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May 7, 2014 5:43 pm

UN Human Rights Council Under Fire Ahead of Vote to Fill Position Created by Gaddafi Prize Co-Founder

avatar by Joshua Levitt

UN Human Rights Council. Photo: WikiCommons.

UN Human Rights Council. Photo: WikiCommons.

The United Nations Human Rights Council came under fire ahead of a vote on Thursday to fill the position of UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, a post initiated by Cuba and created by the co-founder of the Muammar Gaddafi Human Rights Prize.

The top candidate is Turkish lawyer Hilal Elver, wife and employee of current UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk whose six-year term is expiring. As well as accusations of nepotism, Elver’s candidacy is also raising questions about the integrity of the UN selection process because of her lack of legitimate credentials.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch on Tuesday said, “I don’t know why the U.S. is refusing to speak out. The appointment of Falk’s wife for a 6-year term on the same day that his own term ends is crass nepotism, in flagrant breach of council rules. And she is completely unfit to serve.”

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Neuer said Elver’s application included self-disqualifying answers, stating that she was in violation of the council’s conflict-of-interest prohibition, while her responses were replete with spelling mistakes and non-sequiturs.

“Hilal Elver is not only Richard Falk’s wife, employee and main collaborator, but she echoes his crude and simplistic post-colonial narrative, which demonizes America, the West, and Israel, while praising dictators like Erdogan and the books of 9/11 conspiracy theorists,” Neuer said.

Elver is the co-author of many articles with Falk, condemned last year by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, and has joined her husband on numerous occasions in supporting the work of 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and in accusing the West and Israel of Islamophobia and “genocide,” Neuer said.

On Tuesday, UN Watch sent a letter to U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and copied it to UN ambassadors from Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Romania and the UK, all of whom are voting members on the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council, and to Canada, an observer.

According to UN Watch, thousands have signed an online campaign appealing for the U.S. government to take action against Elver’s candidacy.

UN Watch said it was “deeply concerned” over her candidacy, “which we believe will harm the cause of human rights, damage the reputation of the United Nations, and undermine the interests of the United States.”

“As you know, the Right to Food mandate was conceived by Cuba in 2000 to be used as a political weapon against the U.S. and West, which is exactly what the first mandate-holder— Jean Ziegler, co-founder of the Muammar Gaddafi Human Rights Prize—did for eight years. A review of Ms. Elver’s record suggests that she would follow this politicized and prejudiced path,” UN Watch said in its letter to Powers.

“Under Article 39 of the Annex to Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1, the criteria for mandate-holders include: (a) expertise; (b) experience in the field of the mandate; (c) independence; (d) impartiality; (e) personal integrity; and (f) objectivity. Ms. Elver clearly fails to meet these criteria.”

Of the group’s strongest accusations against Elver, the most astounding was her support of conspiracy theories that blame the U.S. for attacking itself on 9/11.

“Together with her husband and co-author Richard Falk, Elver is explicitly acknowledged in the world’s leading 9/11 conspiracy book, ‘The New Pearl Harbor,’ for the help she provided the author, David Ray Griffin,” UN Watch said. “Elver’s own academic work cites to Griffin’s conspiracy book, which argues that the Bush Administration helped orchestrate the attacks on the World Trade Center to justify wars against Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

On its charges of nepotism, UN Watch said, “Appointing Elver will in some ways be like appointing Falk, and will send a terrible message: the day that Falk finally leaves the UN, he will walk back in through another door. Symbolism matters.”

On Israel, which was a constant target of Falk, UN Watch said Elver’s work can be expected to vilify the Jewish state:  “Like Falk, Elver Accuses Israel of ‘Water Apartheid’ and ‘Genocide’… As UN food expert, we can guess what her first charge will be. At a December conference in Qatar, she gave a lecture on Israel entitled ‘Water Apartheid.’ There is every indication that Elver would, like Ziegler, twist the hunger post to go after Israel. In 2007, Elver accused the Jewish state of ‘genocide’ and compared Israelis to ‘Nazis.'”

Elver’s conspiracy writings pin all faults in world affairs on “the Jewish Lobby,” which she even accuses of controlling Muslim groups.

Indeed, “many Muslim organizations are being controlled” in the American political arena by “pro-Israel lobbyist groups,” UN Watch quoted Elver as saying.

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