Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07USUNNEWYORK113
2007-02-09 19:37:00
UNCLASSIFIED
USUN New York
Cable title:  

ISRAEL AND JUSCANZ DISCUSS UN HUMAN RIGHTS

Tags:  PHUM UNGA 
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RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1448
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 6203
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 0708
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0895
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0783
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1390
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 8274
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 2743
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2515
UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000113 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM UNGA
SUBJECT: ISRAEL AND JUSCANZ DISCUSS UN HUMAN RIGHTS
MECHANISMS

Summary
-------
UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000113

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM UNGA
SUBJECT: ISRAEL AND JUSCANZ DISCUSS UN HUMAN RIGHTS
MECHANISMS

Summary
--------------

1.(U) USUN hosted a meeting January 30 to give Israel an
opportunity to share views on the human rights mechanisms at
the UN with members of JUSCANZ, a group from which they
remain officially excluded. Representatives of ten countries
joined the U.S. Mission Third Committee team for lunch to
share thoughts on the recently-concluded Third Committee
session. List of participants follows in para 8. Israel's
low-keyed but informative participation was warmly welcomed,
and participants urged that the same group meet again
periodically to share human rights observations and
strategies, particularly 2-3 months prior to the fall
commencement of the UNGA Third Committee.


2. (U) Discussion centered around attitudes toward
country-specific resolutions, the relationship between the
Third Committee and the Human Rights Council (HRC),the
treatment of thematic issues, the participation of Special
Rapporteurs in Third Committee, and ways to build coalitions
with moderate states. Following is a read-out of views
expressed.

Country-Specific Resolutions
--------------


3. (U) The relatively late introduction of country-specific
resolutions created difficulties for delegations this year.
More widespread prior consultation about the introduction of
country-specific resolutions, including prioritization of
which country situations to address and whether they should
be dealt with in Third Committee and/or in the Human Rights
Council (HRC),would be useful and appreciated by partners.
Several delegations questioned why JUSCANZ had declined to
run a resolution on Sudan. Others observed that prior
consultations with moderates within the NAM regarding
country-specific resolutions might have resulted in more
support, especially in reducing the number of abstentions on
no-action motions advocated by Cuba and Belarus. In past
years, consultations with the target country (such as Burma
and DRCongo) had resulted in consensus resolutions and even
some understanding/admission of conditions that needed to be
changed by the country in question, albeit the texts were
consequently weaker in their wording.

Third Committee-HRC Relationship
--------------


4. (U) Several delegations felt that the HRC had served to
embolden hard-core NAM members to more militantly resist
country-specific resolutions and to exacerbate in general the

contentious atmosphere in Third Committee. If the institution
matures, two delegates said there might be an improved
likelihood of dealing with country situations in the HRC.
Otherwise, the HRC will remain dysfunctional and indeed will
continue to complicate the work of the Third Committee. The
appearance of the President of the HRC before the GA Plenary
had set a good precedent for future GA discussions of the
responsibilities of the HRC, several delegations agreed.
This year, the timing of holding HRC sessions immediately
before and after the Third Committee session impinged on the
ability of capitals to prepare their missions in New York.
Delegations, as well as their human rights offices within
foreign ministries, felt somewhat overwhelmed by the
convergence of these almost back-to-back human rights events.
They saw no near-term relief in sight for this workload
issue.

Thematic Issues
--------------


5. (U) Serious discussion of thematic issues was given short
shrift in the Third Committee. On the one hand, NAM members
presented a greater number of contentious resolutions that
came to a vote, often on thematic standards. The proportion
of voted resolutions in 2006 rose to 42 percent, over 34
percent in 2005. On the other hand, the opportunity for
meaningful discussion of reports such as the
Secretary-General's report on violence against women, or the

SIPDIS
Pinheiro report on violence against children, was minimal,
given that most delegates were engaged in informal


consultations when plenary debates occurred. It was
suggested that as a universal body, the Third Committee could
better focus on norms and themes, while the HRC could
potentially concentrate on country situations. Several
countries asserted that the role of the Third Committee in
setting thematic standards far outweighed its value in other
areas, including condemnation of specific countries. Others
countered, however, that because the HRC composition was not
currently conducive to setting standards or to condemning
human rights violators, the Third Committee needed to
continue to focus on the political priority of country
situations rather than standard-setting. A plea was made for
delegations to moderate their positions on "hobby-horse"
issues that increased divisiveness in Third Committee (such
as the death penalty and the ICC.)

Special Rapporteurs
--------------


6. (U) The participation of Special Rapporteurs in Third
Committee this year came too closely on the heels of similar
HRC discussions to be very useful. This was exacerbated by
the absence of expert delegates from the sessions with
Special Rapporteurs, as they were usually engaged in informal
consultations. The Secretariat found it hard to predict
which Rapporteurs would elicit the most questions and
therefore needed more time for their inter-active dialogue.
The Committee Bureau, after discussion, had decided against
selectivity in inviting Rapporteurs. As almost all
Rapporteurs offended at least some Member States, giving the
Bureau a role in vetting the Rapporteurs could lead to a
sharp diminution in the number who were invited, and
consequently, a less meaningful discussion of human rights
norms and practices. It was suggested that, in order to
optimize the interaction with Rapporteurs and decide which
ones needed more time, it could be helpful to create a
speakers list beforehand.

Coalition-building
--------------


7. (U) Prior consultation with moderate/swing NAM states
about priorities for Third Committee could lead to more
support. Such consultations would need to take place well in
advance of the Third Committee, to give smaller delegations
the opportunity to formulate policies that were not simply in
lock-step with the NAM leadership, which Cuba will lead for
the next three years. A few JUSCANZ members mentioned that
they had not been consulted prior to introduction of
country-specific resolutions, and their support seemed to be
taken for granted. Several expressed appreciation for the US
initiative to engage in this round of post-mortem
brainstorming, and they thoroughly accepted the presence of
Israel. They urged that this group get together again on a
regular basis and particularly some 2-3 months in advance of
Third Committee.


8. (U) Participants included delegates from Andorra,
Australia, Canada (JUSCANZ Chair),Israel, Japan,
Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, San
Marino, and Switzerland. All of these countries, except
Israel, are members of the Third Committee JUSCANZ group that
meets throughout the Committee session to share information.
While Israel has long sought inclusion, this year New Zealand
and Switzerland adamantly blocked Israel's entry on grounds
that Israel's human rights situation was deficient.

Comment
--------------


9. (U) Inclusion of an Israeli delegate at the USUN luncheon
was constructive and accomplished without fanfare. It may be
useful to convene this group periodically, and particularly
some two to three months prior to the next Third Committee
(i.e., in June or July),to review US and others' priorities
for country-specific and other human rights resolutions in
the 62nd UNGA session. Without encroaching on the JUSCANZ
Chair's prerogatives, we will continue to try to enlist the
support of JUSCANZ and Israel, together.




WOLFF