UN Watch urges Clinton, EU’s Ashton, France and UK to speak out
GENEVA, Dec. 5 – On the same day as US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton speaks tomorrow at the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva, the world body’s human rights agency will be co-hosting an event, in a room next door, with the Libyan front group for the “Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights,” a long-time propaganda vehicle for the ousted regime that celebrated Holocaust deniers and anti-Western figures from around the globe.
According to her website, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, along with Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr, will headline an international conference tomorrow on the right to development—co-sponsored by Nord-Sud XXI, a group that, according a March 25 exposé by Swiss TV, received $10 million from Col. Gaddafi’s regime to organize the annual prize.
UN Watch, an independent Geneva monitoring group, today called on Secretary Clinton, EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton and the UK and French governments to urge Pillay to remove the Libyan front group from the event.
In 1996, the Gaddafi Human Rights Prize was given to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, famous for his anti-Semitic speeches, and in 2002 to convicted French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy. The founding spokesman of the prize in 1989 was Jean Ziegler, a senior member of the UN Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee. The prize has also been given to Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamed and “the children of Iraq and victims of hegemony and embargoes.”
“We trust that Secretary Clinton will make clear to High Commissioner Pillay that her office should not be making common cause with organizations that openly celebrate Holocaust deniers, war criminals and promoters of anti-American and anti-Western hatred,” said Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch, an independent monitoring group in Geneva.
“And Ms. Pillay clearly knew the true identity of North South 21 from our prior complaints and, most recently, from the outcry in the international media and from members of US Congress after the Gaddafi group was admitted into the UN’s Durban III process.”
Documents on Nord Sud XXI:
– In March 2011, Swiss TV documented how North South 21 organizes the Gaddafi Prize; that the Libyan dictator funded the group with $10 million; and the central role played by UN human rights official Jean Ziegler. Click for video.
– Switzerland’s Neue Zurcher Zeitung reported in 2006: “North-South 21 had been mandated to manage the Gaddafi Prize for years, as confirmed by Ahmad Soueissi, North-South’s managing director.”
– UN Watch first documented all of these facts in a major report here. Supplemental material documenting the Libyans’ open acknowledgment of North South 21 as a part of the Gaddafi Prize organization can be found here.
– According to the Libyan press agency, “the organization in Geneva that awards the Gaddafi Prize is an entity called North-South XXI (or Nord-Sud XXI).” See “President Chavez of Venezuela wins International Gaddafi Award for Human Rights,” Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting Corporation, December 10, 2004 (see Attachment 7 here); “Oxymoron,” Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 15 Oktober 2004 (citing Libyan press agency Jana as saying the Prize is awarded by an International People’s Committee and Nord-Sud XXI) (see Attachment 8 here).
– The British press has reported North-South XXI’s role in awarding the Prize. See “Gaddafi human rights prize for two dock strike wives,” The Daily Mail, September 4, 1997 (stating that Prize “[r]ecipients are chosen annually by a Geneva-based organisation called Nord-Sud 21.”) (see Attachment 9 here).
– Geneva daily Le Temps, in an August 30, 2002 article, reported: “The Kadhafi Prize [for Human Rights] is managed in Geneva by North-South 21, which claims to be an organization for the defense of human rights. . . . It is worth noting that North-South 21 does not want to mention the financial investment of Tripoli in the Geneva center. The organization issues many periodicals and other publications but none mentions the name of the provider of funds.” (“Le Prix Kadhafi est géré à Genève par Nord-Sud 21 qui se veut une organisation de défense des droits de l’homme… Force est de constater que Nord-Sud 21 ne veut pas évoquer l’investissement financier de Tripoli dans le centre genevois. L’organisation dispose de plusieurs périodiques et autre publications à thème mais aucun ne mentionne le nom du bailleur de fonds.”) See “Un deuxième spectacle autour du Prix Kadhafi,” Le Temps, 30 août 2000 (see Attachment 10 here). See also “Les Noirs demandent réparation pour l’esclavage,” Le Temps, 7 août 2001 (describing North-South XXI as “an NGO installed in Geneva and tied to Libya” and discussing a symposium “ordered and financed by Libya through North-South XXI.”) (see Attachment 11 here).