Posted tagged ‘UN Human RIghts Council’

The Rogue’s Gallery at the UN Human Rights Council

September 17, 2017

The Rogue’s Gallery at the UN Human Rights Council | Anne’s Opinions, 17th September 2017

In the unlikely event that we might have forgotten what the UN is really about (hint: it is not all sweetness and light, or democracy and peace), here is UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer to remind us, as he reports on last week’s Human Rights Wrongs Council debating imposing sanctions on dictatorships. The panel of course was populated by a rogue’s gallery of dictators:

Even within the rogues’ gallery that is the U.N. human rights Council, today’s council panel attacking Western democracies for imposing sanctions on dictatorships was the mother of all rogues’ galleries.

The panelists:

1. Lead panelist was UN expert Idriss Jazairy, who described Putin’s Russia as a human rights victim. Coincidentally, as UN Watch revealed today, Jazairy received $50,000 from the Russian government. As Algerian ambassador to UN, he once said “antisemitism targets Arabs.”

2. Alena Douhan, a Belarus academic with a soft spot for Russia, whose doctorate was on the principle of “non-interference” in countries’ “internal affairs.”

3. Alfred de Zayas, the Cuban-appointed expert for a “democratic and equitable international order.” Zayas has defended Iran’s right to nuclear weapons, and writes books claiming Germany suffered a “genocide” in 1945. Zayas is a hero to Holocaust deniers.

4. Jean Ziegler, co-founder & 2002 recipient of the Qaddafi Human Rights Prize. In his presentation, Ziegler actually defended the murderous Maduro regime of Venezuela, which he said was being victimized by a U.S. “economic war.”

5. Panel Chair: the ambassador of Venezuela’s Maduro regime, Jorge Romero. He effusively thanked Ziegler for his kind words.

6. Peggy Hicks, a top official in the office of UN high commissioner Zeid, delivered the opening statement. A former Human Rights Watch official, we hoped she would provide a dissenting voice. Instead, she echoed the same line. And when Ziegler spouted pro-Maduro propaganda, Hicks was silent.

Welcome to the U.N. human rights council.

Watch the video:

 

UN Watch was also busy with Venezuelan opposition figures who held a panel objecting to the plenary address by the Venezuelan Foreign Minister at the Human Rights Council:

GENEVA, Sept. 11, 2017 – Venezuelan opposition figures, family members of political prisoners, and human rights activists gathered today at the 47-nation U.N. human rights council to refute the plenary address by foreign minister Jorge Arreaza.

Venezuelan opposition figures, family members of political prisoners, and human rights activists protest the plenary address of the Venezuelan FM at the Human Rights Council

UN Watch, the Geneva-based non-governmental human rights group, together with Venezuela por Iniciative, organized a panel of leading Venezuelan voices, at a side event held below the human rights council chamber, to represent the views of the pro-democracy opposition.

UN Watch has submitted a draft resolution (en español) calling or the suspension of Venezuela from the UNHRC, which has been published as an official UN document. Executive director Hillel Neuer urged member states, especially Peru on behalf of the Lima Group, to adopt a resolution.

Diego Arria, the former Venezuelan ambassador to the UN and Security Council president, called for the dictator Nicolas Maduro to be indicted by the International Criminal Court. Click here for Arria speech | En Español

Julieta Lopez, aunt of pro-democracy leader and political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez. Click for speech.

Rosaura Valentini, wife of political prisoner Yon Goiechocheca, said people are completely dehumanized. Child mortality declined to 1950s figures. Elderly die for lack of essential drugs. There is widepsread malnutrition. Mayors have been taken prisoner, despite having been chosen by the vote of the people. Violinist playing music was also taken as a prisoner. Hundreds of protesters are taken as prisoners. Click here for UNHRC plenary speech.

Unfortunately it appears that UN Watch’s appeal to bar the Venezuelan Foreign Minister has fallen on deaf ears at the UN HRC. Sadly that was unsurprising. Our expectations from that rogues gallery of villains could hardly sink any lower.

Nevertheless Hillel Neuer and UN Watch have to be commended for their unstinting work in pursuing dictators and tyrants at the UN, showcasing their bias and hypocrisy for all the world to see.

