognition of Palestinian Statehood. However, as human rights organizations we believe that the true question is not only one of Statehood per se; rather it concerns recognition of rights, and the fundamental importance of the rule of law.

This General Assembly must act to uphold the enforcement of international law, and to ensure that the accountability process triggered more than two years ago by the Report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict reaches its full legal implementation.

The Fact-Finding Mission documented extensive evidence indicating the commission of crimes under international law by all sides in the context of Israel’s 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip. In accordance with the requirements of customary international law, a two-stage accountability process was initiated. First, all sides were required to address all allegations domestically. Second, in the event that these investigations failed to meet international standards, recourse to international justice mechanisms – particularly the International Criminal Court – was necessitated.

Two years later, as confirmed by national and international human rights organizations and the UN Committee of Independent Experts established by the Human Rights Council, it is unambiguously clear that all parties have failed to conduct domestic investigations that are prompt, effective, independent, and in conformity with international law. Furthermore, all parties have failed to prosecute suspected perpetrators of crimes under international law.

As a result, recourse must now be had to mechanisms of international justice. Indeed, the 16th session of the Human Rights Council recommended that this 66th session of the General Assembly submit the Report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict to the Security Council, with the recommendation that the Security Council refer the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, pursuant to Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute.

The interests of justice demand that the General Assembly make this request of the Security Council, and that the Security Council continue the precedent established with respect to Sudan and Libya and act in the interests of accountability and justice for all victims.

Responsibility falls upon the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), as drafters of the relevant resolutions, to initiate the procedures recommended by the 16th Session of the Human Rights Council. All efforts must be undertaken to ensure justice for all victims.

Should the PLO choose not to pursue the accountability process initiated by the Report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission – at the expense of the Statehood initiative – this will amount to the prioritisation of political processes over victims’ fundamental rights; indicating acceptance of the pervasive impunity that characterises the situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.

At this time it is imperative that the international community sends a clear and unambiguous message: human rights are universal, and all those suspected of committing crimes under international law will be pursued, irrespective of any political considerations.

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9 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    September 29, 2011, 10:54 am

    More from Juan Cole on the potential US vote against Palestinians bid\
    Palestine Vote Showcases the Decline of American Power
    NATO ally Turkey has also broken with the U.S. over Palestine policy, vowing to do what it can to end the shameful and illegal Israeli blockade on civilian Palestinians in Gaza. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to change Obama’s mind, reminding him of his 2010 speech to the U.N. General Assembly, in which the U.S. president looked forward to the establishment in short order of a Palestinian state. Erdogan says of the veto threat, “We have difficulties in understanding their position. … The U.S. has always advocated a two-state solution.”

    Even NATO ally France, which has troops fighting in Afghanistan alongside U.S. forces, broke with Obama on Palestine, advocating a compromise abhorred in Washington and Tel Aviv whereby the Palestinian Authority would join the Vatican in being a formal U.N. observer state. Indeed, NATO is divided on this issue, with Spain and Norway joining Turkey and France in bolting from U.S. leadership. In the wider European Union, the split is even more stark. With countries traditionally willing to follow the U.S. lead on important geopolitical issues now breaking with Washington on Palestine, it is no surprise that the tier of rising world powers known as the BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—is unanimously in favor of the Palestine bid at the U.N.

  2. Kathleen
    September 29, 2011, 10:56 am

    “: human rights are universal, and all those suspected of committing crimes under international law will be pursued, irrespective of any political considerations.”

    Oh yes

  3. Kathleen
    September 29, 2011, 12:04 pm

    So many articles written by heavy hitters in regard to President Obama and the US’s likely veto of the Palestinians bid for statehood and how the US has and continues to lose credibility and influence

    Hillary Mann Leverett really zings Obama
    “But it is the Palestinian issue that highlights the extent of Obama’s craven ineptitude. In his address to the General Assembly last year, see here, Obama declared that, within the coming year, there should be “an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations—an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel”. (This was the sole “applause line” in the speech.) One year later, Obama used his speech today (which elicited, literally, no applause from the General Assembly as it was delivered) to lead the charge against United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state. And, as with his remarks about Afghanistan and Iraq, the level of intellectual dishonesty in Obama’s comments about Palestine was astounding even for a politician running for re-election. ”

    Palestine Vote Showcases the Decline of American Power
    Sep 27, 2011

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas listens as President Barack Obama speaks at the U.N. on Sept. 21.

    By Juan Cole

    The United States, castigated by its critics as recently as a decade ago as a “hyper-power,” is now so weak and isolated on the world stage that it may cast an embarrassing and self-defeating veto of Palestinian membership in the United Nations. Beset by debt, mired in economic doldrums provoked by the cupidity and corruption of its business classes, and on the verge of withdrawing from Iraq and ultimately Afghanistan in defeat, the U.S. needs all the friends it can get. If he were the visionary we thought we elected in 2008, President Obama would surprise everyone by rethinking the issue and coming out in favor of a U.N. membership for Palestine. In so doing, he would help the U.S. recover some of its tarnished prestige and avoid a further descent into global isolation and opprobrium.”

