Archive for the 'Najat Al-Hajjaji' Category

45 rights groups urge UN Human Rights Council to fire Qaddafi-linked officials Ziegler & Al-Hajjaji

Veteran Qaddafi rep sits on mercenaries expert group meeting today


GENEVA, April 5 – An international coalition of 45 human rights groups today urged Ban Ki-moon and UN rights chief Navi Pillay to call on the UN Human Rights Council to fire two officials for their alleged actions over three decades to shield Libyan dictator Col. Qaddafi from scrutiny of his regime’s gross violations of human rights. (See full text below.)

The appeal names Jean Ziegler, a member of the UNHRC Advisory Committee, who in 1989 announced the creation of the “Moammar Qaddafi Prize for Human Rights.” When Libya’s rights record was reviewed in November, a Libyan-funded group tied to Ziegler distributed a 2010 book, edited by Ziegler, which likens Qaddafi to the philosopher Rousseau.

The 45 NGOs, mostly from Africa, also urged the council to fire Najat Al-Hajjaji, Qaddafi’s long-time representative to UN human rights bodies, from the council’s expert working group on mercenaries and human rights — which is now holding a week-long session in Geneva. Continue reading ’45 rights groups urge UN Human Rights Council to fire Qaddafi-linked officials Ziegler & Al-Hajjaji’

Speech: The UN’s Qaddafi ties

UN Watch Statement
Interactive Dialogue with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Delivered by Hillel Neuer, March 3, 2011

Madame High Commissioner, we thank you for your report, and applaud its emphasis on the core principle of accountability. We commend your recent leadership on human rights in Libya. As you stated, “the people of Libya had long been victims of the serious excesses of the Libyan leadership.”

In this regard, given that accountability begins at home, we wish to ask whether your office has begun to reflect upon how, in recent years, the United Nations and its human rights system could have shown greater solidarity with Libya’s victims. We offer five specific questions:

 1. Given that your responsibility is to mainstream human rights throughout the U.N. system, we ask: When the Qaddafi regime was chosen to serve on the Security Council for 2008 and 2009; when its representative was chosen as President of the General Assembly in 2009; when Col. Qaddafi’s daughter Ayesha was designated in 2009 a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador — why did you not speak out?

 2. According to a study of all your published statements from September 2008 through June 2010, you never once mentioned human rights in Libya. Why?

 3. Your report refers to your office’s strong support for the Durban process, for which you served as Secretary-General of its 2009 World Conference on Racism. When a representative of the Libyan regime was chosen to chair that conference’s two-year planning committee, and to chair the main committee, why did you not speak out?

 4. When the Qaddafi regime was elected as a member of this council last year, why did you not speak out?

 5. Your report refers to the council’s Advisory Committee.  In 2008, ignoring the appeal of UN Watch and 25 human rights groups, the council elected the co-founder of the Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize—a propaganda tool for the regime—to this body. Last year he was made the committee’s vice-president. Why did you not speak out? 

 And will you now call on the recipients of this prize—former Cuban President Fidel Castro in 1998, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in 2004, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in 2009, and Turkish PM Erdogan in 2010—to renounce this prize, and to apologize to all the human rights victims—past and present—of Col. Muammar Qaddafi?

 Thank you.

UN rights chief backs Qaddafi rep, refuses to fire Libyan “expert on mercenaries”

GENEVA, March 10 - U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay today rejected growing calls to fire Ms. Najat Al-Hajjaji, a long-time representative of the Qaddafi regime, from her post as the UN Human Rights Council’s investigator on human rights violations by mercenaries, which many see as a cruel irony.

Objections to the Libyan’s U.N. position originated last week in Morocco’s Au Fait, and spread to Switzerland, Al-Hajjaji’s adopted home, in the Tribune de Geneve, 20minutes, and the Tages Anzeiger, as well as America’s Fox News and other newspapers and blogs.

However, Pillay, the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, speaking about Al-Hajjaji today in a discussion forum held on the sidelines of the council’s current session, said, “It is unfair to single her out.” Continue reading ‘UN rights chief backs Qaddafi rep, refuses to fire Libyan “expert on mercenaries”’

How Libya’s Najat Al-Hajjaji used UN posts to shield Qaddafi’s crimes

Libyan diplomat Najat Al-Hajjaji — who in a cruel irony serves as a UN Human Rights Council investigator on human rights violations by mercenaries — acted as a loyal propagandist for the Qaddafi regime over decades, shielding its brutal crimes by portraying the dictator as a human rights champion.

