Geneva, January 11, 2007 — UN Watch expressed outrage at Iran’s questioning of the Holocaust in a letter to UN Human Rights Council President Luis de Alba that was released today. [Click for Iran letter.] The Geneva-based human rights monitoring organization called on President de Alba and Human Rights High Commissioner Louise Arbour to strongly condemn what is only the latest offence in Iran’s ongoing campaign to both deny the Nazi genocide of six million Jews and incite a new genocide through President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repeated calls to “wipe Israel off the map.”
The letter from Alireza Moayeri, Iran’s envoy to the Human Rights Council and other UN agencies in Geneva, defends the December state-sanctioned conference in Tehran featuring former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and others as “an academic event.” According to Moaveri, “the number of perished” is a particularly “legitimate question,” and there are “serious opposing ideas over the issue.”
UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer issued the following statement:
UN Watch condemns this outrageous questioning of the horrors of the Holocaust only weeks ahead of the UN Annual International Day of Commemoration for its Victims.
Nothing could be more obscene than using the forum of the world’s foremost human rights body to question the most evil crime against humanity, upon whose ashes, as Kofi Annan recently said, the UN was founded.
(On Monday, January 29, major Holocaust commemoration ceremonies will be held by the UN in Geneva and New York. The UN in Geneva will host a program in the majestic hall of the Palais des Nations, featuring survivor testimony and a keynote speech from a major international figure. Attendees will include the diplomatic corps, high UN officials, civil society, survivors, righteous among the nations, students and members of the Swiss Jewish Community. The Geneva event will be held in parallel with the ceremony taking place simultaneously in New York.)
UN Watch also condemns the letter’s demonization of Zionism, the expression of the Jewish people’s UN-approved right to self-determination, as an ideology “charged with hegemonic racial desires.”
It is exceedingly ironic and the height of hypocrisy for Iran to defend the conference by invoking freedom of opinion after it has just been slammed by the UN General Assembly for its repression of journalists and lack of basic political freedoms. The General Assembly severely condemned Iran as one of the world’s worst human rights violators in its resolution A/C.3/61/L.41. (See UN Watch report on the resolution.)
It is further ironic that Iran’s letter was distributed to the Human Rights Council on the same day that UN human rights experts urged Iran not to execute seven Ahwazi Arabs after a secret trial the experts called a “mockery of due process requirements.”
Iran’s calling Israel racist is beyond the pot calling the kettle black. Its president repeatedly calls for the destruction of a UN member state, and now it is about to execute seven minority Arabs on bogus charges. Human Rights Council members should act immediately to prevent Iran from carrying out the executions.
Although both former and current Secretaries-General Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon have spoken out strongly against Iran’s Holocaust denial, High Commissioner Arbour has yet to bring her moral weight to bear on the issue. We call on Ms. Arbour to speak out forcefully.