GENEVA – UN Watch salutes the US government for echoing our call for an end to the UN service of Richard Falk, the UN Human Rights Council’s expert on Palestine, after his recent posting of a cartoon showing a bloodthirsty dog wearing a “USA” garment and a Jewish religious headcover. Click here for full timeline.
The US statement speaks of registering a protest with the UN. However, said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, “unless Falk resigns, and he has already resisted demands over the past three years, only the 47-nation council can remove him. And the majority of that body has always embraced Falk.”
Council members could have fired him in March, after Falk was castigated for his 9/11 conspiracies by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Instead, they reportedly renewed his mandate for another three years, without objection. Also, the council doesn’t meet until September.
“Mr. Ban in practice has little influence on what happens in Geneva,” said Neuer. “On the contrary, Falk has attacked him with impunity, recently calling him a ‘shameless secretary-general.’ Yet no one in the UN human rights system spoke out.”
“Only one person’s voice carries real weight here: UN rights chief Navi Pillay,” said Neuer. “The Geneva-centered UN human rights system reveres the High Commissioner as the Catholic Church does the Pope. If she reprimands Falk, the word will ripple throughout the system. He would be shamed within the diplomatic and human rights communities, and would eventually have to resign. I therefore trust that the will US register its protest not with the UN in abstract, but with Ms. Pillay’s office in particular.”
In UN Watch’s Wednesday letter to Pillay, the Geneva human rights organization anticipated and refuted her office’s claim that they don’t pass comment on the council’s experts. UN Watch cited contrary precedents from Pillay’s predecessor, Louise Arbour, among others.
“If Pillay’s banner of anti-racism is more than just words, she most certainly can—and should—speak out.”