UN Watch

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UN Watch, a Geneva-based group, was founded in 1993 to monitor the performance of the United Nations and with a stated mission of promoting human rights, but with an prime emphasis on the coverage of Israeli violations of human rights. It is an accredited non-governmental organization with the UN ECOSOC and has affiliate status with the UN DPI.

It has been founded and funded by the American Jewish Committee since 2001. UN Watch led the largest NGO coalition at the UN Human Rights Council special session on Darfur in December 2006.

Nexus to AJC

Ian Williams, a journalist covering the UN for many years and former president of the United Nations Correspondents Association, summarizes UN Watch's role:

UN Watch is an organisation whose main purpose is to attack the United Nations in general, and its human rights council in particular, for alleged bias against Israel.[1]

UN Watch has been funded by the American Jewish Committee since 2001. It claims to have 'complete independence' from the AJC.[2]

However, a press release from its site notes that UN Watch is to become 'fully integrated' into the AJC. The release concludes:

Eighteen months ago, the American Jewish Committee and the World Jewish Congress reached an agreement, approved by the international board of UN Watch, to transfer full control of the organization to AJC, an agreement that went into effect on January 1, 2001.[3]

The main activities of UN Watch

  • Monitor UN activities, resolutions, or official statements that are construed to be critical of Israel.[4]
  • Lobby for the removal of UN personnel who are considered critical of Israel[5]
  • Forming coalitions to leverage influence at the UN. This also entails assisting the interests of other groups to later count on their support.[6]
  • Lobby for the inclusion of AJC approved personnel; this is a standard operating procedure by the American Jewish Committee[7]


Board of Directors


Former Staff


Geneva Summit Award Winners


Masih Alinejad (Iran)


Antonio Ledezma (Venezuela)

Geneva Summit Particiapants

Darya Safai (Iran)

Similar Organizations



1 rue de Varembé,(PO Box 191)
1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland.
Email: unwatch AT unwatch.org
Website: www.unwatch.org
Phone: +41 22 734 14 72


External Resources


  1. Ian Williams, Casting the first stone, Guardian, 4 April 2007.
  2. Leon Saltiel Inaccuracies email to Spinwatch, 3 July 2006.
  3. AJC Media Release, "UN Watch, AJC Seal Partnership", American Jewish Committee, 4 January 2001
  4. This can be confirmed through a perusal of their press releases.
  5. UN Watch has been vociferous about UN personnel like Mary Robinson, Peter Hansen, Jean Ziegler.
  6. See for example:
    • Tovah Lazaroff, 70 rights groups call on UN to condemn Tripoli, Jerusalem Post, 22 February 2011. UN Watch organizes petitions/demand writing with dozens of signatories. In return UN Watch signs on to petitions/demands favorable to the previous signatories. The deceptive aspect about this is that it enables UN Watch to allay the image of being a "single-issue" organization.
    • See this coalition UN Watch organized for a censure motion.
    • UN Watch appears as one of the main participants in CONGO, an organization that brings together disparate NGOs seeking to lobby the UN. The premise is that the NGOs working in tandem can have greater influence and assist one another obtain their aims.
  7. see AJC News Update Number 212, 28 June 2006.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 UN Watch: History: Board Members (Accessed: 14 January 2012)
  9. 9.0 9.1 ibid. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "salt" defined multiple times with different content
  10. ibid.
  11. ibid.
  12. ibid.
  13. Wilmer Hale: profile (Accessed: 18 December 2011.)
  14. ibid.
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