we are proud of that. president obama and i support the hrc because we believe in the mission and its possibilities. we know at best this council can be a valuable means for reminding every nation of its commitments and they are responsible when they fail to meet international standards and can respond successfully to domestic human rights challenges as we have seen firsthand advance global norms like lbgt rights and a means for self evaluation on the part of individual nations including through the universal periodic review process and we have seen this type of self examination, that engagement with the international community actually produce real progress on the
ground. and of course the hrc can play a role in shaping global response to situations where human rights violations have reached levels that stagger the imagination and shock the conscience and sadly that is the case in far too many countries today. in parts of the middle east and africa violent extremists made it clear not only do they have zero regard for human rights they have zero regard for human life period. we've seen groups like dash burn human beings alive, barbarically be head people and sell girls in slavery and execute widely and indiscriminantly and recently the u.n. reported horrifying ways that dash treats the most vulnerable captives crucifying
children and burying children alive, hand picking mentally challenged children to serve as suicide bombers and kill even more innocent people. almost every week brings new examples of just how far the evil of these groups reaches. but we also know that the best antedote is open the avenues for nonviolent decent and our best ally is civil society, that activists, journalists, community organizers critical thinkers, all of whom reject extreme ideologies while showing people a way to express hopes and grievances peacefully. so it is especially troubling that so many people in so many places are facing grotesque
restrictions from governments including in some cases their right to life. in syria those who escape the horrific attacks of extremist thugs do so only to face a brutal dictator who gasses his own people starves them as a weapon of war and continues to barrage with barrel bombs that fall on their schools, their hospitals, their mosques, their children and women in disand anyone who has seen the i'm j -- images will never forget them with eyes gouged out and emaciated prisoners and defies anybody's sense of humanity and in north korea tens of thousands of people live as virtual slaves in 2015. there is no freedom of expression worship or political
dissent. kim jung-un executes those who disagree of them and purging the country of anyone he knows or imagines to be loyal and they subrogated citizens starving and torturing and incarcerating them or worse. hundreds of thousands have lost their lives and then there is the crisis in ukraine and here i urge the council, look at the facts. do not allow yourselves to be misled. in crimea and the separatist controlled areas of eastern ukraine, men, women and children are being killed. they are being tortured and being raped and sexually assaulted, detained arbitrarily and abducked for ransom and forced into labor and persecuted and prosecutor because of who they are and who they worship and that is what is happening and it's up to the hrc to shed light on it and to help to hold accountable those who violate
those human rights. the bottom line is tattoo many people and too many places are facing unbearable realities. we cannot accept that. we all of us collectively and we do not accept that and this counsel working with governments across the globe can help to create a future that is much brighter than the present or the past. i believe it is fair to say that we are already making historic progress gains and i'm proud to say that since 2009 the united states has been privileged to join with many of you and work hard in order to achieve those gains. consider the unprecedented resolutions, this council has passed to respond to threats facing civil society to better protects the human rights of lbgt and promote freedom of religion and freedom of
expression including through resolution 16/18. consider the indispensable role the hrc has played in encouraging leaders to live up to their promises and commitments in countries such as burma and sri lanka with opportunities for real change. consider the mountain of evidence we have compiled detailing horrific human rights abuses by government forces and terrorists in syria. the wheels of justice may not turn as rapidly as all of us would wish but the foundation for establishing justice is being prepared. consider how the commission of inquiry created by this council changed the conversation regarding the dprk's ap pauling record on human rights. as a result of the coi's conclusions the security council put the dprk on its agenda.
a clear condemnation of what is happening in the country and an important acknowledgment of the link between human rights and international security and peace. and consider the great work of the special repitour of rights in iran and spotlighted violations there. make no mistake, these are all significant accomplishments. the more the international community understands about specific human rights violations, the greater the pressure will be on bad actors to change course. and eventually not always overnight but eventually that pressure often translates into the kind of change that saves lives and expands freedom. my government believes that together we can continue to make progress and help this body fulfill its mandate to make the world a better and safer place.
