GENEVA (AP) — A U.N. human rights expert took the unusual step Friday of publicly defending his use of a $50,000 donation from Russia’s government to support his work before he reported on the impact of economic sanctions on Russia.
Special rapporteur Idriss Jazairy said in a statement that he denies “accusations” that the findings in his report after his April visit to Moscow “were influenced by funds allocated to my mandate,” which is to examine the effects of sanctions on people. Russia has come under tough sanctions by the U.S. and the European Union, notably over its annexation of Crimea.
On Thursday at the U.N.-backed Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Hillel Neuer of advocacy group UN Watch, which has criticized Jazairy’s mandate, asked him about the “ethical implications” of receiving money from a country before reporting on that country. Jazairy replied that he would not respond to “discursive remarks.”
The issue strikes at funding pressures faced by the U.N. rights office, which receives far less money than larger U.N. operations like the World Health Organization and refugee agency UNHCR but has a vital role in monitoring and denouncing rights violations and other crimes around the world.
Russia is not alone: Western countries like France, South Korea, and Norway and others regularly give hundreds of thousands of dollars to special rapporteurs, outside of regular U.N. budget allocations. The statement on Friday said 35 percent of the human rights office’s total budget last year came through extra-budgetary support, going to…
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