Craig Mokhiber, a high-ranking United Nations human rights official, has resigned from his post in protest of the UN handling of Israel’s barbaric actions in Gaza. Mokhiber, who served as the director of the UN’s New York office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights, is now calling on the United Nations to apply the same standards to Israel’s actions as it does when evaluating human rights violations elsewhere.
In his resignation letter dated October 28, Mokhiber did not mince words. He condemned Israel’s military bombing on civilians in Gaza as “textbook genocide” and criticized the UN for its perceived failure to take decisive action, drawing parallels to past genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Myanmar.
An accomplished international human rights lawyer, Mokhiber has been a dedicated member of the UN since 1992. His previous roles included serving as a human rights adviser in both Afghanistan and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Since October 7, a staggering toll of at least 8,805 Palestinians, including 3,500 children, have lost their lives in Israeli attacks on Gaza. This surge in violence followed a surprise retaliatory assault launched by Hamas against Israel.
Mokhiber’s impassioned letter to UN Human Rights Chief, Volker Turk, pulled no punches: “The current wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian people, rooted in an ethno-nationalist colonial-settler ideology, in continuation of decades of their systematic persecution and purging, based entirely upon their status as Arabs … leaves no room for doubt.”
Mokhiber also emphasized the importance of using appropriate terminology in assessing the situation, stating, “If we can allege that we see war crimes, crimes against humanity, as we have often done, there’s no reason to exclude, where we see very strong evidence, the possibility of genocide being committed, and I think you’re going to be hearing that term more and more in connection with what we’re witnessing in Gaza.”
While recognizing that institutions must follow prescribed steps before making such determinations, Mokhiber made it clear that, as of now, he speaks as an independent citizen and a human rights advocate, firmly asserting, “what I see unfolding in Gaza and beyond is genocide.”