The U.N. high commissioner for human rights clarified her support of an Arab charter containing anti-Semitic provisions.
Louise Arbour, responding Thursday to a letter from the group UN Watch sent three days earlier criticizing her for backing the Jan. 24 ratification of the Arab Charter for Human Rights, said her Geneva-based Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has long been troubled by several of the “rights” enshrined in the charter, which goes into force in mid-March.
“To the extent that [the charter] equates Zionism with racism, we reiterated that [it] is not in conformity with [the 1991] General Assembly resolution, which rejects that Zion-ism is a form of racism and racial discrimination,” Arbour said, adding that her office “does not endorse these inconsistencies.”
Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, welcomed Arbour’s recognition that the charter “includes ‘inconsistencies’ in regard to its approach to the death penalty for children, the rights of women and non-citizens, and anti-Zionism.”
The charter, adopted by the Arab League in 1994, equates Zionism with racism, a concept that was rejected by the United Nations in 1991.