Will the BBC again avoid the issue of a controversial UNHRC special rapporteur?

Six years ago we documented the BBC’s failure to report on the UN Human Rights Council’s controversial nomination of Michael Lynk to the post of “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967”.


As noted at the time, that post is described by UN Watch as:

“…a position that, contrary to the official title, is in fact charged with investigating “Israel’s violations of the principles and bases of international law” — and disregards all human rights violations in the Palestinian territories committed by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and others.”

When the BBC gave considerable amplification last year to a statement on the topic of vaccinations against Covid 19 for Palestinians that was put out by Lynk and a colleague we noted that:

“Special Rapporteurs are not United Nations staff members; they do not receive a salary from the United Nations…”

As Michael Lynk’s term approaches its end, the president of the UNHRC has been considering candidates for that post (and others) and on February 22nd he presented his proposal.

NGO Monitor provides information on the proposed candidates which includes the following:

“Since 2015, Francesca Albanese is an affiliate scholar at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University. According to her CV, Albanese also teaches “on the ‘humanitarian, legal and political responses to the Palestinian forced displacement’, as a nonresident Professor in several universities (Bethlehem, Birzeit, Salento).” In 2010-2012, Albanese was a legal officer for the UNRWA Department of Legal Affairs where she “led the development of a strategic framework (now an Agency policy) to promote both effective interaction between UNRWA and human rights mechanisms.” Albanese has also “been invited to give lectures on the legal aspects of the Question of Palestine to a variety of state officials, including Indonesian diplomats as part of their professional training at the Indonesia Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” Albanese has published articles in various anti-Israel blogs including MondoweissJadaliyya, and Middle East Monitor Online.

Since 2018, Albanese also serves as the Coordinator of the Question of Palestine Program at a Jordanian legal aid NGO, Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (AARD). As coordinator, in June 2021, Albanese moderated an event titled “Israeli Apartheid Exposed: What’s Next?” featuring Human Rights Watch’s BDS activist (Israel and Palestine Country Director) Omar Shakir. In December 2021, she moderated a webinar endorsing BDS, titled “Normalization: Responses and Prevention,” which aimed to “unpack the issue of normalized relations with Israel through interventions by keynote speaker Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.” […]

In October 2021, Albanese stated that “the lens of ‘apartheid’ is better suited to explain the past and present reality in Israel/Palestine as well as the reason for the unattainability of peace.” She also condemned the October 2021 decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations, stating that “the targeted organizations have worked to support and protect Palestinians under Israeli occupation…the above-mentioned organizations are the last bastion of protection of the people under occupation, given the despicable inaction of the international community that remains responsible for emboldening Israel and therefore enabling the situation in Palestine to go on.””

In that same interview with ‘the Palestine Chronicle’ Francesca P Albanese gave her view on the subject of terrorism.

“Indeed, I fully agree that terrorism is ongoing in the oPt, as Amira Hass denounced in her last piece: where defenseless civilians are exposed to the fear and brutality of masked Israeli soldiers raiding Palestinian homes and villages, often in the middle of the night; where there is a complete lack of accountability for the frequent loss of civilian lives, unjustified demolitions of Palestinian houses; confiscation of civilian structures and livelihood, including to shepherds and farmers; the torching of century-old orchards and olive trees; the countless daily humiliations Palestinians are exposed to under the yoke of the occupation. In this respect, I agree that practices amounting to terrorism in the oPt must be investigated and those responsible prosecuted.”

While Ms Albanese’s appointment has yet to be confirmed by the UN Human Rights Council, her agenda – and that of the body proposing her for the post – is already amply clear.

It is however once again highly unlikely that BBC audiences will be provided with any information concerning the views and political agenda of the apparently incoming “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967” either before or after the BBC uncritically promotes ‘what the United Nations says’ to its audiences. 

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  1. says: Neil C

    We note that Albanese has never written a single word about the displacement of 850,000 Jews from the Ottoman Empire after its demise in 1920. #defundthebbc

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