but for that to happen we have to get serious about addressing roadblocks to our own progress and the most obvious roadblock i have to say to you is self inflicted. i'm talking of course about hrc's deeply concerning record on israel. no one in this room can deny that there is an unbalanced focus on one democratic country. no other nation has an entire agenda item set aside to deal with it. year after year there are five or six separate resolutions on israel, this year there was a resolution sponsored by president assad concerning the golan. how i ask is that a sensible priority at the very moment when refugees from syria are flooding in to the golan to escape
assad's murder rule and receive treatment from israeli physicians in israeli hospitals. it must be said that the hrc's obsession with israel actually risks underminingly the credibility of the entire organization. it has the potential to limit the good that we have to do. no one should doubt for a second that the united states will measure these things i hope fairly and dispatchitely and a group in a u.n. system to ash arbitrarily isolate israel and not just hrc but where it occurs. when it comes to human rights no country on earth should be free from scrutiny but neither should any country be subject to unfair or unfounded bias. my friends, the united states
absolutely remains deeply committed to this important mission and we certainly intend to remain deeply involved in the hrc which is why we are running for reelection. when the stakes are as high as they are today and believe me they could not be higher when people in every corner of the globe are denied the rights that they deserve, the hrc must live up to the standards upon which it was created. together we have to be the voice for those who are silenced by their leaders, we have to be array of light for those who spend their days locked away without a cause, many times in dark and dank cells somewhere in the world. we have to be the source of hope for those who fear that they are suffering may never end or never even be recognized.
this is the kind of organization this council that the world desperately needs but it needs us, all of us to dare greatly and to live up to the highest standards and this is the kind of organization that when it does that can help all of our nations live up to the ideals that we share, thank you. [applause] that is u.s. secretary of state john kerry addressing the u.n. human rights council in geneva. he talked about the journey being a difficult one, it had its challenges and talked about the crisis in syria and iraq and human rights violations there. let's bring in barnabie phillips live from geneva and on the sidelines of the human rights council meeting that john kerry spoke to his russian counterpart sergei fedorov and the relationship between sergei
fedorov and kerry has been strained because of the crisis in ukraine but both continue to interpret the conflict very differently. >> reporter: yes, they do. they absolutely see things 180 degrees differently. if you were listening in to sergei fedorov he spoke about an hour ago, he spoke really about how events in ukraine had been set off by a coup in kiev and how neo nazi groups were carrying out ethnic cleansing in the eastern part of the country and heard john carry later talking about torture, people being persecuted for religious beliefs and so on in the east of the country and in crimea and he is pointing the finger quite firmly at the separatist authorities in you like in eastern ukraine which of course the united states maintained consistently backed by the russian government. so there is very little area for common ground.
we do know the two men did meet separately on the sidelines earlier this morning, both of them i have to say judging from the pictures looked fairly grimed faced but at least they are talking and at least for now we do have that minsk agreement signed back in the middle of february and sergei fedorov said it had contributed to tangible process on the ground and that heavy weapons were being withdrawn at the moment in eastern ukraine but obviously we all know that the situation there is very periless and in the balance. >> thank you and let's go to al jazeera's senior political analyst and we saw u.s. secretary of state john kerry there talking about two different gee yo political crisis, a situation in the middle east syria and iraq and in ukraine but using human rights violations as the thread to weave them both together. >> that is right, once you hear
sergei fedorov and kerry human rights violations are not natural but nurtured and nourished by bad policies and indication of both ukraine and syria it's bad policies of russia and the united states that led to the deterioration of the situation in ukraine which probably will escalate even further and to the terrible situation in syria. if these to countries, if these two super powers would have agreed in a solution if they would have stopped their own clients in syria and in iraq and in ukraine i think we would have had a far better situation in both countries. i think while they are bickering and complaining of violation of human rights they are directly or indirectly responsible for the violations. >> thank you very much. now, the abraham prize for afghan leadership awarded to the outgoing president of libya, award recognizes achievement in african heads of state who have been democratically elected and
left office after their term is over $5 million prize only given out three times in eight years and i'm joined by abraham the founder of the very foundation and is live from the kenya capitol nairobi and let's talk about this year's ward the outgoing president and he is the winner, why do you think he was chosen as this year's presip sipsip sipsip sipsip sipsip sipsip sipsippresipient briefly. >> he was democrat and moved the country forward and improved education for children and went to social cohesion and consultation with opposition party and other people. this is a wonderful achievement, achievement of democratic president who come in with
humility humility. >> reporter: your prize is supposed to recognize african leaders who exercised good governance and democracy and paved the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity but africa as a continent continues to have many leaders who is opposite dr. abraham and says they are corrupt and undemocratic so is your award making a difference to the continent do you think? >> i think we need to change the narrative a little bit. let me just question your statement if i may say. unfortunately the media is focusing religion the few that others have in africa every now and then people roll out certain people as a roll model for bad governors and bad leadership. today we have some interesting
questions at the press conference and fortunately we had a number of african ex presidents sitting there and, you know i challenge people and i said this is talked about before and the president before and among our kenya friends 4% only who recognize those people. and i think the role of the media itself and providing a balance coverage of africa somehow bad leadership makes news and i thank my friends in the media who say we need a war, we need somebody killing somebody and need somebody stealing millions of dollars to have an isolated story and people are doing a good job. >> let me just interject there.
