The campaign against the UN Human Rights Officer on Palestine

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By Webdesk

A strong campaign in support of United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territory Francesca Albanese has sprung up in response to an ongoing campaign to have her fired.

Three former rapporteurs urged the UN on April 27 to publicly defend their successor, stating that she had been the target of attacks that were “defamatory” and “personal”.

In her second year in the role, Albanian tweeted Wednesday, she “saw too many kills [of Palestinians]too much arbitrariness, zero accountability” and faced accusations against her work to expose these wrongdoings – “horrible words… to hide a far more horrific reality”.

The Italian international human rights lawyer was appointed to the position on May 1, 2022, the first woman to hold the position and oversee the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, established in 1993.

In the letter to the UN leadership, former rapporteurs John Dugard, Richard Falk and Michael Lynk said they too have been subject to such attacks during their tenure, but that the slander against Albanians is of “greater cruelty and meanness”.

The letter was written by South African Dugard, who held the role from 2001 to 2008, American Falk (2008 to 2014) and Canadian Lynk (2016 to 2022).

“During our respective terms as UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Territories [occupied Palestinian territory]”The UN leadership has not done nearly enough to speak out against the relentless attacks against us,” the group said.

“The silence of the UN leadership in the face of these attacks only encouraged those organizations and individuals to continue this behavior and to attempt at every opportunity to mud-sling the mandate,” they added.

Calls for dismissal

Albanese has faced calls for her resignation from multiple fronts, largely accusing her of making anti-Semitic remarks and having an anti-Israel bias.

In January, a bipartisan letter from 11 representatives in the US Congress accused Albanians of “ancient anti-Semitic tropes”, and called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk to remove her from office.

Other calls for her resignation have come from Amichai Chikli, Israel’s minister of diaspora affairs and social equality, who in April accused her of having “bias towards Israel”.

In addition, Israeli NGOs International Legal Forum and Monitor have joined the chorus of calls for her resignation.

Monitor’s board includes Elliot Abrams, the neoconservative former foreign policy adviser to U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, who has been described as “a passionate advocate for Israel.”

The board of the International Legal Forum includes Michael Mukasey, a former US attorney general during the Bush era who in 2014 defended that administration’s waterboarding torture tactics during the US’s so-called “war on terror,” CNN reported. when.

‘Smear campaign’ to silence

Hundreds of civil society organizations, academics, lawyers and politicians have defended Albanian.

On April 26, Amnesty International Italy released a letter in support of the UN Human Rights Officer, which dozens of Italian human rights organizations, MPs, lawyers and academics signed.

A previous statement in support of Albanians in January 2023 included 116 human rights groups, civil society organizations and academic institutions from around the world.

It was in response to a statement by the Israeli mission to the UN in Geneva in December 2022, accusing the rapporteur of “anti-Semitic remarks”.

“Our organizations and groups warn that this smear campaign against the Albanian UN Security Council is the latest manifestation of a pattern of Israeli attacks aimed at addressing any legitimate criticism of its inhumane treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). to silence.” group of 116 international organizations and academics.

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