“They came to us because we went to them”
GENEVA, December 17, 2015 – A watchdog group called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the UN ambassadors of the U.S., UK, France, and Germany, to condemn a UN Human Rights Council official for “an offensive and morally perverse” essay blaming last month’s Paris attacks on the U.S., Western colonialism, capitalism, and “Israeli settlers” — and implicitly justifying them as “a response to grave injustices and ongoing abuses perpetrated by the dominant, primarily developed countries, against populations of less developed countries.”
UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer said leading figures at the United Nations need to condemn the remarks, noting that the UN chief had done so in a virtually-identical case in 2013, when in a blog post former UN expert Richard Falk similarly blamed the Boston Marathon terror attacks on “American global domination” and “Tel Aviv.”
“We urge the UN Secretary-General to publicly reject Mr. De Zayas’ highly offensive comments, and to clarify that no grievance, real or imagined, could ever justify the horrific terrorist attacks that killed 130 innocent people in Paris, wounding hundreds more. To grant even the slightest exoneration to the Islamic State and its criminal perpetrators is to insult the memory of the victims,” said Neuer.
“We request the UN Secretary-General to remind all special rapporteurs of the need to understand that while they have independent status, their public comments — when the so-called attempt to “understand” terrorism crosses the line into moral exoneration — can undermine the work and credibility of the United Nations,” said Neuer.
“Sadly, with the Human Rights Council’s democratic credentials about to sink to the lowest level ever — only 38% of the incoming 2016 membership will be free democracies — we fear more appointments of UN rights experts who will serve as apologists for dictators and terrorism, adding to existing figures like De Zayas, Jean Ziegler and Idriss Jazairy,” said Neuer.
De Zayas Blames West For Paris Attacks, Justifies “Tactics of the Underdog”
In a 1500-word essay written in response to the Paris attacks, Alfred de Zayas, the UNHRC’s “Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order” — an anti-Western mandate which he acknowledges was initiated by Cuba — purports to examine “the root causes of terrorism,” laying most of the blame on what he portrays as Western “abuses of the powerful.” Terrorism becomes merely the “tactics of the underdog.”
De Zayas argues that “terrorism, albeit neither justified nor justifiable, is partly a response to grave injustices and on-going abuses perpetrated by the dominant, primarily developed countries, against populations of less developed countries.”
Beyond his litany of alleged abuses by Western, former colonialist powers, De Zayas points the finger at “old religious tensions and conflicts” between “Israeli settlers and Palestinian populations,” and twice invokes “Gaza” as well as “occupation.”
Blaming France for Own Misfortune
Apparently blaming former colonial power France for its own misfortune, De Zayas repeatedly indicts “colonialism” in Africa and Asia as well as “the humiliation of whole populations,” saying that “the victims and the survivors” of historic violence “have neither forgotten nor forgiven.”
In a thinly-veiled reference to America, De Zayas says victims are “living in the ruins, in the midst of the destruction wrought by ‘smart weapons,’ often fabricated in one of the so called P5 States and perpetuated by unilateral or multilateral sanctions.” (The U.S. is one of the “Permanent 5” member of the UN Security Council; De Zayas was chosen for his post by Cuba, which sponsors UN mechanisms that condemn all sanctions as human rights abuses.)
While insisting that “nothing will ever justify the killing of innocent people,” this is qualified by De Zayas. “Alas,” he writes, the “point of desperation was reached.”
“The undemocratic and inequitable world order prevailing today,” which is the official subject of De Zayas’ anti-Western UN mandate, “has caused gravest injustice to many peoples worldwide.”
De Zayas lists “idolatries we have invented,” and these include “expansion of markets,” “laissez-faire,” “free trade,” and “competition.”
Among the root causes of terrorism, writes De Zayas, “we must acknowledge the accumulation of hatred… because of very real abuses from various origins affecting millions of human beings.”
“They came to us because we went to them,” says the UN expert.