Issue 317: UN Should Apologize For “Legitimizing” Gaddafi with Key Posts

45 NGOs urge UN Human Rights Council’s Jean Ziegler
to resign for founding “Gaddafi Human Rights Prize”


GENEVA, Oct. 20 – UN Watch today welcomed the end of the Gaddafi regime, one of the world’s most brutal violators of human rights, and called on UN chief Ban Ki-moon and human rights commissioner Navi Pillay to acknowledge the UN was wrong to support Gaddafi by granting him key posts on its most influential bodies.

“It’s time for the UN to formally apologize for having legitimized Gaddafi’s regime by electing Libya to its Human Rights Council last year, to the Security Council in 2008-2009, and as General Assembly president in 2009,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based watchdog organization.

“The UN should also apologize for choosing Gaddafi’s regime to head the planning of its 2009 world conference on racism, and for designating Col. Gaddafi’s daughter Ayesha a UN Goodwill Ambassador.”

“On this day, it would also be appropriate for Mr. Ban and Ms. Pillay to call for Jean Ziegler, the co-founder of the Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize, a propaganda tool for the regime, to resign from the UN Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee.”

An international coalition of 45 human rights groups have urged Mr. Ban and Ms. Pillay to call on the UN Human Rights Council to fire Ziegler for his actions over three decades to shield Libyan dictator Col. Gaddafi from scrutiny of his regime’s gross violations of human rights.

The NGO appeal names Jean Ziegler, a member of the UNHRC Advisory Committee, who in 1989 announced the creation of the Moammar Gaddafi Prize for Human Rights. When Libya’s rights record was reviewed in November 2010, a Libyan-funded group tied to Ziegler distributed a 2010 book, edited by Ziegler, that likens Gaddafi to the philosopher Rousseau.

A recent Swiss TV report confirmed Ziegler’s key role in creating the Gaddafi prize, which it described as “an instrument of propaganda for the dictator.” As a result, citing his Gaddafi connections, the famed Salzburg Festival decided to cancel Ziegler’s keynote address this summer, sparking a heated controversy in Austria.

UN Watch also called on the international community to ensure that the new Libyan government pays full compensation to Gaddafi’s victims, including those falsely charged, imprisoned and tortured in the Benghazi hospital affair: Bulgarian nurses Kristiana Valcheva, Nasya Nenova, Snezhanka Dimitrova, Valya Chervenyashka, Valentina Siropulo, and Palestinian doctor Ashraf El-Hagog Jumaa. UN Watch has helped represent the victims in a complaint before the UN Human Rights Committee.


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