Ha’aretz reports that:
“A committee of jurists hired by the Arab League completed a six-day tour of the Gaza Strip on Friday. The fact-finding mission was meant to investigate alleged war crimes as well as crimes against humanity perpetrated by Israel during its offensive against Hamas earlier this year.
Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa appointed the committee which is expected to submit a detailed report on its findings and conclusions. This report will then serve as the basis for any future legal proceedings the league plans to initiate.“
It might be edifying to examine the human rights records of some the members of the Arab League since they seem so keen on such things.
Their ‘shoot to stop’ policy on the Israel border has been criticised by Human Rights Watch. The Christian Science Monitor reported in November 2008. (http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/1113/p06s03-wome.html)
Sadiq Sahour came to Egypt from Darfur in 2004 after government militias burned down his village. He wanted to find a better life for his family, but in Cairo he found no work and little assistance from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). So in July 2007, he and his wife, Hajja Abbas Haroun, made an increasingly popular – and dangerous – decision for refugees and migrants. They resolved to smuggle themselves into Israel.
With their infant daughter in tow and a second child due any day, they traveled to the Sinai town of Al-Arish and paid Egyptian smugglers $250 per person to ferry them to the border area. As they drew near, says Mr. Sahour, Egyptian border police approached the group of 12 adults and several children and opened fire.
Ms. Haroun and her unborn child were killed instantly. Many of the others were arrested, tried, and sentenced to heavy fines and a year in prison.
“The police came and shot us from close up,” Sahour says. “They could see that there were women and children.”
As I previously reported here Israel’s treatment of Muslim refugees is in stark contrast.
Amnesty International (who have strongly criticised Israel and so it seems fair that we should hear what they say about Egypt and other Arab League members) speak of
long-standing… systematic torture, deaths of prisoners in custody, unfair trials, arrests of prisoners of conscience for their political and religious beliefs or for their sexual orientation, wide use of administrative detention and long-term detention without trial and use of the death penalty
The country has been in a State of Emergency since 1981 which is used as a vehicle for abuses under the cover of ‘security concerns’.
Free speech is suppressed with the example of two prominent bloggers being arrested for criticising the President and the government.
Democracy in Egypt is problematical with Hosni Mubarak clamping down on any threat to his power. Critics and activists are subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention and military trials.
Women’s rights are poor and they are subject to discrimination with regard to marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance.
Religious freedom is also a major concern. The Coptic Christian community are restricted with regard to the building of churches or public profession and demonstration of their faith. Baha’is, Shi’a and Sufi Muslims are poorly tolerated and their religions not recognised by the state.
Gays are persecuted and AIDS sufferers considered criminals.
The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) has been attacked from within the country by those who say that it is a front organisation created by the government to cover up or excuse its own human rights violations. It is the EOHR that is encouraging and supporting the Arab League’s investigation into alleged war crimes and human rights abuses in Gaza.
Saudi Arabia’s adherence to full Sharia law is well known. Political Freedom is non-existent. Extra judicial exections are common. Religious minorities and political opposition are oppressed as are homosexuals and women. All this is denied by the government.
Although women make up 70% of the student population, only 5% are in the workforce which is the lowest percentage in the world. This situation is improving – slowly. Women’s legal position is highly problematical due to the stringencies of Sharia. This is a difficult area where international norms contrast starkly with Sharia. However, there are many Muslim countries where such stringencies are not observed and a more moderate form of Sharia is employed.
One of the difficulties that women have is vulnerability when it comes to sexual attack or rape where they are ususal presumed to be the guilty party. A recent case is of a woman who was gang-raped but herself sentenced to 6 months imprisonment and 200 lashes because she was in a car with an unrelated male at the time of the attack.
Saudi Arabia is reagrded a ‘Tier 3’ country in terms of its record on slavery and human trafficking. Thi smeans that it fails to comply with the minimum standards and makes no moves towards remedying the situation. Saudis outside the country have been prosecuted for the effective enslavement and ill-treatment of servants. So although Saudi Arabia is very keen that foreigners observe its laws when in Saudia Arabia, many of its citizens do not seem to feel the same need to comply with the laws of countries they are visiting or are even resident in.
Anything other tha heterosexual relations within marriage is outlawed and punishable by imprisonment, the lash and sometimes execution.
Corporal and capital punishment are common. The corporal punishment includes amputations of hands and feet or the lash. The latter can be administered over a protracted period of time. The UN considers such punishment as torture. Saudis defend it as an ancient tradition. Human Rights Watch has concluded that the Saudi legal system “fails to provide minimum due process guarantees and offers myriad opportunities for well-connected individuals to manipulate the system to their advantage”.
Freedom of speech and the press are limited. No-one can freely criticise the government or propose values which are considered against Islamic traditions. There are no political parties in Saudi Arabia or any form of labour union or representation.
Freedom of religion is non-existent. Even other Muslim sects are proscribed if they do not conform to the Saudi’s particular brand of Wahabism. Anyone with an Israeli passport or a stamp of entry or exit from ISrael on their passport is banned.
“fails to provide minimum due process guarantees and offers myriad opportunities for well-connected individuals to manipulate the system to their advantage.”
As with Egypt, Syria too is in a state of emergency, since 1963! which provides cover for its dictatorship. Arrests and detentions without trial are common, torture and show trials rife.
There is no freedom of speech, the press or the right to demonstrate.
Human Rights Watch record 17,000 political prisoners who have just disappeared over a period of 30 years.
Syria is one of the least free countries in the world.
Do I need to go on? Other countries in the Arab League include Yemen, Libya, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates. In fact there is not one country in the league which is not tainted by repression or oppression and not one full democracy amongst them. And these are the countries who are going to sit in judgement on Israel.
Meanwhile today we hear in Kenya’s Daily Nation reports that the Arab League is working with the Sudanese government to AVOID confrontation with the ICC and helping it to stall investigations whilst trying to promote ‘internal’ investigations.
See the full article here
In other words, the Arab League is effectively trying to deflect criticism from a genocidal maniac responsible for the deaths and uprooting of 2 million people whilst vigorously pursuing a case against Israel for killing 1200, most of whom were Hamas members or combatants.
A sick joke indeed.