US To UN Human Rights Council: End Anti-Israeli Bias Or We’re Out

June 5, 2017

US To UN Human Rights Council: End Anti-Israeli Bias Or We’re Out, Daily Caller, Ted Goodman, June 5, 2017

(If we remain in the Council, at least we will continue to get a heads-up about what it is about to do and may be able to have at least a minimal impact. Withdrawing all US funding would be a good idea whether we remain in or leave.– DM)

The U.S. is expected to issue an ultimatum to the United Nations Human Rights Council Tuesday: either remove anti-Israeli bias or America may withdraw.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said Saturday that Washington would decide whether to withdraw after a three-week session in Geneva, Switzerland wraps up this month, according to Reuters.

“When the council passes more than 70 resolutions against Israel, a country with a strong human rights record, and just seven resolutions against Iran, a country with an abysmal human rights record, you know something is seriously wrong,” Haley said in a Washington Post op-ed.

U.S. Diplomat Michele Sison spoke out against what the U.S. considers “unfair singling out of Israel” during a closed session of the U.N. Security Council May 24. The U.S. has long been a critic of the council, leading to a three-year boycott from 2006 to 2009 under former President George W. Bush.

The Trump administration took issue with the most recent U.N. report that asserted Israel was endangering the territorial viability of a potential sovereign Palestine by vastly accelerating the pace of housing announcements for Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The U.S. historically vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions that condemned Israel for years. That pattern changed in December when former President Barack Obama’s administration allowed a critical resolution to take effect by abstaining rather than vetoing the resolution.

Western nations and allies are responding now that the Trump administration is putting the U.N. on notice. Eight groups, according to Reuters, wrote to Haley in May, saying that withdrawal would actually hurt Israel more than it would help, according to Reuters.

Haley made it clear that the U.S. is looking for the U.N. to make some changes within the Council in order for it to feel comfortable as a member.

Haley also asserted that membership on the Council must be determined through competitive voting, in order to keep human rights abusers from obtaining seats. “As it stands, regional blocs nominate candidates that are uncontested,” she explained in the op-ed. “Competition would force a candidate’s human rights record to be considered before votes were cast.”

UN Watch Fires Back at Countries Accusing Israel of Abuses, ‘Where are your Jews?

March 24, 2017

UN Watch Fires Back at Countries Accusing Israel of Abuses, ‘Where are your Jews? Washington Free Beacon, March 24, 2017

UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer shot back at countries accusing Israel of apartheid and violence against Palestinians, asking them where the Jewish populations in their countries have gone.

During a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, several Middle Eastern countries took turns bashing Israel, saying that it has imposed apartheid and violence against Palestinians. A Palestinian representative was joined by Qatar, Sudan, Syria, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in criticizing Israel.

Neuer was then recognized to respond to the accusations from the representatives, as well as those from a UN report.

“Everything we just heard, from the world’s worst abusers of human rights, of women’s rights, of freedom of religion, of the press, of assembly, of speech, is absolutely false and indeed Orwellian,” Neuer said.

As Neuer went to defend Israel, the Palestinian representative attempted to make a point of order as he tried to silence Neuer’s rebuttal. Egypt and Pakistan joined the protest by the Palestinians. Neuer was allowed to continue.

“Israel’s 1.5 million Arabs, whatever challenges they face, enjoy full rights to vote and to be elected in the Knesset, they work as doctors and lawyers, they serve on the Supreme Court,” Neuer said.

Neuer then went directly after Israel’s accusers.

“How many Jews live in your countries? How many Jews lived in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco?” Neuer pointed out. “Once upon a time, the Middle East was full of Jews.”

Neuer went through a list of those countries asking, “Where are your Jews?” after stating how many Jews used to live there.

“Where is the apartheid, Mr. President?” Neuer asked.

“Why are we meeting today on an agenda item singling out only one state, the Jewish state, for targeting? Where is the apartheid, Mr. President?” Neuer said.

For a substantial amount of time following Neuer’s remarks, the council was silent.

The Saudis at the UN Human Rights Council

December 23, 2016

The Saudis at the UN Human Rights Council, Gatestone InstituteGiulio Meotti, December 23, 2016

(Isn’t it time to give humanitarian Iran a seat? Perhaps instead of re-electing Saudi Arabia next time it should be Iran’s turn. Or perhaps North Korea’s. — DM)

While the medieval Saudi system of justice was flogging the gentle blogger Raif Badawi 50 out of the stipulated 1000 lashes, a delegation of UN bureaucrats landed in Jeddah to promote an international conference on religious freedom.

The Saudis use these international seats to advance their oppressive agenda, and to press the Western democracies to punish criticism of Islam.

