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Dear followers and friends,
On 31 December 2015, the UK-based blog platform “Spectator” published a post entitled “The ten worst UN moments of 2015“, in which I am being absurdly accused of blaming the West for the Paris terrorist attacks.
After contacting the Spectator’s editor requesting the editorial team to publish the below statement, which as of 7 January 2016 has not been taken into account, I re-publish here my original statement, to once again respond to false accusations evidently intended to disinform and attack the credibility of mandate holders.
On 17 December I had published an essay that expresses respect and compassion for all victims, condemns all forms of terrorism and calls for a preventive strategy to stop the recruitment of potential terrorists. This requires an examination of root causes of terrorism. I have never blamed the West for the Paris attacks. Nothing will ever justify the killing of civilians. In my original post, I advocated for a patient and persevering approach to terrorism, one that respects the human rights and human dignity of all.
Statement by Dr. Alfred de Zayas, United Nations Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order
Geneva, December 17, 2015 – The UN Independent Expert welcomes constructive criticism on his reports, statements, essays related to the advancement of human rights, international terrorism, and any other issue conducive to improving the well-being of persons in the world, irrespective of religion, ethnicity, culture, age and gender. I am open to input from all quarters.
I am also aware that mandate holders are often subjected to attacks from governments, private sector institutions and individuals. Sometimes it is better to ignore below-the-belt abuse. A danger lingers, however, that when defamation is widely disseminated in the media, “always something sticks”. The result is suspicion — and a reduction of the credibility of the mandate holder and of the impact of his/her recommendations.
Recently it has come to my attention that a particularly vile defamation has been spread over blogs and news outlets according to which I have somehow blamed the West for the Paris terrorist attacks of 13 November. One would think that such a statement is too ludicrous to merit any kind of reaction.
Let me be clear. I have never written in my blog essay that the West is responsible for the Paris terrorist attacks. My essay does not mention Paris at all, but focuses on the root-causes of terrorism with its multiple actors and victims.
In any case, endeavouring to trace the stages of violent behaviour and understand the phenomenon in no way justifies it. Our common interest must be to develop prevention mechanisms. This requires a comprehensive analysis, not only on the root-causes of terrorism, but on the recent and more distant pre-history of the violence.
I encourage every independent and critically thinking reader to read my essay (https://dezayasalfred.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/terrorism-in-an-age-of-asymmetries/) in which I give my utmost consideration and attention to all victims stating that:
“All victims of terrorism anywhere in the world are entitled to our sympathy, compassion, solidarity and support. All acts of indiscriminate killing of civilians are abhorrent. Nothing will ever justify terrorist acts against innocent human beings. Perpetrators must be identified, prosecuted and punished.”
Moreover, it is suggested that I justified the Paris attacks as: “…a response to grave injustices and ongoing abuses perpetrated by the dominant, primarily developed countries, against populations of less developed countries.”
For the sake of intellectual honesty, I would like to share the relevant paragraph:
“Some observers have postulated the view that terrorism, albeit neither justified nor justifiable, is partly a response to grave injustices and on-going abuses perpetrated by the dominant, primarily developed countries, against populations of less developed countries. Admittedly, modern terrorism has evolved over the past decades, but it remains a truism that in the light of power asymmetries both guerilla warfare and terrorism are preferred tactics of the underdog.”
The intellectual dishonesty expressed in the defamatory article against me is a disservice to readers, who are entitled to the full text of my argument. Such crude distortions make it even more difficult to come to grips with a social phenomenon that has already claimed too many lives.