Dramatic decline of human rights standards expected: democratic countries must show more commitment to human rights within the UN.
Society for Threatened Peoples, 28.3.2018: The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) accuses China and Russia of taking systematic measures to undermine human rights protection within the United Nations (UN). “We expect a dramatic decline in human rights standards that took decades to be implemented,” warned Ulrich Delius, the STP’s director, in Göttingen on Wednesday. The latest example of the aspirations of the Russian and Chinese governments is a resolution China introduced to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last Friday, in which Xi Jinping’s interpretation of human rights is declared a standard. According to the will of the Chinese President, human rights should henceforth only be promoted for “mutual benefit”. “Thus, it would no longer be possible to actively denounce serious human rights violations – turning the UN Human Rights Council into a coffee party without any real obligations,” Delius criticized. Interestingly, Syria, Myanmar, and Eritrea were in favor of the resolution too – three states that are responsible for crimes against humanity as well. The human rights activist regretted that Germany abstained from voting on the controversial resolution: “We would have hoped for a clearer statement against this attack on constitutional values.”
The STP emphatically demanded Germany, the member states of the European Union, and other democratic states to show more commitment to human rights within the UN. Apparently, China and Russia are deliberately using the Fifth Committee of the UN General Assembly, which is responsible for budget matters, to cut down on structures focusing on the protection of human rights – affecting both the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as posts and programs associated with the UN Secretary-General. “If there is a lack of qualified personnel, one can not expect the UN to effectively take care of human rights issues. China, the third largest contributor to the UN, is shamelessly using its financial clout to turn the UN into a toothless tiger,” Delius stated.
As became apparent in a Syria-debate in the UN Security Council last week, China can rely on Russian support. Due to a draft order by Russia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had been excluded – thus preventing a discussion about serious human rights violations. Russia’s UN agency stated that the UN Security Council should not be dealing with human rights issues. Finally, France ensured that the High Commissioner was able to informally provide the UN Security Council with information about the dramatic human rights situation in Syria.
Header Photo: Cia Pak via UN Photo