Question of Palestine home
8 March 2007
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Item 2 of the provisional agenda
IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 60/251
OF 15 MARCH 2006 ENTITLED “HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL”
Written statement* submitted by B’nai B’rith International,
a non-governmental organization on the Roster
The Secretary-General has received the following written statement which is circulated in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31.
[2 March 2007]
* This written statement is issued, unedited, in the language(s) received from the submitting non-governmental organization(s).
We take issue with the selective and one-sided mandate of John Dugard, the Special Rapporteur on “Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” Having previously stated that he has a political agenda, Dugard is as one-sided in his selection of facts as is his mandate. In the most recent report before the Council, he mentions the financial burden under which the Palestinians are suffering, blaming Israel, Europe, and the US for the imposition of financial sanctions without discussing the Quartet's three principles for engagement. While no one will deny the importance of fulfilling humanitarian needs it is important to consider some relevant figures. The UN Palestinian Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is primarily financed by the US and the EU, was allocated a cash budget for 2006 of $470.9 million, which is meant to underwrite UNRWA's ongoing services in education, health, and relief. Yet, according to Dugard, these areas are the ones that are suffering most.
According to the UN statistics, 27,000 staff work for UNRWA, whereas the entire headquarters and field staff of the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights numbers 576. At $86.5 million, OHCHR's budget is almost five times smaller than UNRWA's budget of $470.9 million.
B'nai B'rith International continues to support the system of special procedures, with the exception of the role of the aforementioned Rapporteur. We also take issue with Jean Ziegler, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, the only expert to have been censured by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who has abused his position to advance a radical, anti-Israel agenda. Mandate holders should demonstrate expertise in their fields, be independent of any government and demonstrate impartiality and integrity.