Konfrontation på Durban II

Læg mærke til hende den libyske kommisar med hammeren….

Story covered in French satellite TV France 24; Swiss TV; The New Republic online….

Durban II Dispatch: Libya on Trial

Geneva, Switzerland

Libya was chosen in 2007 to chair the preparatory committee for the UN Durban Review Conference–notwithstanding the irony of an egregious human-rights violator chairing a human rights conference. For the past three days, the committee has been holding sessions to finalize the conference’s draft statement, upon which many countries will base their decision whether to attend the conference this week. On Friday, the last day, NGOs were given 30 minutes to weigh in.

Amidst the anti-Israel rants from all the usual NGOs, Libyan ambassador Najjat Al-Hajjaji (who was chairing the meeting) gave the floor to UN Watch…

But sitting in their chair was not Hillel Neuer, the group’s executive director and usual mouthpiece, but Ashraf El Hagog, the Palestinian doctor who was falsely accused of and sentenced to death for infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV (along with five Bulgarian nurses). El Hagog and the nurses were held in Libya on death row for nine years, mistreated and tortured, until their release was negotiated by France last year.

“Madame Chairman,” El Hagog began, staring steely eyed at the Libyan ambassador. “I dont 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 the five Bulgarian nurses.”

Al-Hajjaji immediately started banging her gavel. “Stop… stop…. I ask you to stop,” she yelled, first looking miffed, then exasperated. “You are, you are not addressing the agenda item… I will allow you to resume only if you address the agenda item we are discussing.” The room immediately fell silent.

El Hagog, being coached by Neuer sitting next to him, tried to introduce some amendments to the statement “based on my own suffering,” and was again interrupted by Al-Hajjaji banging her gavel. But he continued recounting the story of his torture, then said, “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?” After listing the amendments, he concluded: “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…?”

At this point, Hajjaji recognized a point of order from … the Libyan delegation, who said that El Hagog was not speaking on the correct agenda item. Hajjaji used the objection as an excuse to move on to the next speaker.

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