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Open letter in Support of Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory

This past week saw another concerted attack on Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, this time by the US State Department spokesperson, Mathew Miller. Miller accused Albanese of having a history of antisemitism, dismissing her findings in a recent report that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. 


The accusations against Albanese are those frequently weaponized against individuals and organizations who are calling attention to Israel’s transgressions against Palestinian rights and grave violations of international law, including against established NGOs, such as, B’Tselem, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others. The accusations do not address the substance of the arguments, but rather use ad hominem attacks to undermine any criticism of Israel and advocacy for the rights of Palestinians.


As was already made clear in a statement by scholars of antisemitism, Holocaust, Jewish Studies and related topics from December 2022, conflating criticism of Israeli policies with antisemitism is meant to silence critique and distracts from genuine forms of antisemitism. Albanese has a mandate to “investigate Israel’s violations of the principles and bases of international law.” The importance of this mandate has recently been extenuated by the urgency of the war, the necessity to stop the killing, destruction and starvation of civilians in Gaza, and the call by UN experts and agencies and by the ICJ to Israel to take all measures within its power to prevent genocide in Gaza and to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance. It is irresponsible and amoral of the administration to join the smear campaign against Albanese.

 

We stand in solidarity with Francesca Albanese and her unwavering commitment to human rights. We are alarmed by the campaign against her and the attacks that are intended to repress her mandate. We call on the US administration to apologize for accusing Albanese of antisemitism, and for jeopardizing her mission.

 

We demand of the US administration to study the report, consider it carefully and pass judgement on its merits, not ad hominem. We call all states, global civil society and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to support the Special Rapporteur in her efforts to fulfill her mandate with integrity.

 






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