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U.N. Human Rights Council President Urged: Condemn Anti-Israel Report

February 27, 2008

His Excellency Mr. Doru Costea
President, United Nations Human Rights Council
Permanent Mission of Romania to the United Nations in Geneva
6, Chemin de la Perrière
1223 Cologny-Geneva

Dear Mr. President:

We were outraged by the report “Human Rights Situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories,” in which John Dugard, the Special Rapporteur, justifies Palestinian terrorism as an “inevitable consequence” of Israel’s actions.  The January 21 report goes on to offer an unapologetically one-sided assessment of the situation, stating Israel “exploits the present international fear of terrorism to the full” while absolving the terrorists of any responsibility for their murderous actions.

Mr. Dugard outrageously attempts to soft-pedal the ongoing barrage of attacks by terrorist groups operating in Gaza, including indiscriminate rocket fire on Israeli cities, by suggesting that “acts of terror against military occupation must be seen in historical context,” rather than denounced unequivocally.

In suggesting that Israel manipulates the international community -- as if Qassam rockets were not falling daily on the citizens of southern Israel -- Mr. Dugard abandons any pretense of objectivity.  This unsubstantiated charge and others championed by Mr. Dugard’s report may feed his own longheld and fundamentally biased preconceptions of the conflict, but do little to serve the cause of peace, or even to promote reconciliation between the parties.

In previous communications with United Nations Human Rights officials, we have been told that as a Special Rapporteur, Mr. Dugard is not considered a United Nations official, but an individual expert and, therefore, his opinions should not be considered representative of the United Nations or of the Human Rights Council.  The International Court of Justice, however, has advised in the Cumaraswamy case that Special Rapporteurs are “agents” of the United Nations in their capacity as “experts on mission.”  An agent may be free to express his opinion, but the principal – the Human Rights Council – must accept responsibility for its agent’s actions. 

Mr. Dugard’s shocking partiality and skewed anti-Israel opinions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are seen by the public and the press as having the imprimatur and ostensible legitimization of the United Nations and of the Human Rights Council.  Mr. Dugard’s cynical abuse of his position as Special Rapporteur brings disrepute on the entire Human Rights Council.

Mr. President, we know that you care deeply about changing the reputation and legitimacy of the Human Rights Council.  As President of the Council, which is the principal for which Mr. Dugard is an agent, we ask you to take the unprecedented step of criticizing from the podium the unjustifiable statements cited above, as well as the accusation of apartheid, and other falsehoods that we would leave to your judgment to include or not include in your statement.

We understand it is not in your power, as President, to dismiss Mr. Dugard or to refuse the report in its entirety.  We hope, though, that you will find a suitable opportunity to publicly distance your presidency from Mr. Dugard in the interests of the Council’s reputation and as a matter of fundamental justice.


Glen S. Lewy
National Chairman

Abraham H. Foxman
National Director

Related Press Release
ADL Calls On President Of U.N. Human Rights Council To Speak Out Against Anti-Israel Report

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