Recently Mrs. Navanethem Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, spoke before the Permanent Committee on Human Rights of the Foreign Affairs Committee, on which I sit as Vice President.
I would like to voice my surprise for what I heard from Mrs Pillay - a feeling that I expressed very clearly to her – still thanking her for her informative visit.
The Commissioner interpreted the meeting as an opportunity to harshly criticize Italy’s policies on immigration and what she considers as the criminalization of illegal immigration.
She voiced the same criticism on the policies concerning the Roma people, and invited the Members of the Chamber of Deputies to justify themselves, indeed to clear themselves. This request was rejected by both the right and the left wing. Many members felt the need to ask the Commissioner some questions about the Organization where she serves, because it is deemed to be extremely problematic for its poor performace and its intolerable partisanship.
The UN Human Rights Council, which reports to her, stems from the discredited Commission on Human Rights, from 2003, chaired by a human rights champions such as Libya, was dissolved by Kofi Annan in 2006 after having devoted much of its work to defend almost all dictators in the world rather than dissidents.
Right from the start, the Council reproduced the same automatic Muslim and third-world oriented majorities, so that now - always because of these predetermined majorities – Iranmay join the club next June. It has a strong candidacy in the frame of the Asian regional bloc, the other candidates being Thailand, Qatar, Malaysia and the Maldives.
The Iranian dissident, Caspar ****, who was also the boyfriend of Neda Soltan, the heroine of freedom killed in Teheran last June, will be hosted by the Italian Parliament next week. When he was recently in Geneva to participate in a human rights summit, he asked the Council to prevent such outrage that, and I quote, “would undermine the credibility of the United Nations and would only give Iran the legitimacy to go even further with the violation of human rights”.
Further, out of 33 charges on the violation of human rights issued by the Human Rights Council since 2006, 27 have been against Israel; the same holds true for the promotion of the “Durban Review Conference,” known as “Durban II,” theoretically against racism, but in practice against Israel. The error-riddled Goldstone’s report on the war between Hamas and Israel last year was also one of the “achievements” of the Council.
High Commissioner Pillay answered in a determined and somewhat aggressive manner, stressing that all member Countries have the same rights, including Iran, and that no one is perfect; that there are Countries which violate human rights more than others and that Italy should not play the role of the supreme judge.
From this perspective, the 2003 Libyan Presidency of the previous Commission was not at all strange for Mrs. Pillay.
Then she spoke about Israel, completely insensitive to the all too clear data showing the Council’s hammering approach against this Country. She said that she often hears these observations but that she is not impressed. She stated that, in her opinion, that two countries have been basic violators of human rights: South Africa for the apartheid and Israel for the occupation. She concluded that the apartheid is over while the occupation is still under way, and this is the reason that led to a long list of sanctions against Israel.
Do you understand this link – Apartheid and Israel -- that Mrs. Pillay made should be a a major concern for all of us, like the “apartheid week” that the extremists on the Campuses devote to the Jewish State. It recalls President Jimmy Carter’s book of “facts” that are not correct, and “Zionism equal to racism” of the 1975 U.N. Resolution. And it is the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that is proposing this linkage again today.
Mrs. Pillay did not say a word about Iran, North Korea, Burma, China and Sudan, the autocratic countries where it is forbidden to be Christian and Jewish and even to live a decent and full life if you are a woman.
Notwithstanding our appeal, no one promised that, in June, Iran will not join the Council. On the contrary, it seems that this is a concrete possibility for the future.
*translated by Silvia Pallottino