UN Human Rights Director Resigns in Protest, Citing Palestine Genocide
Director of the United Nations Human Rights New York Office, Craig Mokhiber, has tendered his resignation in protest of the UN’s handling of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, citing the attacks as genocide.
Mokhiber conveyed his resignation through a four-page letter addressed to the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk. In this letter, Mokhiber makes a statement: “This is a text-book case of genocide. The European, ethno-nationalist, settler colonial project in Palestine has entered its final phase, toward the expedited destruction of the last remnants of indigenous Palestinian life in Palestine.”
Mokhiber’s resignation letter also emphasises his support for a one-state solution, a wish to disarm Israel, and a criticism of the Oslo paradigm and the proposed two-state solution for Jews and Arabs, which he considers a failed approach to resolving the conflict.
Mokhiber also accuses the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe of being complicit in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. He goes further to claim that these governments failed to meet their treaty obligations under the Geneva Conventions, actively supporting the assault through arms, economic aid, intelligence, and political and diplomatic cover for Israel’s actions. The letter suggests that the US and other Western powers were not impartial mediators but were, in fact, parties to the conflict, complicit in violating Palestinian rights.
Mokhiber’s resignation letter followed the UN’s call for a humanitarian truce between Israel and Hamas during an increased Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip. The UN General Assembly in New York voted 120 to 14 to adopt a non-binding resolution, urging an immediate, durable, and sustained humanitarian truce to end hostilities in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
However, both Israel and the United States rejected the ceasefire calls and viewed them as a potential surrender and a victory for Hamas.
The former director’s deep understanding of the Palestinian plight is evident in his letter. Having investigated human rights issues in Palestine since the 1980s, Mokhiber served as a UN human rights advisor in Gaza in the 1990s.
In his letter, Mokhiber draws parallels between the ongoing tragedy in Palestine and previous genocides, including those against the Tutsis, Bosnian Muslims, Yazidis, and the Rohingya, emphasising the UN’s recurring failures in preventing mass atrocities, protecting the vulnerable, and holding perpetrators accountable. According to him, this failure to meet these crucial objectives is a recurring theme in the UN’s response to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
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