Who really requested tomorrow’s U.N. Human Rights Council emergency session on Gaza?  Why were certain country names listed and then removed? So the truth can come out, the U.N. secretariat should make public the original signature forms, as it has always done in the past.

According to a January 6th letter signed by the Ambassadors of Egypt, Pakistan and Cuba, on behalf of the Arab, Islamic and Non-Aligned blocs, as posted on the UN website, 29 HRC member states signed the initial request, including Bosnia-Herzegovina and Cameroon. A subsequent note verbale issued the same day by the UN secretariat (OHCHR) added Russia, bringing the number to 30.

Suddenly, however, in a corrected note verbale, dated January 7, the secretariat lowered the number to 29, mysteriously removing purported signatory Bosnia. The same number was reflected in a UN press release issued that day.

Then, in an email sent today at 11:00 a.m. to all member states, signed by Eric Tistounet, chief of the OHCHR Human Rights Council Branch, Argentina, Brazil and China were added, and the number raised to 31 signatories. But wait: doesn’t 29 + 3 = 32?

Normally, yes. But, mysteriously again, the name of another supposed signatory was removed: Cameroon.

(“To the Permanent Missions to the United Nations Office at Geneva: Further to this afternoon Organizational Meeting, the Secretariat of the Human Rights Council wishes to inform that the request for a Special Session is supported by the following 31 Member States of the Council : Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia.”)

What’s going on?

Were Bosnia-Herzegovina and Cameroon listed without their knowledge or consent on the original letter sent by the ambassadors of Egypt, Pakistan and Cuba?

If so, this diplomatic scandal underscores how the U.N. often works. Powerful bloc “coordinators” make all the decisions, often without even bothering to consult the less influential members of their own group, in whose name they claim to speak.

Normally, the U.N. secretariat releases the actual request forms, showing each ambassador’s signatures. This time, however, the only signature released by the U.N. was that of Russia, which followed after the initial group request.

Is it possible that the two signatures were forged?  How many others as well?  Or were there never any signatures to begin with, and did the secretariat act hastily, listing Bosnia and Cameroon based only on the letter by Egypt, Cuba, and Pakistan?

The U.N. should immediately release the original request forms.



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