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December 2, 2023

New York’s UN Human Rights Director resigns, slams organization for failing to protect civilians in Palestine

New York’s UN Human Rights Director, Craig Mokhiber, has resigned from his position, delivering a scathing letter of resignation in which he criticized the United Nations for its inability to prevent what he described as a genocide unfolding in Palestine.

In the heartfelt letter addressed to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mokhiber expressed deep anguish for the ongoing violence in Palestine, where he had investigated human rights issues since the 1980s, serving as a UN human rights advisor in Gaza during the 1990s.

Mokhiber also highlighted his extensive work in various conflict zones, including Rwanda, Bosnia, and Myanmar.

He asserted that the Palestinian crisis was the latest in a series of situations where the United Nations failed in its duty to prevent mass atrocities, protect vulnerable populations, and hold perpetrators accountable. In the letter, he wrote, “High Commissioner, we are failing again.”

Mokhiber, a human rights lawyer with over three decades of experience, argued that the ongoing violence in Palestine constituted genocide, rooted in an ethno-nationalist settler colonial ideology.

He accused the Israeli government and military of deliberately targeting civilians and expressed his frustration with the complicity of the United States, the United Kingdom, and many European governments in these atrocities.

The letter went on to criticize the role of corporate media and social media companies, stating that they were facilitating the dehumanization of Palestinians. It also touched upon the harassment and smearing of human rights defenders and the lack of action against them.

Mokhiber urged the UN to take a principled and effective approach to address the crisis, advocating for the abandonment of the Oslo paradigm, which he considered a failed approach, in favor of a more robust commitment to international human rights and international law.

He proposed a ten-point plan, including a one-state solution, calling for the establishment of a single, democratic, secular state in historic Palestine with equal rights for all, a focus on fighting apartheid, protection for civilians, and disarmament, among other measures.

In his closing remarks, Mokhiber called for the UN to boldly and proudly join the global anti-apartheid movement, adding the UN’s logo to the banner of equality and human rights for the Palestinian people.

Craig Mokhiber, after more than three decades of service with the UN, concluded his letter by thanking the High Commissioner and expressing his willingness to assist in the future.

His resignation letter has sparked a significant discussion within the United Nations about the organization’s approach to the ongoing crisis in Palestine.

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Mustapha Salisu

Mustapha Salisu is a graduate of BSc. Information and Media Studies from Bayero University Kano, with experience in Communication Skills as well as Public Relations.

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