Matthew Gordon-Banks

Is the UN compromised on Gaza?

The Director of the New York office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights  has resigned, in protest at what he sees as the UN “failing” in its duty to prevent what he believes is the genocide of Palestinian civilians in Gaza under Israeli bombardment. He states that in his view the US, UK and much of Europe is “wholly complicit in the horrific assault”.

Craig Mokhiber has worked for United Nations since 1992, over time in increasingly important roles. He has led UN work on devising a human rights-based approach to development as well as being a senior human rights adviser in Afghanistan, Palestine and Sudan. Mokhiber, who was born in New York, is a lawyer who specialises in international human rights law and he lived in Gaza during the 1990s.

In his resignation letter he said “the current wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian people, rooted in an ethno-nationalist colonial settler ideology, in continuation of decades of their systematic persecution and purging, based entirely upon their status as Arabs leaves no room for doubt.” He added: “This is a text book case of genocide” and stated in his view that the US, UK and much of Europe were not only “refusing to meet their treaty obligations” under the Geneva Conventions but were also arming Israel’s assault and providing political and diplomatic cover for it.

Needless to say his views have been condemned by some. He has called into question the effectiveness of the United Nations both on Israel-Gaza and on other issues.

In his letter of resignation on 28 October to the UN High Commissioner in Geneva, Volker Turk, he wrote “This will be my last communication to you” in his role in New York. he had announced his retirement in March 2023.

** My thanks to Ed Pilkington in New York, Chief reporter Guardian US, for the detailed quotations above.

Scroll to Top