— by Hillel Neuer
After decades of being excluded from all of the UN Human Rights Council’s regional groups in Geneva, Israel will be formally invited to join the Western group on Monday. This is a historic, milestone victory for the cause of equality, a memorable step forward in the long struggle ahead against injustice at the United Nations. UN Watch salutes Israel on its diplomatic achievement, and expresses special gratitude to Canada, the UK, France, Germany and the US for playing a key role in ending one form of bias within the pattern and practice of anti-Israel prejudice at the UN.
More after the jump.
For two decades UN Watch fought publicly and privately to overturn the blatantly discriminatory practice whereby the Jewish state was segregated -— in direct violation of the UN Charter’s equality guarantee — into a category of its own, the only nation excluded from a regional group. It’s gratifying to see this victory today. Contrary to several news reports, admission to WEOG in Geneva is unrelated to membership on the 47-nation council. And regrettably it will not detract from the Arab states’ continued ability to target Israel in resolutions, urgent sessions and a special agenda item. Rather, WEOG admission will allow Israel to participate together with all 192 other UN member states in receiving regular briefings, and to have its small say in the selection of council investigators, known as special rapporteurs. More than anything, what regional group admission means for Israel is a sign of equal treatment — the removal of a symbol of bigotry and of an ugly stain upon the reputation of the UN.
Hillel Neuer is the executive director of UN Watch. UN Watch is a Geneva-based human rights organization founded in 1993 to monitor UN compliance with the principles of its Charter.