According to this sympathetic biography (in French) by  Abdelaziz Barrouhi from January 2003, Al-Hajjaji began officially championing the Qaddafi regime as the Director of External Relations and Training for the state-controlled Jana news agency, a position she held from 1978 to 1991. Qaddafi, “with whom she has (distant) family ties,” then appointed her to represent Libya at the United Nations in Geneva: as Minister Plenipotentiary (1992-1998), deputy ambassador (1998-2000), and then, from October 2000, as Ambassador and Head of Mission.

“In the corridors of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, but also in New York and UN summits,” reports the biographer, “Najat al-Hajjaji defends, of course, the positions of his government, but at the same time working hard to promote women and protection of children.”

Here’s how Qaddafi thanked her when she won election in 2003 to the UN’s Commission on Human Rights:

January 22, 2003, Wednesday

Al-Qadhafi urges Libyan UN rights envoy to play good role

(Jana news agency, Tripoli, in Arabic 1144 gmt 22 Jan 03; Text of report by Libyan news agency Jana)

Tripoli, 22 January: The brother leader of the revolution Al-Qadhafi held a telephone contact today with sister Najat al-Hajjaji, the Great Jamahiriyah’s envoy at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, during which he stressed to her the need for Libya to play the role entrusted to it to protect human rights in the world and to be at the good opinion the international community, which chose her for this international humanitarian task, had of her.

The brother leader urged the sister envoy of the Great Jamahiriyah, in view of being a Libyan woman assuming this international post, to present the true image of women in Libya to whom the great 1 September revolution had attached great attention.

At her opening speech to the commission, she portrayed Libya’s regime in glowing terms:

Statement of Incoming Chairperson

NAJAT AL-HAJJAJI, new Chairperson of the Commission, said today’s meeting two months before the normal opening of the Commission’s annual session was an important innovation; it would enable the Bureau to get down to work in an efficient and organized manner. Her country was African, and it had an Islamic culture; it had been the site of great historical empires — Egyptian, Phoenician, and Greek, as well as Islamic. Monuments from that past remained. Women played a major role in life and Government in Libya, and the country took its inspiration from the principles of the United Nations. She would make every effort to be open to new ideas and initiatives.

Reporters Without Borders, which in 2003 led the opposition to Al-Hajjaji’s election, described her early tenure:

With Najat Al-Hajjaji, the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s ambassador to the United Nations, as its chairperson, the 59th annual session of the UN commission on human rights could hardly have had a more inauspicious beginning. Contrary to custom, Col. Gaddafi’s protégée had refrained several times from holding a press conference since her appointment two months earlier. She finally met with journalists on the day of the session’s inauguration, on 17 March, but it was primarily to announce that she had proposed to the UN secretariat that Reporters Without Borders should be immediately suspended as a consultative member. This was because, during her opening address, Reporters Without Borders representatives had scattered leaflets in the Palais des Nations assembly hall denouncing Libya’s assumption of the chair.

Hajjaji’s performance at the press conference offered a clear demonstration – if any were needed – that a regime such as Col. Gaddafi’s is an imposter as chair of the commission. She expressed thanks for the questions but each time she said she was unable to reply or was not familiar with the relevant conventions, and passed the buck to the high commissioner. Asked if it would not be appropriate to require a minimum of respect for human rights from commission members, she argued that this would exclude many countries, including her own.  This “would not be democratic,” she added, keeping a straight face.

L’experte libyenne devenue indésirable

Tribune de Genève
9 mars 2011

Alain Jourdan

Elle fait partie des diplomates restés fidèles au régime. En poste à Genève depuis une dizaine d’années, Najat Al- Hajjaji est considérée comme une proche de la famille Kadhafi. Plusieurs ONG viennent de demander sont expulsion de l’ONU. Depuis plusieurs mois, la diplomate siège comme experte au sein du groupe de travail de l’ONU sur l’utilisation des mercenaires.

«Au regard de ce qui se passe, c’est une insulte au peuple libyen»,fulmine Hillel Neuer, directeur de l’ONG UN Watch. Najat Al- Hajjaji a présidé la Commission des droits de l’homme et conduit les travaux préparatoires de la Conférence surle racisme en 2009. A l’époque, elle s’était illustrée en empêchant le médecin palestinien emprisonnéavec les infirmières bulgares en Libye de s’exprimer dans l’enceinte même d’une assemblée dédiée à la défense des droits de l’homme. Une attitude qui avait alors soulevé l’indignation des ONG présentes.

En début de semaine, une lettre a été adressée au secrétaire général de l’ONU, Ban Ki-moon, à la haut-commissaire aux droits de l’homme, Navi Pillay, et au président du Conseil des droits de l’homme pour leur demander de procéder à l’expulsion de Najat Al- Hajjaji. Le Conseil pourrait adopter une résolution pour exclure l’ex-représentante de Kadhafi d’ici à la fin de sa session, le 25 mars. La présence d’une fidèle parmi les fidèles du régime libyen est devenue encombrante.