Through the shameful trial of Geert Wilders, Dutch authorities sent a message of surrender to the Saudis and other rogue Islamic regimes that punish dissent.

Did the Dutch prosecute Wilders on behalf of the Saudis, who threatened to impose sanctions on the Netherlands?

The UN and the Western democracies are putting the defense of human rights and freedom in the hands of one the world’s worst violators of religious and intellectual freedom.

Sharia courts are already fully operating in the Netherlands. They know something about “human rights”: stoning, flogging and chopping off heads.

Who will rescue our right to speak?

 

“My husband has been languishing in a Saudi prison since June 17th, 2012. Our children live with me in the city of Sherbrooke, Québec in Canada. They have not seen their father for five years now… On January 9, 2015, Raif received the first 50 lashes… Will members of the United Nations Human Rights Council join the European Parliament and ask for Raif’s release?”

Unfortunately, the UN members did not respond to this appeal by Ensaf Haidar, the fearless wife of the most famous blogger of the Arab world, the gentle Raif Badawi, imprisoned and flogged by the Saudis for his secular ideas. A few days after Ensaf’s appeal, the United Nations welcomed Badawi’s executioners, the Saudis, at the UN Human Rights Council. The Saudi representative, Abdulaziz Alwasil, will be decisive on three major issues at the UN Palace of Nations in Geneva: women, religious freedom and the system of justice.

What a great achievement for Saudi Arabia: The country flogs poets and bloggers, and its sheikhs have no other concern than filling their sumptuous palaces with wives and concubines, and then stoning them to death if they become “adulterous“. Saudi Arabia is where a Shiite cleric was publicly beheaded and where a Christian cannot wear a tunic or a cross.

The British government supported the Saudi bid to be re-elected at the Human Rights Council (British Prime Minister Theresa May was urged in vain to oppose the Saudi election to the Geneva body). The Obama Administration did the same: Samantha Powers, the U.S. ambassador at the UN, called the Saudi bid at the UN a “procedural position“.

Hillel Neuer, the director of UN Watch, captured the difference between realpolitik and the betrayal of Western values when he said: “Making an alliance with Stalin to stop Hitler is one thing; it’s quite another to say Stalin is a champion of human rights”.

A few days after the Saudi bid at the UN Human Rights Council, the Kingdom and the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights held a two-day workshop in the Saudi capital to discuss the “evolution of the concept of human rights in the framework of international and regional human rights systems”. Evolution of the concept human rights? Ask Raif Badawi, he knows better than the UN bureaucrats.

959Raif Badawi and his children, before he was jailed.

The Saudis use these international seats to advance their oppressive agenda, and to press the Western democracies to punish criticism of Islam. The Saudis, in fact, considered curbing trade with the Netherlands over Geert Wilders, who has just been found guilty in a court in The Hague for “inciting discrimination and insulting a minority group”. By asking at a public rally if people wanted “fewer Moroccans” in the Netherlands, Wilders was publicly declaring his alarm over the exploding crime rate by Moroccan Muslims in the country.

Through this shameful trial, the Dutch authorities sent a message of surrender to the Saudis and other rogue Islamic regimes which punish dissent. Did the Dutch prosecute Wilders on behalf of the Saudis, who threatened to impose sanctions on the Netherlands? It was reported that the Council of Saudi Chambers received a letter from higher Saudi authorities urging it not to involve Dutch companies in local projects either directly or indirectly.

The Saudis, through the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), have been pivotal in advancing the non-binding U.N. Resolution 62/154, “Combating defamation of religions”, which extends protection to opinions and to ideas, and grants people immunity from being “offended”.

This is exactly what happened with Wilders: he was on trial for stating his opinion, that there should be “fewer Moroccans” in the Netherlands. Some people said they were offended by that. Oddly, however, no one appears to have been offended by much worse remarks, said by politicians from the “Left”:

  • “We also have sh*t Moroccans over here.” Rob Oudkerk, Dutch Labour Party (PvDA) politician.
  • “We must humiliate Moroccans.” Hans Spekman, PvDA politician.
  • “Moroccans have the ethnic monopoly on trouble-making.” Diederik Samsom, PvDA politician.

The United Nations and the Western democracies are putting the defense of human rights and freedom in the hands of one the world’s worst violators of religious and intellectual freedom. Middle East expert Paul Marshall blasted the “ongoing campaign by the Saudi-based Organization of the Islamic Conference which has given the anti-blasphemy movement weight and traction”.

