GENEVA, November 22, 2023 — An expensive Australian trip last week by a UN official who told Hamas they have “a right to resist” was sponsored by Palestinian lobby groups in breach of the UN’s own Code of Conduct, according to a watchdog group that today filed papers with the world body calling for her removal.
In a letter sent today by UN Watch, an independent Swiss non-governmental watchdog group that holds special consultative status with the United Nations, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is being asked to take action to remove Francesca Albanese from her post as the UN Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur tasked with investigating “Israel’s violations.”
The full text of the letter follows below.
22 November 2023
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
The United Nations
New York, NY 10027
Dear Secretary-General Guterres,
We are deeply concerned over gross violations of UN rules and basic professional ethics by Ms. Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights. Her recent trip to Australia as Special Rapporteur was sponsored by known Palestinian lobby groups in that country: The Australian Friends of Palestine Association and Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, as well as the Free Palestine Melbourne and Palestinian Christians in Australia. As part of this trip, Ms. Albanese delivered the annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture in Adelaide and made media appearances, including an address to the National Press Club, in which she repeatedly echoed the Hamas narrative, claiming Israel’s right to self-defence was “non-existent.”
As you know, independence and impartiality are basic requirements for UNHRC Special Procedures under Article 3 of the Code of Conduct, which requires them to be “free from any kind of extraneous influence…either direct or indirect.” In addition, they may not “seek nor accept instructions” from any “non-governmental organization or pressure group whatsoever,” or accept any “favour, gift or remuneration” from any ”non-governmental source for activities carried out in pursuit of his/her mandate.”
The lobbyists’ sponsorship of Ms. Albanese’s trip constitutes a blatantly prohibited form of favour, gift or remuneration under Article 3. The financial favour further subjects Albanese to prohibited direct or indirect influence. Indeed, these groups have urged her to sue an organization that called out her pro-Hamas remarks. All of this is on top of Ms. Albanese’s disgraceful antisemitism and support for terrorism.
She has said that “America is subjugated by the Jewish Lobby.”
Last year, she told a Hamas conference, “You have a right to resist.”
In light of the above gross violations of UN rules and basic ethics, we urge you to take action to remove Ms. Albanese immediately from her position as Special Rapporteur.
Hillel C. Neuer