UN Human Rights NY Director Resigns Citing Inaction in the Face of Gaza's Tragedy
By: Ahmed Fathi
UNHQ - In a startling development, Craig Mokhiber, the director of the New York office of the United Nations' human rights agency, has tendered his resignation, citing severe allegations against the U.N. In a strongly worded letter dated October 28, Mr. Mokhiber accused the organization of abandoning its own principles and international law. He also criticized the U.N. for failing to stop Israel's military offensive in Gaza, which he characterized as a "genocide."
In the letter, Mr. Mokhiber, a renowned human rights lawyer, wrote, "I write at a moment of great anguish for the world, including for many of our colleagues. Once again, we are seeing a genocide unfolding before our eyes, and the Organization that we serve appears powerless to stop it."
Mr. Mokhiber did not mince words, accusing not only the U.N. but also the U.S. and British governments, as well as much of Europe, of being "complicit" in the ongoing crisis. He described Israel's offensive in Gaza and the West Bank as "a textbook case of genocide," citing a death toll of at least 8,000 Palestinians, including over 3,000 children, as reported by the Ministry of Health in Gaza. The offensive has also caused substantial damage to schools, medical facilities, mosques, residential buildings, and even U.N. offices.
The letter was addressed to Volker Turk, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, who has previously called for an immediate cease-fire in the conflict and criticized Israel's blockade of Gaza and its airstrikes. The conflict erupted after Hamas launched terrorist attacks in Israel on October 7, resulting in the deaths of at least 1,400 civilians and soldiers.
Criticism has been directed at the U.N. from both Israel and Palestinians for what is perceived as an inadequate response to the conflict. Some argue that the U.N. has not been explicit enough about Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas, while others claim that it has failed to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza as the death toll continues to rise, and thousands are displaced.
Mr. Mokhiber has dedicated four decades of his career to investigating Palestinian human rights violations and acts of genocide against various groups, including the Tutsis, Bosnian Muslims, the Yazidi, and the Rohingya, on behalf of the U.N. In his letter, he accused key segments of the U.N. of having "surrendered" to pressure from the United States, the top donor to the organization, and of fearing the "Israel Lobby."
In response to Mr. Mokhiber's resignation and allegations, Laura Gelbert Delgado, the spokeswoman for the U.N. human rights agency, stated, "These are the personal views of a staff member who retires today. The position of the Office is reflected in its public reporting and statements."