STATEMENT ON PROFESSOR MICHAEL LYNK UN APPOINTMENT

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion’s comments – on twitter – criticizing the appointment of Western University Professor Michael Lynk as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories were clearly inappropriate.

The UN plays a vital role investigating  breaches of international law wherever they happen and the UN must choose its Special Rapporteurs independently, without political interference. All states, including our own, are expected to work constructively with Special Rapporteurs and take their recommendations into account.

For years, the Conservatives attacked and demonized UN Special Rapporteurs, such as with Olivier De Schutter on food issues or James Anaya on indigenous rights. Canada’s new government must abandon the previous Conservative approach of divisive rhetoric and undermining UN officials – and finally begin working constructively with the United Nations and its Special Rapporteurs.

Professor Lynk has carved out an international reputation for his work promoting human rights, as well as his work as a mediator and arbitrator. National and international recognition for his professional legal opinions has led many Londoners – from diverse political backgrounds– to seek out his advice. And of course just last year he was named to our Mayor’s Honour List.

Our foreign affairs critic, MP Hélène Laverdière, has written to Minister Dion (see PDF below) strongly urging him to agree to meet with Professor Lynk, as he has requested, to discuss this appointment. I hope all my London colleagues join me in urging minster Dion to do the right thing and agree to meet with Professor Lynk.