The International lawyer has been subjected to smear campaigns amid her human rights stances on Palestine.
UN Human Rights Council special rapporteur Francesca Albanese has denied an accusation from UN Watch’s executive director Hillel Neuer that her trip to Australia was paid for by “Palestinian lobby groups”, saying it was UN funded.
Addressing the baseless claims on her social media account, Albanese called Neuer’s statements a “continuous defamation” of her work.
“Yet another trail of egregiously false claims against me. My trip to Australia was paid by the UN as part of my mandate’s activities,” Albanese wrote.
“Continuous defamation against my mandate may be well remunerated, but won’t work. It just wastes time that should be used to help stop violence in the occupied Palestinian Territories,” the Italian international lawyer added.
As Albanese called for an end to the bombardment of Gaza, Neuer alleged that the UN expert was a “pro-Hamas UN official” and claimed her Australia trip “was sponsored by known Palestinian lobby groups in that country”.
Neuer is known for being an outspoken defender of Israel and a critic of the UN’s human rights councils when they call out Israeli actions against international law.
He has published works and links to the Israeli think tank the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
In Australia, Albanese spoke at the National Press Club in the city of Canberra, where she said that Israel could not claim the right of ‘self-defence’ under international law because Gaza is a territory that it occupies.
With the death toll in Gaza growing above 11,000, Albanese said Israel was “clearly incapable” of respecting international humanitarian law and voiced that the international community has been divided in response to the war.
“Individual member states, especially in the West and Australia is no exception, are on the margins, muttering inaudible words of condemnation for Israel’s excesses at best – or staying silent in fear of restraining Israel’s self-proclaimed right to self-defence, whatever it means,” Albanese said.
“So here is where we are, staring into the abyss where the Palestinians face most the significant existential threat and – in a different way – the Israelis, especially Israeli Jews as well, as a society informed by human values that are getting lost as the country gets enveloped in genocidal cries,” she added.
Last year, Albanese was appointed to be the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.
Albanese’s UN profile says she is an affiliate scholar at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University and a senior advisor on migration and forced displacement.