Letter of UN rights chief calling Richard Falk’s cartoon “anti-Semitic,” condemning hatred

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11 July 2011

Dear Mr. Neuer,

I write in response to your letter of 6 July 2011, concerning an anti-Semitic image posted on the personal website of Mr. Richard Falk.

As you are aware, special procedures mandate-holders are neither representatives nor employees of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Member States of the Human Rights Council appoint mandate-holders. The criteria upon which the Member States appoint mandate-holders were established by the Human Rights Council though its resolution 5/1. Upon appointment, mandate-holders serve in their independent capacities and report directly to the Member States of the Human Rights Council.

Notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Falk is neither a representative nor an employee of my Office, thank you for drawing my attention to the anti-Semitic image that was posted on his personal website. I utterly deplore and condemn anti-Semitism, as I do any form of incitement to hatred and racial discrimination.

I also note Mr. Falk’s series of public apologies, in which he explained his inadvertent mistake and clearly acknowledged the anti-Semitic and objectionable nature of the cartoon. I welcome the fact that he swiftly removed the image from his website, and expressed his regrets at his own “carelessness” in not examining it more carefully before posting it in the first place.

Yours sincerely,

Navanethem Pillay
High Commissioner for Human Rights

UN Watch