UNHRC says Israel wants human rights review postponed
AP, Jan 16 2013
The UNHRC is concerned that Jerusalem will not fully participate in a routine review of its record, a spokesman said Tuesday. All UN member states are required to submit to review by the UNHRC, but Israel said last year it would stop cooperating because of UN plans for an international fact-finding mission to look at Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Israel appeared to be opening the door to cooperation when its ambassador Eviatar Manor spoke to the president of the council last week for the first time since cutting ties, but he then asked for the Jan 29 review to be postponed and skipped a Monday meeting to discuss the situation, according to spokesman Rolando Gomez. In 2009, Obama reversed the Bush administration’s refusal to join the UNHRC. Since then, Israel has gone through one review, in 2008, when more than 50 delegations commented exhaustively on its record and many demanded it recognize and respect Palestinians’ right to self-determination and a homeland. At a meeting Monday, Gomez said, several nations stressed the “utmost importance to preserve the credibility and integrity” of the process, in which all 193 UN member states accept an examination of their human rights record every four years. The council hopes to get a written explanation of Manor’s request for a delay in the review process, which is to be led by diplomats from Venezuela, Sierra Leone and Maldives, he said. No immediate comment was available from Israel’s UN mission in Geneva. US State Dept spokesman Vasquez said Tuesday:We aren’t aware of any official statement from the government of Israel about whether or not it will participate in the review. We think it’s important for all UN member states to participate. This is an opportunity to report every four years on the human rights conditions in each of our countries and receive non-binding recommendations on how to improve those conditions. We also think it is important to maintain our staunch opposition to the council’s anti-Israel bias. It does not serve the interests of the council to single out any one country in an unbalanced manner.
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