Denmark and Australia Blast UNHRC at Opening Session for Biased Treatment of Israel

Ahead of the opening of the UNHRC’s 40th session in Geneva on Monday, both Denmark and Australia called on the organization to end its continuously biased treatment of Israel.

Both countries called on the United Nations to do away with the controversial Agenda Item 7 which mandates that Israeli human rights abuses must be debated at each session. The agenda item arbitrarily holds Israel to a different standard considering human rights allegations against all other UN member states are debated under Agenda Item 4. Only Israel is singled out at each session with its own agenda item.

For years, the United States and other countries in the European Union have criticized and tried to eliminate Agenda Item 7. During these biased debates against Israel, the US and some EU countries usually abstain from speaking.

This Monday, Denmark’s Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsson called on the 47 UNHRC countries to remain silent during the Item 7 debate which is scheduled for March 18th.

“All countries should be treated on an equal footing. Therefore, we will not speak under Item 7, but address the situation in Israel/Palestine under other country-specific items [Agenda Item 4] where it belongs. We encourage others to do the same.” said Samuelson.  

In a similar sentiment Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne also took the UNHRC to task for singling out Israel. “It is our firm view that a separate agenda item focusing on a single country situation – in this case Israel – is inappropriate. It does not occur in any other context for any other country.”

During the session, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres sounded the alarm over a rising amount of antisemitism, anti-Muslim hatred, and xenophobia.

“We are seeing a ground swell of xenophobia, racism and intolerance, including rising antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred.”