April 7, 2022
OTTAWA – B’nai Brith Canada applauds today’s historic vote at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which suspended Russia from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The UNGA voted 93-24, with 58 abstentions, thereby reaching the 2/3 majority of voting members required to adopt the unprecedented motion of suspending a UNHRC member.
B’nai Brith supports the measure in light of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the increasing evidence of Russian war crimes against Ukrainian civilians.
Although B’nai Brith supports this latest decision, we note the UNHRC requires further reform to align it with the expectations of the Canadian taxpayers who contribute to its funding. B’nai Brith is concerned that human-rights abusers occupy UNHRC seats.
“UNHRC election rules must change,” said Marvin Rotrand, National Director of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights. “Over the years, human-rights violators such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, among others, have served on the Council. Public confidence has been eroded and the UNHRC agenda has been hijacked by vile antisemitism and obsession with Israel.”
The UNHRC has censured Israel, the Middle East’s only democratic country, more often than all other countries combined. The motives behind such obsession with Israel puzzles fair-minded Canadians and B’nai Brith Canada.
B’nai Brith has denounced the recently formed UNHRC Commission of Inquiry investigating Israel’s actions in the Palestinian Territories and Jerusalem. Commission Chair Navi Pillay admits to having signed a boycott-Israel petition, having called Israel an apartheid state and having accused Israel of being guilty of the very crimes she is supposed to objectively and impartially investigate.
“Pillay and this Commission epitomize all that is wrong with the UNHRC. Its agenda is driven by dictatorships and antisemites,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “Expelling Russia will help, but other human rights violators remain, demonstrating that more fundamental reform is needed. The UNHRC needs to protect victims of genocide and repression in countries like Myanmar, not fixate on attacking the Jewish state for defending itself against terrorists who would destroy it.”
B’nai Brith appreciates recent comments on this topic from the Office of Bob Rae, Canadian Ambassador to the UN.