U.N. taps anti-Israel Canadian lawyer as new rapporteur for disputed territories

The logo of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) A Canadian legal expert who has expressed anti-Israel views is set to be appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to the post of special rapporteur on human rights issues affecting the Palestinians.

Michael Lynk, who is currently an associate professor on faculty of law at Western University in London, Ontario, will replace Indonesian diplomat Makarim Wibisono, who announced his resignation in January, citing Israel’s refusal to grant him access to the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a factor in his decision.

The U.N. appoints a special rapporteur for the purpose of examining alleged Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians. Israel has long blasted the U.N. for anti-Israel bias and has decried the world body’s post of an independent investigator for the Palestinian territories, without the presence of any similar positions for other sensitive global conflict zones.

Lynk has made controversial statements about Israel in the past. In a 2013 article, he advocated for bringing Israel before the International Criminal Court. He has also worked in Palestinian refugee camps with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

In Lynk's application for the post, he wrote, "The value of thinking about the Israel-Palestine conflict through the lens of international law is that it brings an indisputably impartial, universally accepted, and forward-looking perspective on how to analyze this predicament.”

“The heart of modern international human rights and humanitarian law is meant to protect those who lack the effective power to defend themselves from arbitrary state conduct, from the denial of their personal and national dignity,” he added.

UN Watch, a Geneva-based watchdog group, criticized Lynk's nomination and accused him of bias.

“The U.N.’s selection of a manifestly partisan candidate—someone who three days after 9/11 blamed the West for provoking the attacks on the World Trade Center—constitutes a travesty of justice and a breach of the world body’s own rules,” said UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer.

Posted on March 24, 2016 .