The grubby relationship between GNRD – a supposedly "neutral and impartial" human rights organisation – and the PYD, a Kurdish political party, continues. Anne-Marie Lizin, the discredited Belgian politician who revels in the title of GNRD's "High Commissioner for Europe", was interviewed recently on Ronahi TV about her trip to the Kurdish region of Iraq. Judging by its output, Ronahi TV is a mouthpiece for the PYD and its controversial armed wing, the YPG.
Speaking in French, Lizin told presenter Rhodi Mellek about GNRD's fact-finding mission last April and the situation of Kurdish women in refugee camps (it starts at 23:55 in the video above).
The sight of Mellek posing questions to Lizin about this was somewhat comical, since Mellek already knew the all answers: she had not only helped to arrange the trip but accompanied Lizin on it. Neither of them saw fit to mention that, however.
The Lizin-Mellek connection seems to have begun in the first week of April when Lizin visited the PYD's office in Brussels and expressed interest in sending a GNRD mission to look at "the plight of Kurdish women". Mellek was one of those present at the meeting and GNRD described her at the time as a member of the PYD.
Within a fortnight, what GNRD described as a team "five specialists", headed by Lizin and including Mellek, arrived in Erbil, Iraq. They reportedly spent five days "completing field research, interviews and meetings". It is unclear who funded the trip.
GNRD has not published a detailed report of the team's findings on its website but PYD member Mellek has given at least two oral presentations of it on GNRD's behalf.
One of these was in Brussels on June 12, at a lunch for "decision-makers" attending the Crans Montana Forum. According to an account on GNRD's website, Lizin spoke about "GNRD’s latest work on women’s rights" and then introduced PYD member Mellek who "presented GNRD’s mission report on women’s rights situation in the areas and emphasised the plight of Syrian refugees".
Ten days later, Mellek was at UN headquarters in Geneva, presenting the report at a GNRD event on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council. On that occasion, GNRD's account of the meeting made no mention of Mellek's PYD connection. Instead, she was described as "Head of the European Kurdish television for Rojava". ("Rojava" refers to the Kurdish region of northern and north-eastern Syria.)
Lizin posted a video of the Ronahi TV interview on her website (www.lizin.org). Immediately below it is a plug for Haytham Manna, a Syrian dissident who has long-standing connections with GNRD and its founder, Loai Deeb. Lizin links to an interview with Manna published in France by La Croix and says the United States should listen to his views.
Posted by Brian Whitaker
Tuesday, 28 July 2015