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Cyprus Seat on UN Human Rights Council? UN Watch

Geneva-based NGO UN Watch is backing Cyprus as a candidate for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, said its executive director Hillel Neuer.

The organisation campaigned fiercely against Syria's bid to join the Council in the wake of a deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters in the country.

"The defeat of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's cynical candidacy is a welcome message to his brutalized population that the world is repulsed by the regime's ongoing massacres," said Neuer.

According to Neuer, that still leaves the "preferable options" of Cyprus or Mongolia, said UN Watch.

But diplomats should not dismiss the Pacific states of Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, said Neuer.

The NGO monitors the UN "by the yardstick of its own charter" and is affiliated with the American Jewish Committee (AJC). The AJC visited Cyprus last year to "express appreciation and support for the growing links with Israel," it said in a statement.

Their visit came amid negotiations in the Eastern Mediterranean to exploit undersea gas reserves found off the coast of Israel, Lebanon and Cyprus. The reserves are estimated to be worth 300 billion US dollars.

The AJC was formed in 1906 by a small group of American Jews concerned with pogroms aimed at Russian Jews. It is an international think tank and advocacy organisation whose key areas include combating anti-Semitism, promoting democratic values, and advocating for energy independence for Israel.

Syrian government restores water, electricity in Banias after five days

Last night Valerie Amos, UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, expressed serious concern about the humanitarian situation in parts of Syria.

Today the UN was again prevented from visiting Deraa, prompting a reaction from
UK Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt who said: “I call upon the Syrian Government to allow UN humanitarian organisations to undertake assessments of the situation across Syria without delay. Sustained, unhindered access is essential for the agencies to compile an accurate picture of the humanitarian situation and respond to the needs of the Syrian people.”

UN Watch was the first to sound the alarm over Syria's bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, and heads a global coalition of human rights groups and dissidents seeking to block Damascus. See details at:

www.unwatch.org/stopsyria

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