A UN-sponsored global tourism conference is being hosted by that bastion of human rights and enlightened democracy, Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, although we need to be thankful that at least Britain and Canada are refusing to attend:
The non-governmental advocacy group UN Watch welcomed reports that Britain and Canada will not be sending any representatives to a global UN tourism conference being hosted by Zimbabwe later this month, together with Zambia.
“Amid reports of election-rigging and ongoing human rights abuses, Zimbabwe is the last country that should be legitimized by a UN summit of any kind,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.
“The government of Robert Mugabe has brutalized human rights activists, crushed democracy dissidents, and turned the breadbasket of Africa into a basket-case. The notion that the UN should now spin this country as a lovely tourism destination is, frankly, sickening,” said Neuer.
Over the past decade, UN Watch has brought numerous Zimbabwean human rights activists to testify on the sidelines of UN conferences.
Over 500 diplomats and dignitaries from 150 countries will be attending the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) 20th General Assembly at Victoria Falls starting 26th August.
“UN Watch applauds Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird for taking the initiative last year to pull out of this misguided venture and spotlight the grossly inappropriate UN honor to Mugabe,” said Neuer.
In case you thought that was bad enough, here’s worse: Switzerland has nominated a supporter of the terrorist group Hezbollah to serve as an adviser to the Human Rights Council:
The Swiss government has nominated Jean Ziegler–-a former Social Democratic MP who has praised Hezbollah as a legitimate national movement–- to serve as an adviser to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The formal notification of Ziegler’s nomination to UN diplomats took place last week, sparking sharp criticism on Monday from a UN watchdog group.
Speaking Tuesday to The Jerusalem Post via phone, Hillel C. Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, said Ziegler has “extremist anti-Western and anti-Israel” views and a long history of attacking the Jewish state. UN Watch urged the Swiss government to rescind its nomination of Ziegler.
In 1982, Ziegler sought the expulsion of President Shimon Peres, then head of Israel’s Labor Party, from the Socialist International association.
In an interview with the Hezbollah publication Al-Akhbar in 2006, Ziegler said “I refuse to describe Hezbollah as a terrorist group. It is a national movement of resistance.”
Ziegler’s support for the late French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy was expressed in a 1996 letter, amid controversy over allegations of Holocaust denial in Garaudy’s book, The Founding Myths of Modern Israel: “I am outraged at the legal case they are making against you… All your work as a writer and philosopher attests to the rigor of your analysis and the unwavering honesty of your intentions. It makes you one of the leading thinkers of our time… It is for all these reasons that I express here my solidarity and my admiring friendship,” wrote Ziegler.
Ziegler’s Social Democratic party has been embroiled in Holocaust controversies over the years. The former Social Democratic foreign minister, Micheline Calmy-Rey, proposed seminars on different perspectives of the Holocaust back in 2006, when meeting with an Iranian delegation on the nuclear crisis.
Neuer chastised Ziegler for his role in serving as promoter of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Ziegler played a key role in the founding of Gaddafi’s International Prize for Human Rights. He told the Post, “While Gaddafi was raping women and girls, Ziegler was portraying him as a hero of human rights.”
The Swiss government defended Ziegler in a letter to the UN: “As a renowned expert with an excellent knowledge of economic, social and cultural rights, Prof. Jean Ziegler has always shown an acute independence of thought. He is a figure that has the ability to actively promote human rights both in the civil society and in the international community.”
Shame at Switzerland for this outrageous nomination. I expected more from them.
However, what with Zimbabwe hosting a tourism conference and a supporter of Holocaust denial and a terror organization being nominated to the Human Rights Council – of all the councils in the UN – I think Israel can safely ignore anything about which the UN feels entitled to preach to it.
I wonder if they realize what a laughing stock they have become.