At the start of the UN Human Rights Council’s 37th session, the US criticized the council for its inequitable policies. “It is unacceptable that the HRC treats Israel differently from every other UN member,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of International Organizations Mary Catherine Phee.







US President Donald Trump address the UN General Assembly

US President Donald Trump address the UN General Assembly Photo Credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO

As the United Nations Human Rights Council met this week in Geneva for the start of its 37th session, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of International Organizations Mary Catherine Phee criticized the council for its biased treatment of Israel and for allowing severe human rights abusers to speak.

“It is unacceptable that the HRC treats Israel differently from every other UN member. The institutional integrity of the Council demands that the efforts to delegitimize and isolate Israel through such blatant bias must end,” Phee said.

Phee brought up several issues, notably the UNHRC mandate that Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians in the West Bank must be debated at each session (Agenda Item 7) and the fact that Iranian Justice Minsiter Seyyed Alireza Avaei was allowed to speak during Tuesday’s high level segment.

“The charter itself says the UN organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members.  That is not the case when the special rapporteur’s mandate on the Occupied Palestinian Territories – unlike every other Council mandate – never requires renewal,” Phee said.

All global human rights abuses are debated under Agenda Item 4, while Israeli abuses must be debated under Agenda Item 7. Infamous abusers like Syria and Iran appear under Item 4. Furthermore, not one of the countries that is considered to be serial human rights abusers has a permanent investigator assigned to them.

Last year, when US President Donald Trump took office, he threatened to withdraw from the council if it continued with its flagrant anti-Israel bias. His administration has yet to make good on the threat.