The United Nations has opened itself to ridicule once again with the absurd spectacle of Syria taking over the presidency of the global body’s Conference on Disarmament, the 65-nation forum that produced the treaty banning chemical weapons.
The U.S. ambassador to the conference, Robert Woods, called Syria’s assumption of the rotating leadership on Monday “one of the darkest days” in the panel’s history.
Syria, which has been accused by Western nations of using chemical weapons on its citizens, “has neither the credibility nor moral authority” to preside over the conference, said Woods.
The non-governmental, Geneva-based watchdog United Nations Watch launched a petition calling on Britain, France, Germany, Canada and other Western nations to instruct their ambassadors to walk out of the conference during the four weeks of the Syrian presidency.
“Having the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad preside over global chemical and nuclear weapons disarmament will be like putting a serial rapist in charge of a women’s shelter,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of United Nations Watch.
Neuer said the Assad regime’s “documented use of chemical weapons remains the most serious violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention in the treaty’s 20-year history.”
“We urge the U.N. to understand that at a time when Syria is gassing its own men, women, and children to death, to see Syria heading the world body that is supposed to protect these victims will simply shock the conscience of humanity.”
The New York Times, noted the Powerline blog, called the presidency of a U.N. body “occupied by a government that has used chemical weapons against civilians … a blow to the group’s public image.”
The membership and behavior of the U.N.’s standing committees, particularly toward Israel, was spotlighted in a letter to the U.N. last year signed by all 100 U.S. senators, WND reported.
“Most troubling,” the senators wrote, “is the United Nations Human Rights Council … whose membership currently includes some of the world’s worst human rights violators.”
On Wednesday, Kuwait blocked a U.S.-drafted U.N. Security Council statement that would have strongly condemned Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on Israel, the Times of Israel reported.
WND reported in March Saudi Arabia began a four-year term on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Iran was elected to a four-year term on the commission in 2014.
Saudi Arabia also was re-elected to the U.N. Human Rights Council, where it influences various mechanisms, resolutions and initiatives affecting the rights of women worldwide. In October 2017, Qatar, Pakistan, DR Congo, Afghanistan and Angola were elected to the committee.
When Iran was elected to a four-year term on the women’s commission in 2014, Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, declared: “This election farce has real consequences.”