>> find a more balanced story. >> let me interject there and say your award has only been given out three times in the last eight years so despite your best ambition the fact remains on the ground there is a sad state of governance in africa. >> right, our prize was given four times in the last seven or eight years. now, it is a prize for excellence and leadership and we are not lowering our standards, this is about people who come and do an extra ordinary job and that is a tough benchmark and speaking to friends in europe and say does this prize refer to european presidents and leaders, how many leaders, european leaders who won the prize in the last eight years so africa is not really doing badly to find for them for eight years, this is an issue of excellence and
it's not common. now, i accept that we have some challenges in africa. i don't have issues. but we are moving forward, 95% of african people today live under better government societies than ten years ago. it's not perfect and it's not by a wide margin but it's a movement forward so the society continues this and we move forward, you know, one step at a time. >> dr. abraham thank you very much indeed for talking to al jazeera. >> thank you for having me thank you. iraqi army has begun offensive to retake the town from i.s.i.l. and held by the group since last summer. >> translator: today god willing we will start an important military campaign to liberate the citizens of the province and includes many towns
and tikrit and other areas in the province from islamic state militants and i call upon you and all commanders to deal with citizens well and we want to liberate from them there and should protect citizens and properties. and we are live from the capitol baghdad and jane what details have you been hearing there about the operation to retake tikrit and how has it been going so far? >> darren there is fighting around the edges of tikrit and military forces approached the city from the south, the north and west and being held back by basically explosives rigged all along the roads to tikrit as well as inside the city. it's a classic i.s.i.l. tactic and has been quite a lot of fighting near samara and samara the prime minister spoke from and, in fact we are told he is
getting ready to go to parliament in baghdad, apparelment where sunni members of parliament ended their boycott. the back drop of this is this that this fight for tikrit is essentially a test and it includes the prime minister's ability to reach out to sunnis members of parliament, people on the ground tribal fighters and most importantly those people in sunni majority provinces who are perhaps accepting i.s.i.l. because they don't feel they have any other option and reached out to them and reach out to lawmakers at the same time the military operation continues to try to take back that city. >> jane just briefly before you go how well prepared are the iraqi force, i mean when they initially faced i.s.i.l. fighters they dropped weapons and ran away what difference this time around do you think? >> they did. there is a lot that is new in the intervening months since june when they essentially collapsed and they collapsed because there was a lack of
leadership and a lot of corruption in the army and there were ghost soldiers there were people who bought their ranks and all of that is being addressed, so what they are doing now is heading out with admittedly quite a lot of new forces, a lot of volunteers but more importantly perhaps the participation of other armed elements that are more effective than the iraqi army and includes shia malitias who are better equipped and disciplined and include sunni tribesmen and are about 2000 who are fighting in tikrit and that is an essential component but what they have done before this mobilization of 20,000 fighters are air strike shelling and everything designed to make sure when they do enter the city of tikrit which they tried to clear civilians they will need as little resistance as popular but these are i.s.i.l. fighters routinely
prepared to die and it's hard to combat that. >> jane thank you. aisle freed 21 say syrian christians and the armed group still holding 200 people from the minority community in syria and they are in syria northeast and some freed were welcomed at a church in the city. now some senior democrats including vice president joe biden threatening to boycott netanyahu's peach and arrived on sunday and using the visit to argue against a nuclear deal with iran. >> reporter: [chanting] delegates to this year's conference of u.s. most powerful israeli group apac greeted by a small group of protesters. and the police were determined to keep these opponents to israeli government policy outside on the freezing pavement.
