Saturday, January 22, 2011

For Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection at UNESCO of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Frank La Rue
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection
of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

Fax: +41 22 917 9006
Email: freedex@ohchr.org

21 January 2011

Dear Mr. Frank la Rue:

On 26 January you will give the keynote address to the two-day UNESCO symposium and conference on the status of press freedom worldwide, freedom of expression on the internet, and the safety of journalists. These are matters that I am interested in.

I have here your Statement to the Fourteenth session of the Human Rights Council at Geneva, 3 June 2010, on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. With these remarks you note that "The Human Rights Council, through resolution 12/16, asserted that the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression is one of the essential foundations of a democratic society, and is instrumental to the development and strengthening of effective democratic systems."

What do you make then of the fact that in France, where UNESCO is head-quartered in Paris, there is no freedom for individuals to fully exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression when it comes to asking questions about fragments of World War II history? One such question is: "What proof is there that the German WMD (homicidal gassing chambers) actually existed?" Remember the Iraqi WMD fraud?

What do you make of the fact that the French citizen, Vincent Reynouard, is presently imprisoned for what the French State holds to be a "thought crimes" -- questioning this or that fraction of the orthodox Holocaust story?

Have you looked into the matter of this French prisoner? Have you decided to not look into it? I see that recently, in your position of Special Rapporteur for UNESCO you have addressed the right to freedom of opinion and expression for folk who live in Tunisia, China, Mexico, Italy, Columbia, Venezuela and even in The Maldives. Are you suggesting perhaps that the Maldivians have the right to freedom of opinion and expression while Frenchmen do not?

Please don't take this the wrong way. It is my view that you are entitled to your opinion, and that you have the right to express it, as does Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to hear you explain why Vincent Reynouard is imprisoned for stating publicly that he questions what the French State holds to be true regarding one fragment of WWII history. Are all Frenchmen condemned to silence on this one issue—under the threat of State prosecution and imprisonment? And if not all, which ones are? Specifically?

As the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, representing UNESCO and the longing for liberty all over the planet, could you not say a few words about the imprisonment of Vincent Reynouard for the crime of thinking for himself, rather than for the State?

Thank you for your attention, and good luck to you out there on the podium.

Bradley R. Smith, Founder
Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust

NOTE: This letter will be copied to offices at UNESCO headquarters and to UNESCO field offices.

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