March 15, 2022
OTTAWA – B’nai Brith Canada has formally asked Bob Rae, Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations, to help remove the highly biased Chair of the “Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territories” of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
B’nai Brith urged Rae to raise Navi Pillay’s lack of impartiality with the United Nations General Assembly as grounds for her disqualification from the post. B’nai Brith also will file a formal complaint with the UNHRC President, asking for Pillay to be removed.
For years, Pillay has made no attempt to hide her bias against Israel. These include signing a petition by the South African Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (SA BDS) Coalition, entitled “Sanction Apartheid Israel!” Pillay gave a lecture in May 2021 during which she suggested Israel has treated Palestinians in inhuman ways. She also drew comparisons between Israel and South Africa, which once practiced apartheid. While serving as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Pillay claimed Israel gives the impression that its government treats international law “with perpetual disdain.”
“This nomination epitomizes everything that is wrong with the UNHRC,” said Marvin Rotrand, National Director of B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights. “It’s appalling that the United Nations can appoint someone to serve as the Chair of a supposedly impartial investigation who has vilified Israel and declared it guilty of crimes that are supposed to be part of the Commission’s investigation.”
“Ms. Pillay’s record of condemning Israel and publicly lobbying against it clearly demonstrates her unsuitability as an impartial head of this Commission of Inquiry,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “By not removing Ms. Pillay from her post, the UN risks further damaging its own credibility along with that of the Commission.”
The appeal follows a tweet by Ambassador Rae indicating an openness to expel the Russian Federation as a member of the UNHRC, due to its brutal invasion of Ukraine. In addition to the Pillay matter, B’nai Brith also invited Rae to support a more far-reaching reform of the UNHRC, noting that many of its members comprise some of the world’s worst human-rights abusers. Among the Human Rights Council’s 47 members are known human-rights violators, including China, Cuba, Eritrea, Pakistan, Venezuela and Libya.