Agence France-Presse /Jerusalem Post – 2004-09-28 22:41:22
GENEVA (September 28, 2004) — A campaign to get formal United Nations condemnation of suicide bombing as a crime against humanity is slowly gaining political support, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said yesterday.
However, Wiesenthal Center dean Marvin Hier admitted that no world leader was yet ready to take the step of proposing a UN General Assembly resolution on the issue, which he dubbed “the crime of the 21st century”.
“Right now it looks like a long road ahead, but suicide bombing cannot be swept under the carpet by the United Nations,” Mr. Hier told journalists, pointing to resolutions on “every other thing under the planet.”
Government leaders in Austria, Canada, Turkey, Spain and Uruguay had said they were willing to take up the issue at international level in recent meetings, officials from the Wiesenthal Center told journalists.
“Suicide bombing is a world phenomena. It attacks Muslims, it attacks Christians, it attacks Jews,” Mr. Hier said after about a year of campaigning by the Jewish human rights group.
“It needs a world address and it needs leaders around the world who are prepared to say that suicide bombing is a crime against humanity,” he added.
Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel had recently pledged to raise the issue with 12 other countries in the Human Security Network later this year, Wiesenthal Center officials said, urging European nations to play a key role in bridging the gap with Arab countries.
“There’s a collective moral statement to be made by the world to try to redraw that red line and to make this type of activity, or those who sponsor it, beyond the pale,” deputy dean Abraham Cooper said.
The Los Angeles-based Wiesenthal Center said it had left the United States out of the campaign.
“We felt that going to the United States first on an issue like this would be more difficult,” Mr. Cooper said.
“We really feel, when you see the growing list of societies, religious and ethnic groups affected, that this should come from the international family, not Washington,” he added.
Wiesenthal Center officials were in Geneva to meet the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, a former international war crimes prosecutor, and the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). She is also a former Canadian Supreme Court judge.
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