While the medieval Saudi system of justice was flogging the gentle blogger Raif Badawi 50 out of 1000 lashes, a delegation of UN bureaucrats landed in Jeddah to promote an international conference on religious freedom. No, it is not a joke. Joachim Rücker, President of the UN Human Rights Council, was photographed smiling side by side with the Wahhabi Islamic guardians. The Obama Administration sent two envoys to the Saudi conference, the ambassador for religious freedom, David Saperstein, and Arsalan Suleman, an envoy at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Also attending was Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN special envoy for religious freedom, a noted scholar of Immanuel Kant (how did the Enlightenment collapse so far, so fast?).

Women, Christians, secular bloggers, Western “blasphemers”, brave Dutch MPs: be warned! The muttawayyin, the Saudi religious police patrolling the Kingdom’s streets to ensure respect for the Koran, are already in Europe’s streets. Just ask France’s satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

A few days after 12 people were butchered at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, as well as four Jews at a grocery store, Saudi officials were allowed to march in Paris along with the terrorists’ victims and world leaders. And the Saudis had just flogged a blogger for “blasphemy”. Will Geert Wilders be next? Sharia courts are already fully operating in the Netherlands. They know something about “human rights”: stoning, flogging and chopping off heads.

But who will rescue our right to speak?

Obama sits while the UN moves toward a boycott of Israel

December 22, 2016

Obama sits while the UN moves toward a boycott of Israel, Washington Examiner, Anne Bayefsky, December 21, 2016

obamasitsonhandsWith Obama’s U.N. diplomats sitting on their hands while the funding scheme is being hotly debated, American taxpayers can expect to find themselves funding BDS in the very near future, with American businesses caught in the crosshairs. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

[Obama] prefers to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with human rights authorities on the Human Rights Council like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, China and Cuba. He is prepared to spend American taxpayer dollars to create a blacklist of companies doing business with the democratic state of Israel instead of the world’s most horrific regimes. A presidency spent courting moral relativism, forsaking U.S. allies, and indulging U.S. adversaries is about to reach its lowest point yet.

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U.S. companies are in for a shock as President Obama takes aim once again at Israel in the final month of his presidency. In the coming days, he is expected to direct his team at the United Nations to vote for U.S. funding of “BDS,” the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign aimed at financially ruining Israel and smearing the companies with which it does business.

The vote concerns the U.N. budget that is currently being negotiated and scheduled to be finalized this week. One of the line items provides funding for the implementation of a Human Rights Council resolution adopted in March. The resolution calls for the creation of a blacklist of companies around the world doing any business, directly or indirectly, connected to Israeli settlements. In effect, it launches a U.N.-sponsored BDS movement. Since the General Assembly holds the purse strings for the Human Rights Council’s operations, the time has come to allocate the money to pay for it.

With Obama’s U.N. diplomats sitting on their hands while the funding scheme is being hotly debated, American taxpayers can expect to find themselves funding BDS in the very near future, with American businesses caught in the crosshairs.

Israeli settlements consist of Jews living peaceful, productive lives on disputed territory whose ownership, by existing agreement, is to be determined through negotiations. This Jewish presence on Arab-claimed territory is offensive to a deeply anti-Semitic enemy that seeks to guarantee that land swapped in an eventual deal to create a Palestinian state will be Jew-free.

In the context of a Palestinian policy of ethnic cleansing, these Jewish farms, enterprises and schools are an “obstacle to peace,” to use the preferred verbiage of the United Nations and the Obama administration. The fact that Jews have repeatedly been moved in advance of a negotiated end to hostilities by their own government for the sake of peace, only to have those hopes dashed time and again, is simply dismissed.

The real obstacle to ending the Arab-Israeli conflict should be obvious after seven decades of non-stop war and terror since the minute of Israel’s creation. Arab rejectionists, on both the battlefield and diplomatic turf, consider all of Israel to be occupied territory and an illegal settlement from 1948 on. Rolling back the clock to the 1967 war is one stop on the way.

Those facts, however, will not intrude on Obama’s BDS calculus. He is an avid supporter of the Human Rights Council, one of the most extreme anti-Israel bodies at the United Nations. Joining the council was one of his first foreign policy initiatives. After serving two consecutive three-year terms starting in 2009, the rules required a one-year hiatus. Hence, the U.S. has not been a council member in 2016.

But attempting to rule from the grave, a week before the U.S. elections, Obama sought and obtained another three-year term to commence Jan. 1, 2017. As a council fan, he has no intention of objecting to funding it.

