//Petition seeks to exclude major EU countries from UN force in South

Petition seeks to exclude major EU countries from UN force in South

By Leila Hatoum, Daily Star
Wednesday, August 23, 2006

BEIRUT: A petition was submitted Tuesday to Lebanon's top three officials to bar from the international force in South Lebanon all troops from countries that voted against the UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning Israel's attack. Signed by over 300 prominent members of society, legal experts and officials, the petition was handed to the president, premier and parliamentary speaker to "reveal to the Lebanese which of the UNHRC members is a friend of Lebanon and which is a friend of Israel," said lawyer Mohammad Moghrabi, the main organizer of the petition drive.

Moghrabi told The Daily Star that on August 11, the UNHRC held a special session in Geneva and issued a resolution "strongly condemning the grave Israeli violations of human rights and breaches of international humanitarian law in Lebanon including the massive bombardments of Lebanese civilian populations, especially the massacres in Qana, Marwaheen, Al-Duweir, Al-Bayadah, Srifa, Al-Qaa, Shiyyah, Ghazieh…"

Moghrabi said the UNHRC's resolution also condemned the "displacement of 1 million civilians and the bombardment of vital civilian infrastructure resulting in extensive destruction and heavy damage to public and private properties."

Moghrabi said that the European bloc in the UNHCR, except for Russia, "voted against condemning the Israeli massacres and human rights breaches."

"They decided that there was no Israeli aggression on Lebanon, and consequently decided not to defend us. So if they send troops to Lebanon then these troops will be defending Israel, not us," Moghrabi said.

According to UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which put into place a cease-fire between Israel and Hizbullah, international troops are to be deployed with the Lebanese Army along the UN-demarcated Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel.

The UNHRC resolution was supported by Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cuba, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uruguay and Zambia.

Eleven countries voted against the resolution: Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, United Kingdom and Ukraine.

Moghrabi said the "advanced and industrial countries didn't sympathize with weak Lebanon, unlike the African and Arab countries."