China’s entry to UN Human Rights Council panel is a body blow to United Nations credibility

China’s sway over the UN (United Nations) and world bodies is a threat to the world and is assuming ominous proportions as the functioning of WHO during the global pandemic has shown. In yet another horrendous and hilarious decision, the UN has appointed China to UN human rights Council Panel where it will play a key role in picking the world body’s human rights investigators – including global monitors on freedom of speech, health, enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention – in a move that has left human rights activists across the world aghast and seething with anger.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a non governmental human rights organisation based in Geneva that closely monitors the 47 nation UN Human Rights Council says, “Allowing China’s oppressive and inhumane regime to choose the world investigators on freedom of speech, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances is like making a pyromaniac into the town ‘Fire Chief.'”

Likewise, at a time where China has forcibly disappeared citizens who express dissent like the executive Ren Zhiqiang, who called Xi Jin Ping ‘A Clown’ over Coronavirus response – as well as upwards of a one million Muslim Uighurs and minority group members – it is inconceivable that China would be allowed the selection of the next member of the UN working group on enforced or involuntary disappearances,” Neuer added.

This shows China’s growing clout and economic muscle over the UN which has turned a blind eye to China’s absymal and deplorable human rights record and unabashedly succumbed to China’s economic might.

According to the 2019- 21 UN budget, China has increased its contribution from 7.92% to 12% and has been ludicrously rewarded with an appointment to the UN Human Rights Council Panel. The US is still the biggest fund provider of the UN with a 22% contribution which comes to 10 billion dollars.

It is preposterous and alarming to think that the biggest violator of human rights, a nation which tank rolled its own students in 1989 in Tiananmen square, a country which has kept more than one million Uighur Muslims in captivity and Nazi style concentration camps for organ trade and transplants apart from forcibly pushing them into the original epicenter of Covid-19, Wuhan for operating its factories, will now decide on human rights violations in the world.

The United Nations has lost all credibility and face by succumbing to China’s tactics and muscle flexing and the likes of Michele Bachelot, the Commissioner of UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Commission) – who raised a big hue and cry when Article 370 was revoked and CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) was implemented in our country – are maintaining a deafening silence on China’s entry to the UN human rights council panel inspite of its absymal human rights record and the atrocities inflicted on its minorities including the Uighur Muslims.

This shows that these human rights watchdogs on health and human rights headed by UN like the UNHRC, WHO and their respective bosses like Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus are hand in glove with their Chinese counterparts and are good at threatening developing countries like Bharat over frivolous issues and keeping honest countries like Taiwan out of the UN.

China’s dominance of the UN can be gauged from the fact that it heads 4 of the 15 specialised UN agencies as compared to the US, France and UK which head only one each after contributing more three times to the world body as compared to China. China’s vice like hold on the UN is because of its bureaucratic grip on the UN where die hard Chinese nationals and officials (who swear by Chinese allegiance and their motherland) are in charge of more than 1000 UN positions.

Chinese companies are also not to be left behind in having a share of the UN pie with Chinese tech major Tencent, which is worth over 500 billion dollar, being given the contract for video conferencing and providing digital expertise for UN’s 75th anniversary celebrations.

The onus is on countries like the US, UK, France and Germany who despite their major funding to the UN have chosen to take a back seat while China continues to increase its domain and influence over the world body which represents 193 countries.

With elections coming up for 6 UN subsidiaries or agencies including WTO (World Trade Organization), UNCTAD (UN Conference on Trade & Development), and CTBTO (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization), it is imperative that these nations participate in these elections by nominating suitable candidates from their respective nations.

Japan which has been relegated to the third position by China vis-a-vis UN funding should also step up the tempo along with Bharat to contest these elections by sending suitable and qualified candidates. Only last year, the US, Japan and Bharat got together to successfully remove Chinese language from UN documents.

Clearly more needs to be done by all these countries so that China’s writ does not run large over the UN and its agencies. But the damage has already been done by China’s entry into the UN Human Rights Council Panel and the US being the major fund provider of the world body needs to play a more active and assertive role.

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About the Author

Aman Gupta
Political Editor, Samast Bharat magazine