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May 8, 2014 10:16 am

Canada FM: UN Special Rapporteur Candidate’s Comments on Israel Show ‘Abysmal Judgment’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. Photo: WikiCommons.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. Photo: WikiCommons.

Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird on Thursday said he was “concerned” over the leading candidacy of Turkish lawyer Hilal Elver for UN Special Rapporteur for Food in a vote being held by the UN Human Rights Commission today in Geneva.

Elver is married to Richard Falk, another UN Special Rapporteur who has been criticized for peddling in conspiracy theories and for intense hostility to Israel.

Canada is non-voting observer at the UNHRC, but Baird voiced his opposition to her candidacy, saying on Twitter that Elver’s “comments on #Israel and a range of issues have shown abysmal judgment.”

On Twitter, Baird also said, “I urge the HRC to consider alternative candidates. We hoped there’d be less such unsuitable views at the @UN after Richard Falk’s retirement.”

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On Tuesday, Geneva-based UN Watch sent a letter of complaint 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, plus Canada, an observer state.

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.”

“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,” Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch said.

In its letter to the diplomats, UN Watch said, “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.”

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