From: Press Info <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, Jan 28, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Subject: NEWS RELEASE – Statement by Richard Falk, on recent personal attacks
To: OHCHR-Geneva@ohchr.org, OHCHR-New York Office <OHCHR-New_York_Office@ohchr.org>, Field Presences <Field_Presences@ohchr.org>, Special Procedures Mandate Holders <Special_Procedures_Mandate_Holders@ohchr.org>
28 January 2011
Statement by Richard Falk, on recent personal attacks
GENEVA – UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Mr. Richard Falk, on Friday flatly denied recent allegations by a lobby group that “he had endorsed the conspiracy theory that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were orchestrated by the U.S. Government and not Al Qaeda terrorists,” and expressed surprise and regret at the ensuing strong personal attacks made on his integrity.
“The pro-Israel group, UN Watch, that created this mess deliberately distorted comments I made, in my personal capacity, on my blog,” Falk said. “Not only that, they then deliberately connected it to my UN mandate on the Palestinian territories, and on that basis started calling for me to be fired from that position.”
“I wish to be absolutely clear,” Falk added. “I do not endorse the theory that the U.S. government orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. What I did do, in my personal blog, in which I was discussing the differing perceptions that develop after political assassinations and deeply tragic events, including the murder of Olaf Palme, the 9/11 attacks and the recent killings in Arizona, was argue that investigations must be, and must be seen to be, transparent, exhaustive and honest.”
Falk expressed his dismay that he had been accused of disrespect towards the memory of 9/11 and its victims and their families. “This was not my intention at all,” he said. “What I stressed is the importance of carefully examining evidence before drawing conclusions about political and legal responsibility for highly tragic events, in particular those that have grave consequences for human rights.”
“I am an academic. I believe in freedom of expression, and the freedom to openly debate even the most difficult issues. I have always been proud that the United States and the United Nations have been among the strongest advocates of freedom of expression,” Falk said. “I am therefore deeply disappointed and surprised by the calculated attack on myself as a person, and on my ability to act as a voice that is not afraid to speak up on the rights of Palestinians, in accordance with the mandate invested in me by the Human Rights Council. The constant muzzling of serious and honest debate on the Palestinian issue in the United States and elsewhere has contributed immensely to the failure to resolve the tragic crisis there for more than half a century, to the detriment of us all.”
In 2008, the UN Human Rights Council designated Richard Falk (United States of America) as the fifth Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. The mandate was originally established in 1993 by the UN Commission on Human Rights.
Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/countries/ps/mandate/index.htm
OHCHR Country Page – Occupied Palestinian Territories: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/MENARegion/Pages/PSIndex.aspx
OHCHR Country Page – Israel: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/ILIndex.aspx