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Bidding Goodbye to Ban-Ki Moon

James Marlow, London

The Secretary-General leaves behind a legacy of acting in breach of his own charter

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

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SELECTIVE CONCERN “Given the nature of the position and the pressure of 56 Islamic nations who have huge leverage — regularly pushing to condemn Israel — it’s not surprising [Ban Ki-Moon] acts with selective concern for human rights,” said Director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, at a recent appearance at University College London (UCL) (Photos: AFP/Imagebank)

A s Ban Ki-moon’s term as United Nations Secretary General concludes at the end of the month, he is likely to leave a legacy as another UN head who acted with selective concern for human rights. Director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, summed up his tenure succinctly when he explained that the Secretary General recently removed Saudi Arabia from a report entitled: “Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict,” because the oil-rich Kingdom threatened to halt all funding to UN agencies if it was published.

In the report, Saudi Arabia was accused of killing some 600 children during airstrikes on Iranian-backed Shia Houthi rebels fighting against the internationally recognized government of Yemen. But Ban Ki-moon, in what the New York Times called an “unusually frank admission,” told journalists during a news conference last June he had no choice but to delete Saudi’s involvement to avoid a loss of finance for humanitarian operations in the Palestinian territories, South Sudan, and Syria.

“Given the nature of the position and the pressure of 56 Islamic nations who have huge leverage — regularly pushing to condemn Israel — it’s not surprising he acts with selective concern for human rights,” said Neuer, at a recent appearance at University College London (UCL).

Neuer noted that Ban Ki-moon did not display an anti-Israel bias when he assumed the position of Secretary General in January 2007, but clearly caved in under ongoing, intense pressure from the Arab and Islamist member states.

Neuer ticked off a laundry list of bias from just this year alone at UN agencies. In March, the UN hosted its annual Status of Women conference in New York. Rather than criticize or condemn the arrest of hundreds of thousands of women in Saudi Arabia and Iran for modesty crimes or even mention the thousands of women forced to undergo mutilation throughout Africa and Asia, it chose to condemn only one country — Israel — for violating women’s rights.

Hillel Neuer: “The UN is not only unfair, but it is in breach of its own charter, which says the UN will guarantee the equal treatment of all nations”

That same month, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva adopted five resolutions against Israel and just one each against Syria, North Korea, Iran, and South Sudan. In May, at the 69th annual World Health Assembly, UN member states condemned only Israel for violating health rights, despite Russian and Syrian bombing of the last operating hospitals in Aleppo.

Finally, in October, UNESCO adopted a resolution stating Jerusalem had no historic connection to the Jewish people.

“The UN is not only unfair, but it is in breach of its own charter, which says the UN will guarantee the equal treatment of all nations,” Neuer said.

So when Ban Ki-moon leaves office at the end of this month, his term will likely be remembered — not for upholding human rights or protecting the vulnerable — but for backing those countries that single out Israel.

And that, for Israel supporters, may be Ban Ki-moon’s legacy.

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