UN considering yet another radical as anti-Israel rapporteur

March 10, 2016  

The UN Watch NGO revealed on Thursday that the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) vetting committee has shortlisted a UK professor for a six-year term as the world body’s investigator of “Israel’s violations,” even though she campaigns for the boycott of what she calls “apartheid Israel” and a “criminal government.”

The professor in question is Penny Green, who would be replacing Makarim Wibisono, the former Indonesian diplomat who announced that he will step down at the end of March, after serving less than two years in his position as “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.”

Wibisono was himself a questionable choice for the role, and in his final report before stepping down, accused Israel of using “excessive force” against Palestinians.

His predecessor was Richard Falk, another controversial figure was known for his anti-Israel stance.

Now, it appears, the trend continues with the appointment of Green, as revealed in a report NGO Watch sent Thursday to the president of the 47-nation UNHRC, and to all UN member states.

According to the report, following interviews with five out of ten applicants, the UNHRC’s Consultative Group (CG) — chaired by the representative of Egypt — on March 4th recommended two names: Penny Green of the UK, ranked first, and Michael Lynk of Canada, ranked second.

The next step is for the Council president, South Korean ambassador Choi Kyong-lim, to consult broadly with UN member states and to select one of the applicants for the Council’s approval. While the custom is for the president to choose from among the names shortlisted by the CG, he has the authority to choose any of the ten applicants. This is indeed what took place in 2014 when the CG recommended human rights lawyer Christina Cerna for this position, yet the president and the Council in the end chose to appoint Wibisono.

The decision by the plenary is scheduled to take place at the end of the current 31st session of the UNHRC, on Thursday, March 24, 2016.

UN Watch noted in its report that, while the title of the mandate implies that the special rapporteur monitors “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories,” this is false. In fact, the text of the mandate, unchanged since 1993, makes clear that the rapporteur is charged with investigating only “Israel’s violations.”

Palestinian, Israeli or other victims of human rights violations committed in the territories by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas or Islamic Jihad are ignored, noted the NGO. No other UN mandate on the human rights situation of a specific country discriminates in this fashion; no other presumes the existence of violations and prejudges guilt in advance; and no other mandate lasts forever without any review and need for renewal. The mandate, therefore, is inherently discriminatory, and must be changed.

UN Watch notes that Green, whom the UNHRC’s vetting committee deemed impartial and objective as a potential investigator of Israel’s violations, accuses Israel of “criminal state practices,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “apartheid.” She laments that the United States and UK haven’t yet started “bombing Israel for its massacres.”

Green, who was ranked first by the UNHRC’s vetting committee, also advocates the total boycott of Israel, posting statements on Twitter such as: “Support BDS against Israel—best way to resist this criminal government”; “Academics should now systematically refuse any invitations to visit Israeli universities or attend conferences there”; “the West must impose sanctions against, boycott and divest from Israel.”

Green also promotes the work of extreme anti-Western ideologues like Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, and Grietje Baars, and heads an institute that opposes Western counter-terrorism and anti-extremism efforts as manifestations of Islamophobia, UN Watch reveals.

“Naming Penny Green as an impartial investigator of Israel is like making Donald Trump an impartial investigator of Mexicans — it’s a mockery of the UN’s own objectivity requirements, and a travesty of justice,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

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