Joint Appeal to United Nations Secretary General Guterres:
Create An Independent Investigation Into the Targeting of UN Watch
Dear Secretary General António Guterres,
We, the undersigned human rights activists, Members of Parliament, former cabinet ministers, civil society representatives, families of political prisoners, and other concerned citizens are alarmed by the allegations of harassment and gross misconduct by the Chief of the UN Human Rights Council branch committed against the non-governmental human rights organization UN Watch, as detailed in the Complaint dated 6 October 2022.
Excellency, we urge you to create an independent investigation as an essential step for accountability and justice.
The late United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said: “I deeply appreciate the valuable work performed by UN Watch. Informed and independent evaluation of the United Nations’ activities will prove a vital source as we seek to adapt the Organization to the needs of a changing world.”
Likewise, we express our strong support for the vital work of UN Watch to monitor the world body and uphold the Charter of the United Nations, and to promote and protect human rights for all.
We commend UN Watch for being one of the leading non-governmental organizations in bringing human rights defenders, dissidents, victims, and family members of political prisoners to testify before the United Nations.
Accordingly, we are gravely concerned by any restrictions on the ability of UN Watch to exercise its legitimate rights to take the floor at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), as detailed in the aforementioned Complaint, which would harm not only that organization, but also the human rights of victims of urgent country situations worldwide who are regularly given a voice and platform by UN Watch.
Excellency, we urge you to ensure that members of the UNHRC Secretariat respect the right of non-governmental organizations to participate at the United Nations, grounded in Article 71 of the UN Charter, and, in particular, that they respect the right of NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status, such as UN Watch, to participate equally in Council sessions, including through making oral presentations and written statements, as recognized under UNGA Resolution 60/251, the Council’s founding document, HRC Resolution 5/1, and ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31.
In addition, we urge you to ensure that members of the UNHRC Secretariat respect the right of UN Watch to freedom of expression, as guaranteed under Art. 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Art. 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. For the United Nations to be a place for dialogue, all voices must be heard.
Excellency, without urgent action, the essential work of UN Watch to safeguard the principles of the United Nations Charter, and to protect human rights for all, will be at grave risk.
Accordingly, we urge you to act swiftly to create an independent investigation, to ensure accountability, and to restore the legitimate rights of UN Watch to participate fully and on an equal basis at the United Nations.