A leading Geneva-based human rights organization on Tuesday urged the UN Secretary-General to condemn Michael Lynk, the UN Human Rights Council's "Special Rapporteur on Palestine," for his continued public appearances with a political activist denounced by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for making "vile antisemitic smears."
In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer charged that Lynk "has repeatedly acted to legitimize notorious antisemites." A Canadian academic, Lynk was appointed to the Special Rapporteur's post in 2016, succeeding another incumbent who was regularly accused of antisemitism, the American professor Richard Falk.
Neuer noted that on Jan. 31, Lynk had shared a platform with Dimitri Lascaris of the advocacy group Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME). Last September, Canadian PM Trudeau angrily condemned Lascaris for accusing two Jewish MPs of being more loyal to "apartheid Israel" than Canada.
"Mr. Lynk has been closely associated in the past with Lascaris, who acted as Lynk's surrogate during the controversy surrounding Mr. Lynk's nomination to the UNHRC in 2016, an appointment that was challenged by Canada's then Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion," Neuer wrote. Included among Lynk's other offenses was a meeting in London in 2017 with Sameh Habeeb, an Islamist activist who promotes antisemitic conspiracy theories on social media.
"By legitimizing antisemites, and by speaking for an extremist group led by a condemned racist, Mr. Lynk is in violation of Article 3 of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures, which requires that mandate holders should uphold the highest standards of 'integrity,' 'probity' and 'impartiality,'" Neuer argued.
Neuer sharply criticized Lynk for having failed "to address human rights violations committed by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas" as part of his work for the Human Rights Council.
Neuer emphasized that while Guterres was not responsible for appointing Lynk, he should follow the "example of your predecessor Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [who] stated: 'I feel very strongly that these representatives, however eminent they may be in their fields, have a clear responsibility to uphold the high standards of the United Nations and the Council.'"
Neuer concluded: "Therefore, we urge you to follow your predecessor's example and condemn Mr. Lynk's support for racists, breach of his Code of Conduct and betrayal of the founding principles of the UN Charter."