Geneva, Jan. 31 — UN Watch welcomed the new clarification issued today by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, in response to its Jan. 28, 2008 letter protesting her endorsement of the Arab Charter on Human Rights, which contains anti-Semitic provisions.
“Last week the High Commissioner endorsed the Arab Charter, but today she has shown courage in criticizing its ‘incompatibility… with international norms and standards,’ and that’s a step forward,” said Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director. “We welcome Ms. Arbour’s recognition today that the Arab Charter includes ‘inconsistencies’ in regard to its approach to the death penalty for children, the rights of women and non-citizens, and anti-Zionism.”
“At the same time, we await a response to our demand that the UN official who advised the High Commissioner to sign the initial January 24 announcement be held fully accountable,” said Neuer. “We are talking about someone who recommended the endorsing of a charter that promotes classically anti-Semitic themes, describing Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement, as uniquely evil, and advocating its ‘elimination.’ We trust that the High Commissioner — whose mandate centers on the notion of individual responsibility and accountability, and who opposes the culture of impunity — will lead by example and ask the responsible adviser to draw the necessary conclusions.”
“This latest episode only underscores the kind of dangers that are up ahead. With Ms. Arbour serving as secretary-general of the Durban Review process — ostensibly UN meetings to combat racism, but which is chaired by Libya with the help of Iran and Cuba — we trust that she will immediately and forcefully oppose any similar efforts to hijack the language and idea of human rights for anti-Zionism or to denigrate Western democracies,” said Neuer.