Abu Qatada lawyer abuses UN position to influence US election

Special rapporteur at UN seeks to influence US presidential election

by Natalie Glanvill on 22 October 2012 14:02


Ben Emmerson, special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights for the United Nations (UN) has strongly criticised Romney’s refusal to condemn waterboarding during a symposium in Toronto on the negative impacts post 9/11 security measures have had on human rights.

Emmerson, who has recently represented Abu Qatada and Julian Assange has been described by Conservative MP Dominic Raab as the human rights “equivalent of Len McCluskey”. Now it has emerged he has used his position at the UN to effectively campaign against Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

His stance may come as a surprise to many given that his firm, Matrix Chambers, also boasts Cherie Blair as a member. His recent client list includes individuals who are less amenable to the idea of human rights as many might recognise them, including Julian Assange, Abu Qatada and Katherine Gun, GCHQ worker accused of breaching the Official Secrets Act.  

“There is no doubt that the Romney administration would be able to claim – in the event of a Romney presidency – a democratic mandate for torture”, Emmerson told the Canadian press.

“That would put Romney as the first world leader in history to be able to claim a democratic mandate for torture”.  

In a 2007 debate, Romney opposed any form of torture but failed to answer whether or not he viewed waterboarding as torture. Last month, he was asked the same question, in which his response was, “I don’t”.

Despite Emmerson’s open objection to Obama’s preferred and expanded use of drones, he said, “Obama had begun to realign the U.S. policy with international law and the universal abhorrence with torture. Romney ‘s approach would undermine that progress”… the re-introduction of torture under a Romney administration would significantly increase the threat levels to (Americans) at home and abroad. Such a policy, if adopted, would expose the American people to risks the Obama administration is not currently exposing them to”.

This sort of hypocrisy threatens to undermine the independence of the UN which has four main purposes: “to keep peace throughout the world, to develop friendly relations among nations, to help nations work together to improve the lives of poor people; conquer hunger, disease, illiteracy, encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms and finally, to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve these goals”.

If Emmerson’s statements are proved to impact on the US presidential race then swift action must be taken by the organisation to relieve him of his position on the grounds that Emmerson has clearly abused his position in order to impact a UN member states' free election.

A man in a position such as this is bound to have a knock-on effect with American voters, especially when you mention the word “threat” and “Americans” in the same sentence.

But not all Americans support the ideals represented by Emmerson at the UN and have taken to Twitter to send out messages including the likes of, “BUTT OUT of the affairs of the United States. Sincerely, American Voter”.  

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