Sunday, October 18, 2009

How did the democracies and the dictatorships vote in UN Human Rights Council resolution against Israel?

Robin Shepherd
Think Tank Blog
17 October 09

I’m not going to waste everyone’s time with a detailed breakdown of Friday’s farce at the United Nations in which the laughably named “Human Rights Council” passed a resolution against Israel and affirmed the notoriously skewed and distorted Goldstone Report on Gaza. Israel bashing is what it is. We’ve seen it all before and we’ll see it again.

What interests me today is less the “what”? and the “why”? than the “who”? For we know that sickness and depravity over Israel is par for the course these days at the United Nations. What matters more is who participates in it, who turns a blind eye and who has the courage to stand up and confront it.

So let’s see how countries supporting the resolution, opposing it, abstaining from it or not voting stand up on a group by group basis when compared to their freedom rankings by Freedom House. The countries which voted in favour of the resolution were as follows.

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.

The countries which voted against are as follows:

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

The countries which abstained are as follows:

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

The countries which did not vote are as follows:

Angola, France, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar and Britain

Among the supporters of the resolution, the presence of so many despotisms as well as many others that are ranked by Freedom House as only “partly free” speaks for itself. Countries ranked as “not free” by Freedom House in the group are: China, Cuba, Egypt, Qatar, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Partly free countries in the group are: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Djibouti, Jordan, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Zambia. Of the 25 countries who voted against Israel 17 (68 %) are either outright despotisms or are seedy and corrupt pseudo-democracies.

Among those which opposed the resolution it is noteworthy that for all the criticism visited against the Obama administration the outstanding name in the group is the United States of America. It is also worth noting that all states in the group are democracies and all (100%) are ranked in the top category for freedom by Freedom House.

Among the abstainers it’s a bit of a mixed bag: Bosnia-Herzogovina, Burkina Faso, Gabon (partly free); Cameroon (not free); the rest (free). So of the 11 abstainers 36% are not free.

Among those who didn’t vote it is, once again, a mixed bag: Angola, (not free); Krgyzstan, Madagascar (partly free); Britain and France (free). In other words, 60% of this group do not meet the standard of being a free country according to the Freedom House framework.

For the record, Israel resides in Freedom House’s top category as a fully free country.

Now, one can play with statistics endlessly and there are many other ways of breaking down voting patterns in the UN Human Rights Council.

I just have one question at this stage: what were Britain and France doing in the bathroom with Angola, Kyrgyzstan and Madagascar while some of the worst dictatorships in the world were passing a resolution against Israel’s human rights record?

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