UN picks controversial Canadian as new Palestinian rapporteur

Critics point out that Michael Lynk is an outspoken and biased opponent of Israel and blamed the West for 9/11

The Human Rights Council in Geneva (UN/Jean-Marc Ferré)
The Human Rights Council in Geneva (UN/Jean-Marc Ferré)

The UN Human Rights Council chief on Wednesday nominated a Canadian law professor to a controversial post surveying the rights situation in the Palestinian territories.

Council president Choi Kyonglim circulated a letter to member states proposing that Michael Lynk be appointed to the position of special rapporteur, and the council was expected to accept the appointment Thursday without a vote.

Critics, including the monitoring group UN Watch, rejected Lynk’s appointment, with the NGO calling the Canadian a biased choice for the post and “a travesty of justice and a breach of the world body’s own rules,” CEO Hillel Neuer said in a statement. It pointed out that Lynk has been a vocal critic of Israel, for example, condemning Israel for alleged “war crimes” in Gaza in 2009 and solving the conflict by going “back to 1948, the date of partition and the start of ethnic cleansing.”

UN Watch noted Lynk blamed the September 11, 2001 attacks on “global inequalities” and “disregard by Western nations for the international rule of law.”

Michael Lynk (Courtesy)
Michael Lynk (Courtesy)

“One day after Islamists murdered and maimed hundreds in the heart of Europe, the UN’s appointment of someone who instinctively blames such attacks on the alleged crimes of Western nations sends absolutely the worst message, at the worst time.”

Lynk would replace Makarim Wibisono, who announced in January he would step down over Israel’s refusal to cooperate with his mandate and not allowing him access to the areas he was meant to monitor.

Wibisono, an Indonesian diplomat who took on the role in June 2014, presented his final report to the council on Monday, criticizing a “lack of cooperation (that) regrettably seems to signal the continuation of a situation under which Palestinians suffer daily human rights violations under the Israeli occupation.”

The mandate is controversial, since it is limited to investigating Israel’s violations.

Wibisono’s predecessor Richard Falk was also blocked from accessing the Palestinian territories, and it remains unclear if Lynk will be able to do so.

Israel has a tense relationship with the Human Rights Council, which it accuses of having a built-in bias against it.

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