Analysis and Commentary from UN Watch in Geneva
NGO to Ban Ki-Moon: Bar UN Goldstone Aide From Palestinian Lobby Event
UN Watch Calls on UN Chief to Stop Francesca Marotta, Head UN Staffer of Goldstone Report, From Speaking at “Russell Tribunal on Palestine”
Geneva, Feb. 26, 2010 — UN Watch, the Geneva-based watchdog organization, today called on UN chief Ban Ki-Moon to stop Francesca Marotta, the head of the UN staff that compiled the Goldstone Report, from participating at a political lobbying event in Lausanne, Switzerland, in support of the “Russell Tribunal on Palestine.” The full letter follows below.
His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-Moon
February 26, 2010
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
We are deeply concerned that the Head of the Secretariat of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict—the staff that drafted the Goldstone Report—is scheduled to participate tomorrow in a pro-Palestinian, political and lobbying event.
Ms. Francesca Marotta is listed as the first speaker at an event to support the “Russell Tribunal on Palestine,” advertised by Collectif Urgence Palestine, to be held in Lausanne, Switzerland, tomorrow, 27 February, at 2:30 pm. (See listing athttp://www.urgencepalestine.ch/Agenda/agenda10.html#TRP270210.)
The advertisement reads (translated from French original):
“On the eve of the first session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine to be held in Barcelona from 1 to March 3, 2010, the Swiss National Committee of Support to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine Calls to support this international citizen initiative with Francesca Marotta, the Secretariat of the Fact-Finding Mission that established the Goldstone Report, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights…” It goes on to list two other speakers.
As you may know, the “Russell Tribunal on Palestine” is a highly partisan and political exercise designed to use the rhetoric of law to lobby against Israel and for a one-sided Palestinian narrative. Its “verdict” is a foregone conclusion.
We further note that the Swiss organizer of this Lausanne event featuring Ms. Marotta, Collectif Urgence Palestine, organized a demonstration last year on 2 March 2009 in Geneva. (Seehttp://solidarites.blog.tdg.ch/archive/2009/03/01/rassemblement-contre-le-gala-pour-l-armee-israelienne-%E2%80%A2-lund.html.)
The demonstration’s stone throwing and verbal threats against Jewish community members was condemned as an apparently anti-Semitic incident by the UN Human Rights Committee, in its October 2009 report on Switzerland. (See http://blog.unwatch.org/index.php/2009/10/30/un-slams-switzerland-for-failing-to-investigate-pattern-of-anti-semitic-incidents/.)
Article 100 of the UN Charter requires that the UN Secretariat avoid partisan and political entanglements that compromise the principles of neutrality, objectivity and professionalism.
Especially on a day when the UN General Assembly is voting again on the Goldstone Report, we urge you to uphold these principles, and the integrity of your staff, by immediately instructing Ms. Marotta to avoid participating in, or otherwise lending support and legitimacy to, this partisan and political event.
Please know that in all your efforts to assure the adherence of the United Nation to its noble principles, you will have the full support of UN Watch.
Hillel C. Neuer