On the contrary, U.N. budget documents published Dec. 13 indicate that “new requirements” to implement council resolutions and decisions taken over the past year almost double the original $23 million it was allowed to spend for this purpose in the 2016-2017 biennium. Evidently, council devotees took for granted an Obama administration carte blanche.

On Dec. 15, the General Assembly budget committee (the “Fifth Committee”) met to approve the funds for the Human Rights Council, including the funds to create the Council’s blacklist — aka BDS “database.” U.N. documentation indicates that the cost is $138,700 “to pay for one staff member to create the database over a period of 8 months and present a report” to the Human Rights Council in March 2017. In other words, authorization is being backdated to pay for an operation already underway.

To put this in perspective, the council resolution on “Realizing the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl” needs $82,800. “Effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of all human rights” needs $74,700. And a blacklist of companies with ties to Israel needs $138,700.

At the Dec. 15 meeting, the Israeli U.N. representative on the Fifth Committee pleaded with “member states to reject the funding request.” But Obama’s U.N. diplomat — who was present and spoke on an unrelated issue — said nothing. The Palestinian representative floated procedural objections, claiming it was a done deal. Precedent, though, is not on his side.

In 2007, when the U.N. allotted money to fund a second iteration of the racist “anti-racism” Durban conference, the Bush administration stood rock solid on a matter of principle. The U.S. called for the vote in the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee and unequivocally voted against. When it lost, it voted against the entire U.N. biennial budget.

Obama is not that man. He prefers to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with human rights authorities on the Human Rights Council like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, China and Cuba. He is prepared to spend American taxpayer dollars to create a blacklist of companies doing business with the democratic state of Israel instead of the world’s most horrific regimes. A presidency spent courting moral relativism, forsaking U.S. allies, and indulging U.S. adversaries is about to reach its lowest point yet.

An Ongoing Affront to Freedom: UN Resolution 16/18 and the Assault on Free Speech

September 18, 2016

An Ongoing Affront to Freedom: UN Resolution 16/18 and the Assault on Free Speech, Counter Jihad, September 17, 2016

Often the worst attacks on liberty are camouflaged with shining names.  United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution (UNHRC) 16/18, among international governments’ worst assaults on the freedom of speech, was formally titled “Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination, Incitement to Violence and Violence Against, Persons Based on Religion or Belief.”

Who could be against that?  Certainly not Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, who hosted the conference to help the UNHRC implement this resolution.  She said that the United States was hosting this conference because the resolution captured “our highest values… enshrined in our Constitution.”  In fact, what the Constitution protects is the freedom to criticize any idea – religious or otherwise.  In fact, the Constitution forbids laws that establish any religion as beyond criticism, or as being especially protected by law.

Of course it will be no surprise that the real authors of 16/18 were members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).  Hillary Clinton was the Obama administration’s point-person in working with the OIC.  Of course it will come as no surprise that the real thrust of 16/18 is preventing criticism of Islam or Muhammad.  Obama himself said that the future must not belong to those “who slander the Prophet of Islam.”

In fact, 16/18’s original text simply said that it forbade “Defamation of Islam,”and made no mention of defending any other faith.  Following the adoption of the resolution by the High Commissioner of Human Rights, who expanded it to other faiths as well, there was an intense push by the OIC nations to include “Islamophobia” as especially forbidden.  The focus on Islam expanded throughout the period of the resolution’s negotiation.

The UN’s Secretary General went so far as to say that the freedom of speech and expression did not extend to “insulting others.”  He said this in 2012, after the high profile murders of cartoonists critical of Muhammed.   He later claimed that 16/18 limited freedom of speech, which he called a “twisted negative logic,” a logic belonging only to the West and hostile to Islam.

It is an open question whether UN Resolution 16/18 endorses anti-blasphemy laws, but the OIC nations clearly believe that it does.  The fact that Secretary Clinton would bill this resolution as an endorsement of America’s most treasured principles should be deeply alarming.

 

Why is the UN Human Rights Council Not Concerned About Slavery?

June 3, 2016

Why is the UN Human Rights Council Not Concerned About Slavery? American ThinkerMichael Curtis, June 3, 2016

Commentators may debate whether the United Nations Human Rights Council is or is the world’s most ludicrous international organization, but all will agree it is the most misnamed. Human rights, with one exception, is foreign territory to it. The UNHRC might well be renamed the official promulgator of the Palestinian Narrative of Victimhood.

