Issue 240: Today at UN Rights Council: Islamic Resolution for Censorship, then Appointment of Anti-American Sandinista as “Expert Adviser”

Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann “has repeatedly abused his position to pursue his personal agenda, and in doing so he diminishes the office and harms the General Assembly. He is doing the United Nations a disservice by dividing the membership at a time when he should be a unifying force” — Alejandro Wolff, deputy ambassador to Susan Rice, U.S. representative at the United Nations, September 13, 2009 

Despite well-known U.S objections to Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, the UNHRC is about to appoint him one of its senior advisors. Above: Brockmann embraced President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after the Iranian leader accused “a few bullying powers” of trying to thwart his country’s peaceful nuclear program and declared that “the American empire” is nearing collapse. September 23, 2008 at UN headquarters in New York City.

Geneva, June 17 — In advance of voting tomorrow at the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council, the non-governmental organization UN Watch urged the United States and the European Union to strongly oppose an initiative by Islamic states to legislate media censorship, and to vocally oppose the nomination of an ex-Sandinista known for his extreme anti-American, anti-Western and anti-Semitic pronouncements.

Alluding to the Danish cartoons that provoked Muslim riots worldwide, a resolution tabled by the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) would instruct the UNHRC’s special investigator on religious freedom “to work closely with mass media organizations to ensure that they create and promote an atmosphere of respect and tolerance for religious and cultural diversity.”

The Islamic bloc is attempting to turn an international shield for religious freedom into a sword for religious-motivated state censorship. It’s part of a larger campaign to invert the real danger of Islamist extremism and terrorism around the globe into an imagined narrative of Western victimization of Islam and its adherents.

UN Watch calls on the US and the EU to prevent any distortion or weakening of international laws on individual religious freedom. As the leaders of this campaign are major beneficiaries of US aid such as Egypt and Pakistan, we trust that high-level US demarches would convince them to stand down.

UN Watch today also called on the US, the EU and all UN member states to forcefully speak out against tomorrow’s scheduled appointment of ex-Sandinista Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann to the council’s 18-member Advisory Committee.  According to this UN document, he is running unopposed on a Latin American slate.

His record of virulent anti-American, anti-Western and anti-Semitic politics, and his ardent support for extremist leaders such as Iranian President Ahmadinejad, have rendered him a notoriously divisive figure who falls afoul of this UN position’s criteria of independence and impartiality.

When D’Escoto served recently as President of the UN General Assembly, his appointees as senior advisers included anti-American guru Noam Chomsky, Qaddafi ally Ramsey Clark, and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Richard Falk — whom the Palestinian Authority recently asked to quit on account of his being a “partisan of Hamas”. In September 2009, Brockmann designated Cuban dictator Fidel Castro a “World Hero of Solidarity.”

Alejandro Wolff, the deputy ambassador to Susan Rice, the U.S. representative at the United Nations, said on September 12, 2008, that Mr. d’Escoto “has repeatedly abused his position to pursue his personal agenda, and in doing so he diminishes the office and harms the General Assembly. He is doing the United Nations a disservice by dividing the membership at a time when he should be a unifying force,” the official U.S. statement said.

Mr. d’Escoto has singled out the United States for criticizing Iran’s nuclear agenda and for allegedly triggering the global credit crisis with its “moral and ethical failure.”

He says Washington uses its influence to unfairly dictate U.N. priorities, and accused the United States and other industrialized nations of starving the world with their hunger for natural resources such as oil.

According to a Washington Times report, many diplomats say Mr. d’Escoto ran the 192-member world body based on his own passions, convening meetings to denounce Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip and last summer’s coup in Honduras.

As The New Republic reported, d’Escoto sided with Sudan’s president Bashir after he was indicted for genocide:

Take a March showing the Nicaraguan priest and onetime Sandinista put on after returning from a tour through Asia and Europe, during which he had cozied up to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and defended Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir against Darfur-related war crimes charges. Back in New York and pressed by reporters about such controversial stands, he scoffed at Washington’s demonization of Ahmadinejad, given its “canonization of the worst of dictators,” like Marcos and Pinochet. He blamed the United States for undermining the United Nations in the run-up to the Iraq war. He suggested that the Bashir indictment was racist and tied it (and, if his furrowed brow and hand-waving were any indication, the Darfur carnage itself) to the White House. “Who first raised the issue of genocide?” he said. “Bush. George W. Bush. That should tell you quite a bit already.”

On September 17, 2008, D’Escoto embraced President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after the Iranian leader delivered a strongly anti-Israel and anti-Zionist speech to the UN General Assembly. In response, Professor Gabriela Shalev, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, called D’Escoto an “Israel hater.”

Two month later, the Simon Wiesenthal Center criticized D’Escoto after he said that Israel is “crucifying” Palestinians, which the Center said was an anti-Semitic analogy to the crucifixion of Jesus.

The UNHRC’s Advisory Committee is currently headed by former Moroccan diplomat Halima Warzazi, who on September 1, 1988, personally blocked a UN motion that would have censured Saddam Hussein for gassing the Kurds of Halabja. (See 1988 “No action” motion.)  The vice-chair is Jean Ziegler, a former Swiss socialist politician who in 1989, as reported in Time magazine, helped create the “Moammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize.”

Not even George Orwell could have imagined an organization as morally inverted as the UN Human Rights Council.

UN Watch