(Washington Times) Embassy Row: Swiss diplomat ‘unfit’ for U.N.

The Washington Times
Sunday, August 18, 2013
By James Morrison
After criticizing the U.N. for its “entrenched” bureaucracy, Samantha Power now is trying to block the re-election of a Swiss diplomat accused of lavishing praise on dictators and abuse on Israel.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations took to Twitter to denounce Jean Ziegler, a former sociology professor and former Social Democrat member of the Swiss parliament.
“Indeed, Dr. Ziegler is unfit for continued service” at the U.N. Human Rights Council, she wrote last week.
Ms. Power, whom conservatives feared would be a weak advocate for U.S. values at the U.N., is turning out to be a critic of the status quo. This month, she used her first speech as ambassador to prod the U.N.
“Bureaucracies are built. Positions become entrenched,” she said in a speech in Los Angeles. “And while the United Nations has done tremendous good in the world, there are times when the organization has lost its way.”
In her denunciation of Mr. Ziegler, she took on a 79-year-old fixture at the U.N. who has praised Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, Iraq‘sSaddam Hussein and Cuba’s Fidel Castro, while accusing Israel of human rights abuses.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, praised Ms. Power and denounced Switzerland for nominating Mr. Ziegler for another term.
“We applaud the principled statement of Ambassador Power and urge the U.S. and other nations to actively fight the incomprehensible Swiss nomination,” said Mr. Neuer, whose Swiss-based group monitors human rights issues at the U.N.
The Swiss Foreign Ministry has defended the nomination, pointing to Mr. Ziegler’s service as a U.N. representative to fight world hunger from 2000 to 2008.
“One of his many achievements has been to make the right to food one of the main priorities of U.N. agencies and bodies which fight poverty and hunger,” the ministry said.
However, the head of the U.N. World Food Program complained in 2002 about Mr. Ziegler’s incompetence.
He is “seriously damaging the efforts to respond to food crises around the world,” then-Executive Director James Morris wrote to Kofi Annan, at the time the U.N. secretary-general.

UN Watch