John Baird
John BairdReuters


Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird joined Israel in blocking a senior Hamas official from addressing a session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Baird said he'd been "troubled" to learn Ismail Al-Ashqar had been scheduled to appear at a session on the human rights body in Geneva.

"As soon as I learned of this matter, I instructed our delegation in Geneva to make our opposition known at the highest levels and in the strongest of terms," he said.

"I also instructed the Canadian delegation not to attend any meeting or function where this individual was or might be present. I am pleased to note that the accreditation has since been revoked."

Baird's decision came after Israel's ambassador the United Nations, Ron Prosor, filed a formal complaint asking Al-Ashqar be removed from the UNHRC schedule.

It was reported the UN chief in Geneva later prevented Al-Ashqar from entering the session, and requested he leave UN compound in Geneva as well.

The move came after Israel filed an official compliant when it was learned Hamas lawmaker Ismail Al-Ashqar was scheduled to attend.

Israel, the European Union, the United States, Canada, and Japan all classify Hamas – which actively targets Israeli civilians while seeking the destruction of the Jewish state – as a terror organization.

Last January, Baird and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney put up a "not welcome" sign for members of Hamas who might attend an International Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting in Quebec City this fall.