THE FINANCING OF UN EXPERTS
This summer, the ECLJ presented a new report on the opaque financing of official UN human rights experts, also known as Special Rapporteurs. This report has since been circulated worldwide; it has received the support of several experts, but has also aroused the anger of others.
A reminder of the facts. This report demonstrates the considerable financial weight acquired by a few private foundations on the UN human rights system. In particular, it reveals that at least 37 of the 121 experts in office between 2015 and 2019 received at least 11 million dollars outside of any UN control, mainly from the Ford Foundation, George Soros’ Open Society and anonymous donors. It also reveals how foundations and governments act to fund, influence, and even ‘recruit’ experts. Although violating UN rules and every anti-corruption legislation, these practices have been tolerated until now, with experts being considered untouchable, protected both by diplomatic immunity and by a form of omerta.
The ECLJ’s report was a bombshell in this small, hushed environment. It must be said that 28 experts agreed to confide in Grégor Puppinck. Some of them broke the silence, most often sub secreto, explaining how the system works, some of them even talking about “corruption.” All of them acknowledged that this funding is problematic, except for those – obviously – who benefit from it.
As expected, experts concerned by these practices – stung – were quick to attack, in a violent manner, not the content of the report, but the ECLJ and its director, Grégor Puppinck.
This was the case in particular of Special Rapporteurs Philip Alston and Martin Scheinin, who published ad hominem articles. Martin Scheinin had previously attacked the Puppinck report on NGOS and the Judges of the ECHR.
It was then proven that Mr Alston had received $600,000 from the Open Society between 2018 and 2019 and had only declared $5,000 of it. These attacks were relayed by other experts, in particular by Olivier de Frouville and by Ahmed Shaheed, who have in common that they have previously been criticised by the ECLJ for their positions in favour of a right to abortion under the right to life for the former, and in favour of the legal recognition of the notion of Islamophobia for the latter. Mr Shaheed’s funding is also highly opaque.
DEBATE IN GENEVA
But it was on Friday 3 September 2021 that the attacks on the report culminated, during the annual meeting of the Human Rights Council’s Special Procedures at UN headquarters in Geneva. NGOs were allowed to intervene in this meeting, enabling Gregor Puppinck to briefly present the report. This was followed by a lively debate led by Special Rapporteur Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, who immediately denounced the report as a “furious attack” on human rights and “the integrity of the Special Procedures”. She was supported and relayed by Rapporteur Clément Voule, and by some NGOs: the Center for Reproductive Rights (a pro-abortion lobby), the International Lesbian & Gay Association (ILGA), and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). All have in common that they are funded by Soros’ Open Society. Fionnuala Ní Aoláin was herself one of the main leaders of the Open Society between 2011 and 2018. In this capacity, in 2017 she donated $100,000 to a radical feminist organisation (the CWGL) with the explicit aim of ‘influencing’ another Special Rapporteur. That same year, she became Special Rapporteur while retaining her position at the Open Society. As recently as 2017, the CWGL had itself recruited another official UN expert, Ms Melissa Upreti, to lobby the UN, i.e., to influence other UN experts, after she had previously worked for the Center for Reproductive Rights.
On the other hand, several NGOs – not funded by Soros – intervened during the debate to support the report, questioning the motives behind this attack on the ECLJ when the report set out objective, verifiable facts and called for greater financial transparency, which should be obvious to all. This was particularly the case for the Institute for NGO research (a pro-Israeli NGO also known as NGO Monitor), the Centre for health science and law, and the Catholic organisation C-Fam. One of the most persuasive was interrupted by the newly elected chair of the experts, the Special Rapporteur on LGBT rights, Victor Madrigal-Borloz. The latter tried in conclusion to discredit the report by trying to explain that the experts are “self-regulating.”
It is impossible to predict what the effects of this report will be, but it already has the merit of having highlighted a central point of the system of power and influence exercised at the highest level by the network woven by the Open Society and some other similar foundations that constitute the elite of the current global governance.The quality and relevance of the report was also recognised by several experts who sent messages of support to the ECLJ, which was also thanked by ambassadors to the United Nations. It is highly likely that this report will still be the subject of heated discussions on 14 September 2021, during the next session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, as several States, fed up with the ideological activism of a few experts, want to put some order into the system. Stimulated by this report, they may succeed in imposing the adoption of stricter ethical and financial rules. The ECLJ will also intervene in the debate. They will certainly face stiff opposition from the liberal-libertarian globalist camp, of which the Ford and Open Society Foundations are important instruments of influence.
POWER OF INFLUENCE
In fact, the Open Society and Ford Foundations are not only the main private funders of the UN experts. Like at the ECHR, several Open Society officials have also become Special Rapporteurs, such as Messrs Pūras, Baldo or Garcia-Sayan, in addition to Ms Ní Aoláin. And a great many other experts come from NGOs that are also funded by the same foundations.
It is impossible to predict what the effects of this report will be, but it already has the merit of having highlighted a central point of the system of power and influence exercised at the highest level by the network woven by the Open Society and some other similar foundations that constitute the elite of the current global governance.
Article originaly published in Valeurs Actuelles.