Below UN Watch testimony as just delivered. The speaker’s delivery was perfect. Mrs. Najjat Al-Hajjaji, the Libyan chair, made every mistake. She interrupted the witness at 3 different points — and then gave Libya (!) the floor to make an objection, and finally cut him off. But nevertheless he got in the important parts. The room was gripped. It was the top story on Swiss TV news tonight (TSR).
Click for France 24 video (in English)
Click here for Swiss TV video (in French). Stay tuned for the eventual YouTube video of the full speech.
Also: click here for the legal complaint filed by the Bulgarian nurses against Libya with the UN Human Rights Committee — the highest international tribual for individual human rights complaints — with UN Watch acting as co-counsel with Dr. Liesbeth Zegveld. It is released here now for the first time to the public.
And click here for related complaint filed by Dr. El-Hojouj last year.
Both Dr. Dr. El-Hojouj and Bulagrian nurse Kristiyna Valcheva will testify before the Geneva Summit for Human Rights, Tolerance and Democracy, this Sunday, 19 April 2009. Watch live webcast at www.genevasummit.org. Dr. El-Hojouj will be able to deliver his full speech — without interruptions.
United Nations Durban Review Conference
Preparatory Committee, Third Substantive Session
17 April 2009, Geneva
Statement by United Nations Watch
Delivered by Ashraf Ahmed El-Hojouj
Thank you, Madame Chair.
I don’t know if you recognize me. I am the Palestinian medical intern who was scapegoated by your country, Libya, in the HIV case in the Benghazi hospital, together with five Bulgarian nurses.
Section 1 of the draft declaration for this conference speaks about victims of racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance. Based on my own suffering, I wish to offer some proposals.
Starting in 1999, as you know, the five nurses and I were falsely arrested, prosecuted, imprisoned, brutally tortured, convicted, and sentenced to death. All of this, which lasted for nearly a decade, was for only one reason: because the Libyan government was looking to scapegoat foreigners.
Madame Chair, if that is not discrimination, then what is?
On the basis of my personal experience, I would like to propose the following amendments regarding remedies, redress and compensatory measures:
One: The United Nations should condemn countries that scapegoat, falsely arrest, and torture vulnerable minorities.
Two: Countries that have committed such crimes must recognize their past, and issue an official, public, and unequivocal apology to the victims.
Three: In accordance with Article 2, paragraph 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, such countries must provide victims of discrimination with an appropriate remedy, including adequate compensation for material and immaterial damage.
Madame Chair, Libya told this conference that it practices no inequality or discrimination.
But then how do you account for what was done to me, to my colleagues, and to my family, who gave over thirty years serving your country, only to be kicked out from their home, threatened with death, and subjected to state terrorism?
How can your government chair the planning committee for a world conference on discrimination, when it is on the list of the world’s worst of the worst, when it comes to discrimination and human rights violations?
When will your government recognize their crimes, apologize to me, to my colleagues, and to our families?
This week, at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights, Tolerance and Democracy, the five nurses and I will present our complaint and compensation claim against Libya, filed with the UN Human Rights Committee, the highest international tribunal for individual petitions.
The slogan for this Conference is “Dignity and justice for all.” Does this include your own country’s victims of discrimination?
Thank you, Madame Chair.