Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

UNESCO unmoved to try and end humanitarian crisis

By David Singer - posted Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Director of the Division of Public Information at UNESCO - Mr Neil Ford - has made it clear that UNESCO still refuses to approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an advisory opinion on the legality of the admission of Palestine as the 195th Member State of UNESCO.

This approach was suggested by me to UNESCO in a detailed submission on 1 December last - following what I considered to be an inadequate response to my concerns first raised with UNESCO on 5 November - 5 days after Palestine's admission to UNESCO.

On 31 December - and only after considerable prodding - I was advised by Ms Suzanne Bilello - Senior Public Information and Liaison Officer with the UNESCO Office in New York - that UNESCO had no comment to make on my submission.


I then started a petition to in the hope of persuading UNESCO to review its decision.

I wrote to Ms Bilello on 2 January in the following terms:

I can only take UNESCO's refusal to comment further to mean that:

If I am mistaken in drawing the above conclusions - please advise me why within the next seven days.

  • UNESCO cannot legally justify the decision to admit Palestine as a full member of UNESCO since a two thirds majority vote of 130 member states required by Article II (2) of the Constitution was not met - as I claimed in my email to you dated 1 December 2011
  • UNESCO is not prepared to supply me with a copy of the recommendation of the Executive Board to the General Conference to admit Palestine to membership of UNESCO and any reports that formed part of that recommendation or were considered by the Executive Board prior to making that recommendation

Ms Bilello did not respond.

Surprisingly however - Mr Ford sent me an email on 18 January - but it failed to comment on my detailed submission. Instead Mr Ford sought to justify the legal correctness of a statement issued by UNESCO that I had criticised in various articles and blog posts.


Mr Ford was quite peremptory in again letting me know that UNESCO would provide no further comment on the subject.

Undeterred - I asked him to confirm whether he had seen my detailed submission sent to Ms Bilello and asked him two further questions that required simple "Yes" or "No" answers.

True to his word he refused to comment. A three-word email was obviously too hard to draft and send for the UNESCO Director of Public Information.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

29 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

Other articles by this Author

All articles by David Singer

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 29 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy