UN Awardees

Mohammed Khalil El Halabi honored as a "Humanitarian Hero"

Muhammad Halabi, referred to by the UN as a humanitarian hero on its website worldhumanitarianday.org (page subsequently removed)
UN Body: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Award: Humanitarian Hero
Recipient: Mohammed Khalil El Halabi
Date: August 19, 2014

Mohammed Khalil El Halabi, the director of the Gaza branch of the UN-accredited NGO World Vision, was designated a UN "Humanitarian Hero" on August 19, 2014. He was featured on the UN website promoting the claim of wanton Israeli attacks on the vulnerable and his heroism in coming to their assistance – that is until the feature was quietly removed by the UN in August 2016.

Here is how the UN describes the award:
    "The United Nations is marking World Humanitarian Day today by paying tribute to aid workers who carry out life-saving activities around the world, often in dangerous and difficult circumstances, while celebrating the spirit of humanitarian work worldwide. 'On World Humanitarian Day, we honour the heroic aid workers who rush bravely to help people in need. We remember their sacrifices, and we recognize the millions of people who count on humanitarian workers for their very survival," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the Day.'
Here is how El Halabi described his work as a "humanitarian hero":
    "After an invasion in my area which killed dozens of people and destroyed several houses, I decided to leave my work as an engineer and turn to humanitarian work. I wanted to be able to help civilians and especially children - to ensure they are protected and to deliver services for their survival...I decided to fully dedicate my life to helping people and children to restore their lives...In addition to managing development programs, I have managed emergency and early recovery responses in Gaza after the previous wars. I'm currently managing the World Vision emergency response in which we provide hospitals with medical supplies, disposables and bed sheets."
And this is how Mohammed Khalil El Halabi "carr[ied] out life-saving activities around the world":
    On August 4, 2016, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that "Israel has discovered that Mohammed El-Halabi, currently employed as director of the Gaza branch of World Vision, is actually a major figure in the terrorist/military arm of Hamas. El-Halabi has been taking advantage of his position to divert the humanitarian organization's funds and resources from the needy to benefit Hamas' terrorist and military activities.
    In fact, more than half of World Vision's resources in the Gaza Strip – originating in aid money from Western states such as the United States, England and Australia – were transferred to Hamas to strengthen its terrorist arm...
    In 2005, Hamas dispatched El-Halabi to infiltrate World Vision. El-Halabi related that Hamas believed that he had a good chance of infiltrating the humanitarian aid organization because his father works for the UN and he himself had worked in UNDP...
    Shortly after being employed by World Vision, El-Halabi began to use his position to benefit the Islamist terrorist organization, primarily by diverting funds meant as aid to strengthen Hamas' terrorist arm.
    Over the years, El-Halabi advanced in the charity's hierarchy until he was appointed director of the Gaza branch. In this capacity, he controlled the budget, equipment and aid packages which amounted to tens of millions of dollars.
    El-Halabi employed a sophisticated and systematic apparatus for transferring World Vision funds [60% of the charity's annual budget, according to El-Halabi] to Hamas...
    El-Halabi also used World Vision resources to provide logistical aid to the terrorist arm of Hamas. This, too, was the result of a sophisticated, well-oiled system that succeeded in transferring 60% of the humanitarian organization's resources in Gaza to Hamas. El-Halabi regularly transferred to Hamas equipment that he had ordered on behalf of World Vision, supposedly for agricultural aid. The equipment included, inter alia, iron rods, digging equipment, pipes and building materials, and was used in fact to construct Hamas military outposts and to dig terror tunnels..."
The Shin Bet arrested El-Halabi on June 14, 2016.

Saudi Crown Prince Nayef honored for his humanitarianism

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Crown Prince
Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in June 2008.
UN Photo/E. Debebe
Source: (UN)
UN Body: UN-Habitat
Award: Outstanding Donor Award for the Special Human Settlements Programme for the Palestinian People
Recipient: Late Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Date: June 28, 2013

In June 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented the Outstanding Donor Award for the Special Human Settlements Programme for the Palestinian People to Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the UN, who accepted it on behalf of the late Crown Prince. "The late Crown Prince will be remembered for his commitment to humanitarian and relief work all over the world," said UN Secretary-General.

Here is how the UN describes the award:
    "The late Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who was also Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has become the first individual to receive the Outstanding Donor Award for the Special Human Settlements Programme for the Palestinian People (SHSPPP) by UN-Habitat...The Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Dr. Joan Clos, also expressed his sincere thanks and reiterated that the late Crown Prince Nayef will always be remembered for devoting his life to promoting humanitarian and relief work all over..."

And this is how late Prince practiced "humanitarian and relief work all over the world":
    In 2003 MEMRI reported that "For decades the royal family of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been the main financial supporter of Palestinian groups fighting Israel, through the creation of two major committees. The Popular Committee for Assisting Palestinian Mujahideen and The Support Committee for the Al-Quds Intifada and The Al-Aqsa Fund have to date given over 15 billion Saudi Riyals (4 billion $U.S.) and reportedly pledged Palestinians up to 1 billion dollars to finance the continuation of the Intifada, which is also commonly referred to by Saudi officials as "Jihad" and "resistance."...Prince Nayef bin Abd Al-Aziz, Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia , is the chairman of "The Saudi Committee for the Al-Quds Intifada" and the "Al-Aqsa Fund," which has transferred over 15,442,105,150 Saudi Riyals (SR) to the Palestinians, including money to the martyrs fund. This is in addition to Prince Nayef's separate support committee, which has donated 20,000 Saudi Riyals (SR) ($5,333 U.S.) to each martyr's family." In 2001, during a meeting in Jeddah, he emphasized "the need for strengthening Palestinian resistance to confront the war of extermination launched by the Israelis."
    Further, in 2002 Prince Naif said in a statement: "The committee will continue to provide direct assistance to the families of Palestinian martyrs and those wounded while resisting the occupation."
    In 2004 NBC News quoted Prince Nayef as saying "Al-Qaida is backed by Israel and Zionism."

UN Honors Lebanon For "Public Service"

Hezbollah, or "Party of God," is a radical Islamic
group based in Lebanon whose stated goal
is to eliminate Israel and establish
a fundamentalist Islamic state in Lebanon.
In elections last June, Hezbollah won 13
of the legislature's 128 seats. Hezbollah
holds two Cabinet seats, and its Shia
ally, Amal, controls the Foreign Ministry.
Source: (JTA)
UN Body: United Nations Public Administration Network
Award: United Nations Public Service Award
Recipient: Lebanese Ministry of Interior
Date: June 23, 2010

The Lebanese Ministry of Interior won the 2010 United Nations Public Service Award for organizing the June 2009 parliamentary elections through "innovative mechanisms," the UN informed the Ministry on May 8. The Ministry said it was chosen from among more than 400 institutions worldwide.

Here is how the UN describes the award:

    "The United Nations Public Service Award is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. It rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions that lead to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide. Through an annual competition, the UN Public Service Awards promotes the role, professionalism and visibility of public service."

And this is how Lebanon practiced excellence in public service. The US State Department's 2009 report on human rights in Lebanon notes that

    "Hizballah retained significant influence over parts of the country, and the government made no tangible progress toward disbanding and disarming armed militia groups, including Hizballah....[T]he government forced a private school to remove pages reportedly describing Hizballah as a terrorist organization from a history book, following a complaint by former labor minister Mohammad Fneish...The government imposed limits on [freedom of association]. The law requires every new organization to submit a notification of formation to the MOI [Ministry of Interior], which then issues a receipt. The MOI...imposed additional and inconsistent restrictions and requirements and withheld receipts, turning the notification process into a de facto approval process...Organizations must invite MOI representatives to any general assembly where members vote on by-law amendments or positions on the board of directors. The MOI must then validate the vote or election; failure to do so could result in the dissolution of the organization.
    The MOI did not immediately validate the February 2008 elections of the Israeli Communal Council, a legally registered Jewish organization representing the small Jewish community and Jewish property owners who do not reside in the country. As with the previous two such elections, the MOI did not validate them until May 2008, following diplomatic intervention...
    Al-Manar TV, controlled and operated by Hizballah, continued to broadcast anti-Semitic material that drew no government criticism. On November 5, the government censored The Diary of Anne Frank from a textbook used by the International College. The action followed a campaign by Hizballah claiming the work promoted Zionism. Hizballah's Al-Manar television channel ran a report condemning the book for focusing on the persecution of Jews."

UNESCO's Strongman Prize for Life Sciences

UN Body: The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Award: "Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences"
Date: Over the next five years

Foreign Policy reports that the UNESCO is "proceeding with plans to award the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, a $300,000 scientific grant to be funded and awarded to up to three scientists each year in the name of Equatorial Guinea's allegedly corrupt and repressive ruler."

Further, "president Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has committed $3 million to the Paris-based U.N. agency to administer the prize over the next five years" and "the funds will be deposited through the Obiang Nguema Mbasogo Foundation for the Preservation of Life. Critics maintain that Obiang's 30-year rule has been marked by corruption and contempt for human rights."

The prize "is intended to reward the scientific research projects and activities of an individual, individuals, institution, other entity or non-governmental organization in the life sciences, which lead to improving the quality of human life," Koïchiro Matsuura, the former director general of UNESCO, wrote last year in a letter inviting governments to submit nominees for the competition."
There is another quite different assessment of quality of human life in Equatorial Guinea. The US State Department's 2009 report on human rights in Equatorial Guinea notes that

    "The following human rights problems were reported:...unlawful killings by security forces; torture of detainees and prisoners by security forces; life-threatening conditions in prisons and detention facilities; official impunity; arbitrary arrest, detention, and incommunicado detention; harassment and deportation of foreign residents with limited due process; judicial corruption and lack of due process; restrictions on the right to privacy; restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, and movement; government corruption; violence and discrimination against women; suspected trafficking in persons; discrimination against ethnic minorities; and restrictions on labor rights."

UN Honors Fidel Castro As "World Hero of Solidarity".

UN Body: General Assembly President
Award: "World Hero of Solidarity"
Recipient: Fidel Castro, the former Cuban head of state
Date: September 5, 2009

On September 5, 2009, the president of the United Nations General Assembly, Rev. Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, declared the former Cuban head of state Fidel Castro has been named "World Hero of Solidarity". Besides Castro, Bolivian President Evo Morales will be honored as "World Hero of Mother Earth" and the late ex-president of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere, as "World Hero of Social Justice."

Here is how the GA President justifies the awards:

    "What we want to do is present these three people to the world and say that they embody virtues and values worth emulation by all of us"

There is another quite different assessment of life in Cuba and the human rights of Cubans under Castro regime. The US State Department's 2006 report on human rights in Cuba notes that

    "The government continued to deny its citizens their basic human rights and committed numerous, serious abuses. The government denied citizens the right to change their government. At year's end there were at least 205 political prisoners and detainees. As many as 5,000 citizens served sentences for "dangerousness," without being charged with any specific crime. The following human rights problems were reported: beatings and abuse of detainees and prisoners, including human rights activists, carried out with impunity; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions, including denial of medical care; harassment, beatings, and threats against political opponents by government-recruited mobs, police, and State Security officials; arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights advocates and members of independent professional organizations; denial of fair trial; and interference with privacy, including pervasive monitoring of private communications. There were also severe limitations on freedom of speech and press; denial of peaceful assembly and association; restrictions on freedom of movement, including selective denial of exit permits to citizens and the forcible removal of persons from Havana to their hometowns; restrictions on freedom of religion; and refusal to recognize domestic human rights groups or permit them to function legally."

UN Honors Prime Minister Responsible For Arresting Critics and Banning Human Rights Organizations

UN Body: UN Habitat
Award: Special Citation of the Habitat Scroll of Honor Award
Recipient: Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain
Date: July 2, 2007

On July 2, 2007, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban-Ki Moon, presented the United Nations Habitat Program's annual Special Citation of the Habitat Scroll of Honor Award to Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain.

Here is how the UN justifies the award:

    "UN-HABITAT, which is mandated to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all, has awarded the Bahraini leader for his impressive efforts in lifting the living standards of all Bahrainis through an active focus on poverty alleviation and modernization while preserving the cultural heritage of his country. UN-HABITAT's Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, hailed Sheikh Khalifa for uplifting the housing standards for his country's poor. "

There is another quite different assessment of life in Bahrain and the human rights of Bahrainis. The US State Department's 2006 report on human rights in Bahrain notes that

    "Citizens [of Bahrain] were not able to change the government and experienced restrictions on civil liberties such as the freedoms of press, speech, assembly, association, and some religious practices. Though citizens were not able to form political parties, the law authorized registered political societies to run candidates and participate in other political activities. Reported judicial abuses included lack of judicial independence and allegations of corruption. Occurrences of domestic violence against women and children were common, as well as discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, sect, and ethnicity. Trafficking in persons and restrictions on the rights of expatriate workers remained problems. The Shi'a majority population was routinely discriminated against in leadership positions....TheBCHR [Bahrain Center for Human Rights] was dissolved after the arrest of Adinarsulhadi al-Khawaja, former president of the BCHR, for criticizing and insulting Prime Minister Sheikh al-Khalifa at the Al-Aruba Club during a presentation on poverty in 2004. Shortly thereafter, the government temporarily closed Al-Aruba Club and dissolved the BCHR for engaging in activities beyond the scope of the society's bylaws."

UN Honors Iranian Terrorst as "Champion of the Earth"

UN Body: UN Environmental Programme
Award: Champion of the Earth
Recipient: Massoumeh Ebtekar, Former Vice President of Iran and Former Head of the Department of Environment, aka Screaming Mary
Date: April 21, 2006

The UN Environmental Programme gave out its 2006 Champion of the Earth awards on 21 April, 2006. The awards are intended to honor individuals or groups "for their creativity, vision and leadership, and the potential of their work and ideas for replication across the globe." One of those justified in receiving this award – in the UN's estimation - was Iranian Massoumeh Ebtekar. She was Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Head of the Department of Environment from 1997-2005. But Ebtekar has another name - "Screaming Mary" – given to her by the American press during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. Mary was her nom de guerre and Ebtekar was the hostage-takers' spokesperson.

A December 2004 article in the Atlantic Monthly provides more details about the UN's latest champion:

    "she was especially disliked by many of the hostages...in part because of her endless propagandizing. She would saunter through the captured embassy with a camera crew in tow, urging the hostages to describe their ordeal in upbeat terms. "You have been treated well, haven't you?" was her constant refrain. During one such filming session, in the final days of captivity, Army Sergeant Regis Regan got so fed up with Ebtekar that he let loose with a stream of invective and was dragged into a hallway for a beating."

A 1998 New York Times article recounts that she was asked by an ABC news correspondent whether she could see herself picking up a gun and killing the hostages – to which she responded "Yes. When I've seen an American gun being lifted up and killing my brothers and sisters in the streets, of course."

Screaming Mary has no regrets. New York Times journalist Elaine Sciolino elaborated, in her book Persian Mirrors, on a conversation she had with Ebtekar in 1998:

    "I asked Ebtekar about the wisdom of the embassy takeover. She offered no apology; she made no excuses. "I wouldn't think that it would be logical for any nation to look back and see any part of its revolution or its movement as negative," she said. "That was the best direction that could have been taken." She said the embassy was seized to preserve what she called "the values" of the revolution..."The action was a natural consequence of decisions that had been taken by the Americans.""

Capitalizing on her insider's knowledge of the terrorist mind Ebtekar authored a 2001 book called Takeover in Tehran. By contrast, the UN's biography of the winner is silent about her infamous past. Instead, the UN's announcement of the special prize to be given to Ebtekar boasts, "The United Nations Environment Programme named seven leaders..for setting an example for the world to follow." "

In her acceptance speech last week [United Nations Environment Programme Award Ceremony, Singapore, April 21, 2006], Ebtekar thanked the UN for the honor and the UN Environmental Programme's "generous recognition...[which] gives new impetus for all those who endeavour to protect life on earth." She then took the opportunity, courtesy of the UN, to support the current Iranian regime, castigating the "systematic effort to portray Iran as a source of aggression and violence."

The UN honors a person who was vice-president and minister of the environment in a government already doing its best to develop the ultimate environmental nightmare, nuclear weapons. It honors a commitment "to protect life on earth" from someone who would exclude Americans. The face of a UN champion.

(This article appeared in the National Review Online.)