Honoring Qaddafi Agent: In March, the U.N. Human Rights Council opening session gave a position of honor to its Advisory Committee member Jean Ziegler, co-founder and 2002 recipient of the “Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize.” Two weeks later, Eric Tistounet, a top official of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, joined a panel showering praise upon Ziegler as a great “intellectual.”
UN Watch protested in a detailed letter that documented’s Ziegler’s despicable record of siding with murderous regimes.
Executive Director Hillel Neuer took the floor in the Council to challenge Ziegler to his face: “I have a question for the panel member who in 1989 co-founded the Mummar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize, and who went to Tripoli, Libya, on Sept. 29, 2002, to himself win that prize.”
“Given that this Council eventually reversed its policy on the Qaddafi regime, and suspended Libya in 2011 for its gross and systematic abuses, do you regret your actions? The Swiss media reported that the prize was worth 100,000 Swiss Francs. Would you consider returning these funds to the Libyan people?” Full speech below
Panel on Peace-building and Human Rights Mainstreaming
Statement by United Nations Watch
Delivered by Mr. Hillel Neuer, 27 February 2017, 34th HRC Session
Thank you, Mr. President.
Peace-building and human rights are indivisible. As the UN Charter makes clear, maintaining peace and security requires preventing the outbreak of violence in the first place.
We believe that UN human rights mechanisms— if they work properly—have a critical role to play. If they work properly, this council can spotlight human rights abuses, scrutinize country records, and ensure accountability. All of this would act as an early warning system.
One of the classic case studies today of a state that desperately needs peacebuilding is Libya. The country has around 1,500 different militia.
The human rights situation is catastrophic. Carjackings and shootings in broad daylight are common. An EU report states that human rights defenders, journalists, and judges are being assassinated. Women won’t approach the police out of fear they could be murdered or raped. The situation is so bad that UNHCR won’t send international staff.
I would like to ask the panel: Could UN mechanisms have played a role to confront the four decades of gross and systematic human rights abuse by the regime of Col. Qaddafi, who used to torture dissidents and rape university students after he would lecture on campus?
Can the UN can draw lessons from how Col. Qaddafi’s regime in 2003 became Chair of this body’s predecessor, and how in 2010 it became a member of this Council?
Are there lessons to be learned from how Col. Qaddafi’s Geneva representative became one of this council’s independent experts, and also the Chair of this Council’s Durban Review Conference on racism?
Given that this Council eventually reversed its policy on the Qaddafi regime, and suspended it in 2011 for its gross and systematic abuses, do you regret your actions? The Swiss media reported that the prize was worth 100,000 Swiss Francs. Would you consider returning these funds to the Libyan people?