Human Rights Council Votes To Exclude Beheading From Mandate (PreOccupied Territory)
Geneva, September 17 – The United Nations body tasked with monitoring and addressing human rights violations around the world voted today to remove beheading and other brutal forms of murder from its purview, saying that the member nations did not consider those acts in and of themselves worthy of attention.
Human Rights Council Resolution 4411, adopted by majority vote, calls on the various organs of the Council to exclude reports of beheading, Nazi-style mass shootings, and the starvation of besieged civilians from reports, as those acts are no longer categorized as violations. Thirty nations voted in favor of the measure, twelve opposed, and one, Britain, abstained. The United States representative was not present.
Council representatives expect the measure to make their work more efficient, as they can focus more intensely on the issues that really matter, such as Israel. The resolution, introduced by Council member Sudan, explicitly calls for the establishment of several investigative commissions into Israeli crimes, in addition to the Schabas Commission, using personnel now made available through the new limitation of the Council’s mandate. Recommended areas of investigation include blatant Israeli disregard for the Palestinian political and civil right of killing as many Israelis as possible, and the illegal use of deadly force in combating Palestinian use of deadly force.
Diplomacy experts note that the language of the resolution does not comprehensively define beheading, mass shooting, and starvation as acceptable. Instead, the resolution instructs investigators to take into account certain specific circumstances surrounding those acts. Under most circumstances, says Dutch commentator Kan Garouwkort, those brutal acts would not be counted as violations of human rights, but certain situations might render them so nevertheless. “For example, if anyone accused Israel of such actions, that would automatically qualify,” he explained.
The move will also smooth the way for the Council to accept members whose presence might otherwise be precluded, such as the Islamic State.