24 August 2012
The World Jewish Congress has lamented the announcement by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that he will attend the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran, which will open this Sunday. WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said Ban’s announcement was “deeply regrettable."
Lauder declared: "Iran has an appalling record of rampant human rights abuses that include the violent repression of women, minorities and children. It continues to be the foremost sponsor of international terrorism, including supporting the current brutal violence in Syria, and has claimed numerous victims in many regions throughout the world. Iran ignores UN resolutions while engaging in its illicit race to acquire nuclear capability. In the past few weeks, Iran has again restated its intentions to destroy another UN member state, Israel while declaring its hatred of the Jewish people."
Earlier this week, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said Ban would participate in the summit because he was determined to carry out his responsibilities to the 120-member organization and to raise directly with Iran's leaders the threat to Israel's existence, which violates the UN Charter's requirement that member states refrain from threatening other states. Ban also plans to convey the international community's expectations that Iran make urgent progress on issues including the country's controversial nuclear program, terrorism, human rights and the crisis in Syria, Nesirky said.
"While there, the secretary general can speak on behalf of the entire international community to make clear directly to the Iranian leadership what the world expects from Tehran and to encourage positive and constructive responses," Nesirky said, adding that Ban was "fully aware of the sensitivities" of the visit. However, he said, not going to Tehran "would be a missed opportunity."
WJC President Lauder commented: "The World Jewish Congress believes that the secretary general of the United Nations should not lend credibility to the Iranian regime by attending this summit in Tehran. Doing so betrays the principles of the UN and compromises his personal integrity and that of the international community. A rogue regime that violates human rights should be isolated and not counted among civilized nations. Iran should not enjoy the prestige of a visit of the head of the UN.”
The NAM was founded in Belgrade in 1961 at the height of the Cold War by countries that considered themselves independent of the main power blocs, led by the Soviet Union and the United States respectively. It has grown over the past 50 years, and Iran was elected as NAM's current chair, replacing Egypt.
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