resent weeks it has been elsewhere in washington and they have been defenders and benjamin netanyahu to address a joint congress without consulting obama administration has talked about the israeli relationship and there was a real attempt to gloss over differences and u.s. politicians on hand to give the audience what they wanted. >> as we negotiate with the i iran they toppled and what do the you think they would do with the money, do you think they would build schools and hospitals and given this today they will invest in the military to wreak more havoc. >> reporter: on sunday john kerry asked israel for the benefit of the doubt on its negotiation with iran and emphasized the closeness with israel. >> i was reviewing the record the other day, we have
intervened only israel's behalf in the last two years more than several hundred, a couple of hundred times in over 75 different fora in order to protect israel. >> reporter: ♪ for some u.s. supporters of benjamin netanyahu that carries little weight and one group had this in the "new york times" on saturday attacks president obama's national security advisor susan rice and suggests a divide between her and the u.s. ambassador to the u.n. samantha power, both speaking at apac on monday. such shows of disrespect to the obama administration have intensified benjamin netanyahu in the democratic party and remains unclear how deep a shift and 30 democrats out of 232 have said they will not be attending mr. netanyahu's address to congress on tuesday. i'm with al jazeera, washington. and we are joined live from
west jerusalem and many analysist saying this and what is made about this? >> mr. netanyahu sees this as the most important speech of his life and described it quote as a historic mission and whatever the case this speech is being viewed in a few different ways in israel and those who support it and view any time an israeli prime minister has such a large stage particularly in the united states very powerful ally of israel is a good thing and there are those who are deeply unhappy and feel mr. netanyahu is deliberately antagonizing the administration and see this dangerous and in the middle of that we have israeli whose are in different to the speech and a
few weeks away from election and wondering why mr. netanyahu is delivering a speak about iran when there are much bigger issues in israel the economy while strong compared to neighbors still means that people are struggling to make end meet and housing is extraordinary expensive and those are the bread and butter issues for most israelis but again it has been somewhat polarizing in israel as mr. netanyahu goes to washington. >> thank you. north korea warned of quote merciless strikes against enemies and made the threat after launching to short range missiles in defiance of u.s. missions and they flew for 500 kilometers before crashing in the sea and seen as a protest against joint drills between south korea and the united states which began on monday and we report. >> reporter: [gunfire] when two countries are technically still at war any
show of force makes people nervous. every year south korea military shows off its fire power in drills like this and every year north korea responds and this time it got in early, launching two short range missiles before the south korean drills began. >> translator: a deliberate provocation and seen as protest and ready to respond immediately, if it takes actions our military will react strongly so north korea will react bitterly. >> reporter: missiles landed in the sea off japan coast and enough to get a reaction from the government. >> translator: north korea missile launchers are a major problem for flights and shipping vessels and transgression of the sixth party talks and severe condemnation in north korea. >> reporter: the threats don't always work on ping-yang as the
launchers show and says the joint military drills by the u.s. and south korea are a rehearsal for an invasion. within hours of north korea's missile launch peace campaigners gathered outside the capitol seoul condemning both sides. >> translator: we are against all military actions taking place in the korean peninsula, if the exercise is to pressure north korea continue and if north korea retaliates a state of war similar to what happened in 2003 will once again be a reality. >> reporter: right now neither side wants to be seen to back down and although the war of words is likely to be just posturing, peace is unpredictable here. i'm with al jazeera. authorities in chile have a yell will alert due to increased activity of a volcano around 9,000 people told the area might have to be evacuated and the volcano lies 650 kilometers from
the capitol of santiago have jets of lava and a big eruption could come. keep up to date with us on the screen and the address is al jazeera.com, that is al jazeera.com. per cent hello i'm richard gizbert, and you are at "the listening post". here are some of the media stories we are following. a suspicious death in venezuela, and the case for and against the