UN: ‘Sanction Israeli Apartheid’ Campaigner to Stay Chair of Israel Inquiry

In response to a legal petition filed today by UN Watch, the president of the United Nations Human Rights Council defended Navi Pillay’s appointment to a UN inquiry on Israel, despite revelations of her campaigning against the Jewish state on matters that are the object of the inquiry.

As reported by Agence France Presse, and in more detail by Tovah Lazaroff of the Jerusalem Post, following enquiries about UN Watch’s complaint, Ambassador Federico Villegas of Argentina, who is currently serving as council president, issued the following statement:

The President of the Human Rights Council places the utmost importance on examining the independence and impartiality of each member in order to ensure the objectivity of the body.

Additionally, the President places special emphasis on the qualifications, skills, expertise and experience of the candidates when making his/her appointment.

While there were differing views during the negotiations and voting on the resolution that created the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, once the Council adopted that resolution, the Commission became a mechanism of the Council that deserves the full respect and cooperation of all Council stakeholders.

Pillay was appointed in July by the former UNHRC president, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan of Fiji, who is soon to become Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

UN Watch Response to UNHRC President Federico Villegas

UN Watch regrets that the response of Ambassador Villegas fails to address the compelling evidence in UN Watch’s complaint of  how Navi Pillay has been overtly campaigning against Israel, signing letters to President Biden urging him to end Israeli “oppression”, and signing boycott appeals that call to “Sanction Apartheid Israel!”

“Anyone who takes a moment to see what Navi Pillay has said and endorsed in her campaigning against Israel, and then reads what her UN panel is charged to investigate, will see immediately that Pillay’s continued membership on the commission of inquiry is a mockery of the principles of impartiality, and a travesty of justice,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

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