Wiesenthal Centre Urges Swiss To Withdraw UN Nominee

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Wiesenthal Centre to Swiss Foreign Minister: "Withdraw Your Nominee from New UN Council - An Appointment that Would Turn Human Rights into a Travesty"

Paris, 24 April 2006

In a letter to Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, protested Switzerland's nomination of Jean Ziegler as expert to the think-tank on "The Promotion and Protection of Human Rights" of the about-to-be-launched, United Nations Human Rights Council.

Samuels noted, "This Council was ostensibly conceived to replace the morally bankrupt U.N. Human Rights Commission, which has served as a haven for human rights violations. Indeed, it was Ziegler who, as Rapporteur on the Right to Food for the last six years, represented all that was wrong with the Commission."

The letter suggested that "Switzerland propose a more appropriate Swiss citizen than the founder of the 'Muammar Khadafi Foundation for Human Rights,' established by Ziegler in 1989, four months after the Libyan sponsored terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. The 2002 Khadafi Human Rights laureates were Ziegler and convicted French Holocaust denier, Roger Garaudy."

Samuels continued, "While charging the United States and Israel for starvation genocide in Cuba and the Palestine Authority respectively, he has ignored the famines of Burundi, Chad, Central African Republic and other stricken nations…"

"…According to UN Watch, he has served Mengistu, the perpetrator of mass murder by starvation in Ethiopia, in assisting in writing that country's one party constitution."

The letter emphasized, "Ziegler has acted as an apologist for totalitarian despots, and is the only Rapporteur to have ever been condemned by the UN Secretary-General and the Human Rights Commissioner for an antisemitic slur characterizing Israeli soldiers as concentration camp guards."

The Centre joined associations of victims of torture and political prisoners of Cuba and Libya, in urging Switzerland to withdraw this outrageous nomination.

Samuels concluded, "Ziegler's appointment to the new Council is an exercise in the theatre of the absurd. It makes a mockery of the UN's claim that this new structure will take the control of the agenda away from the violators of basic freedoms..."

"...Ziegler at the Council will turn the term 'human rights' into a travesty."

For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33.6.09.77.01.58.