Comparatively speaking, the UN Human Rights Council is still in its infancy. Set up only twelve years ago by the UN General Assembly, it had one over-riding purpose – to rectify the egregious faults of its predecessor body, the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). The UNCHR had been a working body of the United Nations virtually from its foundation in 1946, but over its 60 years of existence it had accrued a raft of objectionable practices which finally made the organization totally unacceptable to many governments, activists and eventually to the UN itself.
Author Archive: Neville Teller
On April 4, 2018 three national presidents met in the Turkish capital of Ankara. Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan greeted his Russian and Iranian counterparts − Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani − to discuss a way forward in Syria. In the statement that followed, the three leaders claimed to be working closely to bring about a lasting peace in Syria.
The biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting opened on April 16, 2018 in London. Most of the world’s media, except perhaps those of the Commonwealth nations, gave the event less attention than it deserves – but that has been the fate of the Commonwealth itself for many years.
Once upon a time Turkey and Israel were the greatest of friends. In March 1949 Turkey was the first Islamic nation to recognize the new state of Israel. Over the next fifty years, despite some ups and downs, the relationship flourished. In the Cold War Turkey was a key ally of the Western camp and in the 1990s, under the aegis of the United States, Israel and Turkey established bilateral defense, security and economic partnerships which burgeoned into strong social and cultural ties.
Suddenly, it seems, the appalling circumstances in which the vast majority of Gazans are living have struck the public conscience. The Strip suffers from a chronic lack of water, of electricity, of medical resources – and the situation seems to be deteriorating from week to week. Gaza’s problems stem from a variety of causes, but the people of Gaza have little inclination to analyse the reasons for the humanitarian crisis that has overwhelmed them. The struggle to exist in anything approaching decent living and working conditions occupies most of their attention.
A new pragmatic spirit is dawning in the Middle East. Old outworn attitudes are beginning to crumble. For example, when have officials from leading Arab states sat round a table with those from Israel – which many of them do not formally recognize as yet − to discuss how to alleviate a problem affecting the region? Yet that is precisely what happened on Tuesday, 13 March 2018, when Israeli national security officials met their counterparts from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates in the White House to discuss a humanitarian crisis unfolding in the…
The organization dedicated to isolating and delegitimizing Israel by way of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) has so far not reacted officially to the announcement that Britain’s Prince William is to visit Israel this summer. Since he will also be visiting Jordan and what are described in the announcement as “the Palestinian occupied territories”, and since both Jordan’s King Abdullah and Palestinian Authority (PA) president, Mahmoud Abbas, have welcomed the news, hard-line BDS supporters do not have much of a leg to stand on. Moreover Prince William probably ranks considerably higher in the public popularity stakes than Roger Waters, Lorde…
It is not easy to pigeon-hole Qatar, a stand-alone Middle Eastern state in more ways than one − geographically, politically, economically, influentially. Itself a small peninsula projecting into the Persian Gulf from the vast Arabian Peninsula, Qatar clearly aspires to become a major player in the region and beyond. In pursuit of this objective, its tactics have sometimes puzzled, sometimes infuriated, its neighbours. But then, as one of the world’s wealthiest nations – and certainly number one on a per capita basis – Qatar has reckoned for a long time that it could afford the luxury of proceeding along its own…
Egypt has been battling with Sinai-based terrorists ever since the overthrow in 2013 of former president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood government that he headed.
Lebanon goes to the polls on May 6. Nine long years have passed since the last parliamentary elections which, according to the constitution, are supposed to be held every four years. Ever since 2014 ministers and politicians have voted again and again to postpone elections and extend the current parliament, citing security concerns, political crisis and a dispute over the election law.