On May 31, 2016, the terrorist group Hamas executed three Palestinians, two by hanging, in Gaza City. A week earlier, Hamas had called for the resumption of capital punishment. To no one’s surprise, the silence about this from the UNHRC has been deafening. By contrast, a UNHRC resolution of March 24, 2016, initiated by Palestinians and sponsored by a number of Arab countries, was passed by a vote of 32 for, none against, and 15 abstentions.

The resolution concerned something called “Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem and Occupied Syrian Golan.” It called for a blacklist, a database of all business enterprises involved in Israeli settlements. This implied not only firms concerned with settlement construction but also those involved in supply of construction materials or equipment, and financial and banking services that aid the settlements including loans and mortgages.

Ironically, the UNHRC resolution was passed on the very day registering the fifth year of the Syrian civil war, a conflict that has become not only regional but international and has brought such misery to the area and the world. The Arab commentary in the UNHRC on the day was not on the 250,000 killed or the millions of refugees caused by the war in Syria, or the migration crisis that has consumed Europe. Instead, it was limited to the assertion that construction in the Israeli settlements undermines the regional and international efforts to reach a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

The behavior of UNHRC as well as other international organizations, the BDS movement and activists, and so-called human rights groups towards Israel has largely been one of disgraceful bigotry and possibly manifestations of anti-Semitism. This is not liberal behavior but is reactionary as well as counterproductive in supporting the refusal of Palestinian authorities to come to the negotiating table with Israel.

This relentless concentration of effort and energy against the Jewish State has also meant neglecting almost entirely one of the world’s real great evils — the existence of modern slavery. The UNHRC and the BDS bigots condemn products made by the labor of free individuals who may differ politically. They are not concerned with products made by slave labor.

The international community has paid little or no attention to the fact, as reported in a 2016 Global Slavery Index, that 46.8 million people are subject to some form of modern slavery. This condition is defined as possessing or controlling persons so as to deprive them of individual liberty through use, management, profit, or disposal.

Modern slavery has many dimensions. It would include domestic slavery, exploited labor, human trafficking, forced or servile marriages, sale or exploitation of children, women trapped in brothels, debt bondage, servitude, cleaning work, work without pay or under threat of penalty, removal of organs, and people subjected to violence. In modern slavery, persons are exploited and cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, abuse of power, or deception.

The paradox is that modern slavery exists despite the fact that all countries have declared slavery illegal. The number of slaves may well be higher because the survey in the Global Index of countries excluded places of conflict or where there was serious disruption of government functioning.

The Index is funded by the Walk Free Foundation, founded by the Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest, which had the actor Russell Crowe as its spokesperson when the 2016 Index was launched in London on May 31, 2016.

The Index presents a ranking of 167 countries based on the proportion of the population that is estimated to be in modern slavery. The countries with the highest estimated proportion are North Korea, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, India, and Qatar.

Qatar has the highest prevalence of slavery. In these countries there is forced labor, prison labor camps, forced marriages, sexual exploitation. The countries with the highest absolute numbers are India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan. The present U.S. presidential candidates might note that these are countries with low cost labor that allows them to undercut U.S. products.

The countries with the lowest estimated proportion of modern slavery are Luxembourg, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Belgium, U.S., Canada, and Australia. These are countries with more economic wealth, less conflict, and more politically stable than the previous group of countries.

Some form of slavery is found in all the 167 countries in the Index. India is the worst with 18 million slaves, while North Korea has the highest percentage of slaves per capita. Half, 58 %, of the 45.8 million are in five countries: India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan.

The Index ranks ten counties in the Middle East. The situation there has been worsened by ISIS, the Islamist Caliphate, which, among other things, has sold women and children into slavery, and has issued statements on Sharia law saying that it is permissible to buy, sell, or give as gifts female captives and slaves because they are merely property. Forced marriages with child brides are frequent as are “temporary” or “tourist” marriages. Palestinians in Gaza have used children as suicide bombers and human shields.

The estimated highest proportion of the population in modern slavery in the Middle East is Qatar, which has considerable numbers of forced laborers for construction for the 2022 FIFA World Cup football stadiums and the large infrastructures connected to them. Qatar is followed by Iraq, Yemen, and Syria.

The UNHRC, BDS bigots, and the relentless enemies of the State of Israel will be unhappy to learn of it, but the country with lowest proportion — virtually zero — of modern slaves is Israel. These bigots need to take account of the proper moral calculus in the Middle East, as well as turn their attention to the horrors of slavery.