    James Zogby
    A Disturbing and Dangerous Week at the U.N.
    “This was a disturbing and dangerous week at the United Nations. After all the drama leading up to this session of the General Assembly, we come away with three troubling facts clearly established: the Palestinians, despite a valiant effort, are no closer to a state; the Israelis are more isolated, yet more emboldened than before; while the United States emerges from the week weaker and less trusted as a world leader.”


    Motivating enemies: Interventionists and the UN veto

    By mike | Published: September 21, 2011

    For most of a decade I have said in books, articles, interviews, and speeches that America’s war with the growing Islamist movement is motivated by the Islamists’ belief that U.S. foreign policy is an attack on their faith and brethren. Generally, this effort has been akin to yelling into a closet. The dominance of pro-Saudi and especially pro-Israel political influence and money in both political parties, the media, and the academy is just too strong to allow more than fleeting opportunities to tell Americans that they — and their soldier-children — are and will continue to be at war because of the impact in the Muslim world of the foreign policy of Washington and its NATO allies.

    Steve Clemons over at Washington Note
    Obama Tells Palestinians to Stay in Back of Bus
    President Obama’s speech at the United Nations yesterday paled in comparison to the soaring, expectation raising addresses he gave early in his administration, particularly in Cairo, but also at past UN General Assembly gatherings. The President has lost his groove.

    Obama opened with FDR’s line that “We have got to make, not merely a peace, but a peace that will last.” This was the perfect set up line for the President to describe how the United States was going to reinvent its leadership in an increasingly complex world where the old rules are not working.

    President Obama could have described in his address a new set of global deals among the world’s last era powers and ones now rising — particularly Brazil, India, Turkey, China — and talked about the need for responsible stakeholders in the international system to deliver on a package of rights and opportunities for citizens of the world, perhaps a new Global Social Compact that America could help design but which would need to be supported, ratified if you will, by other of the world’s great powers.

  4. seafoid
    September 29, 2011, 12:27 pm

    Human rights are for Jews only in Erez Israel. That is what Torah says. Anyone who belongs to Amalek has no rights. There are 22 other countries for them and the Jews only have one state. The Christians have murdered far more people than Israel. Poland is atrocious in this regard.
    Torah supercedes Israel’s international treaty obligations.

    • Mndwss
      September 29, 2011, 1:53 pm

      If Susan Rice loose the ability to speak when trying to veto……

      Will the next Great Revolt be against Emperor Obama?

      Will the next edition of the Talmud say that Obama died from:

      “an insect flew into Obamas (Titus’s) nose and picked at his brain for seven years. He noticed that the sound of a blacksmith hammering caused the ensuing pain to abate, so he paid for blacksmiths to hammer nearby him; however, the effect wore off and the insect resumed its gnawing. When he died, they opened his skull and found the insect had grown to the size of a bird. The Talmud gives this as the cause of his death and interprets it as divine retribution for his wicked actions.”

      Religion has an answer for everything.

      • Real Jew
        Real Jew
        September 29, 2011, 6:46 pm

        Sounds good. Let’s go find some brain eating insects and slip them in Obama’s and Netanyahu’s nose. Lol. However I’m afraid somebody may have already beaten us to it considering the behavior both have recently displayed.

      • Chaos4700
        September 29, 2011, 10:47 pm

        Obama would be luckier if the insect tried to attack his heart, the President has demonstrated aptly that he doesn’t use it anyway.

    • DBG
      September 30, 2011, 3:27 pm

      That’s funny considering Israel was founded by secularists.

  5. Hostage
    September 30, 2011, 3:01 pm

    Responsibility falls upon the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), as drafters of the relevant resolutions, to initiate the procedures recommended by the 16th Session of the Human Rights Council. Should the PLO choose not to pursue the accountability process initiated by the Report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission – at the expense of the Statehood initiative – this will amount to the prioritisation of political processes over victims’ fundamental rights

    That’s a completely bizarre suggestion. The PLO gave up on the UN system and filed its own criminal complaint directly with the ICC years ago. It did that because the General Assembly failed to act upon Operation Cast Lead during its 10th Emergency Special Session. The PA accepted the Court’s jurisdiction for crimes committed by both sides on the territory of Palestine. The UN General Assembly could have given legal force to that request at any time by simply upgrading the status of Palestine to a non-member observer state. It could have done that in-line with the 1988 Algiers unilateral declaration of statehood made by the PLO and acknowledged in other General Assembly resolutions. Oddly enough, it is the international community that has always given statehood priority over human or victims rights.

    The responsibility for taking action on official UN fact finding reports containing allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes rests with the UN, not outside organizations. It can’t possibly depend upon the initiative of a non-member entity, much less one of the accused parties. For decades the UN organization has blocked the PLO from signing its human rights covenants, thus undermining the very concept of universal human rights. In fact, the UN has failed to take any action on repeated reports from the occupying power that human rights and humanitarian rights do not accrue to Palestinians under international law.

    Palestine was one of the non-member states of the Human Rights Council which requested that the General Assembly take action and forward the report to the Security Council.

    The General Assembly should act on that request from its own subordinate organ. The 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly was reconvened to deal with Operation Cast Lead. It should be reconvened again if the Security Council fails to refer the Goldstone report to the ICC.

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