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Burglar as watchdog?

Burglar as watchdog?
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Burglar as watchdog?

Highlights

Human rights groups and political figures are crying foul after the election at the United Nations headquarters which enabled China's return to the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in January

Human rights groups and political figures are crying foul after the election at the United Nations headquarters which enabled China's return to the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in January. The irony is that China is the worst human rights violating country in the world.

In addition it is backing countries like Pakistan whose track record in anti-terror governance is at its lowest. It is just unthinkable that countries like China want to lecture the world henceforth on human rights.

The world has seen how China dabbles in the internal affairs of the foreign countries and how it keeps violating all canons of civilised rule and gobbles up foreign lands. In fact, countries like China should hold no place in the esteemed world bodies and organisations.

At least not any longer in view of its duplicity. Its very nature is in contrast with the practices of the United Nations and its several wings. The UNHRC was established in 2006 as a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly (GA) focused on the promotion of "universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all." It was conceived to take up and make recommendations on the rights issues of the day, "including gross and systematic violations."

China has been accused of unleashing repressive policies in Tibet, assaulting the freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong under the city's Basic Law, and imposing a draconian police state in Xinjiang, where it has interned over a million Muslim Uighurs in concentration camps. Tiananmen Square incident looks trivial compared to what it is doing to Uighurs and pales into insignificance. The UN elects 47 of its 193 member states for three-year terms in staggered elections.

At stake at the UN headquarters in the last elections were 15 seats to represent five regions from 2021-2023. China, Nepal, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan filled the four vacant spots for the Asia-Pacific with 139, 150, 164, and 169 votes, respectively. Saudi Arabia, still plagued by its involvement in the Yemeni Civil War and the 2018 murder of a Washington Post journalist, received only 90. Cuba and Russia ran to represent their respective regions uncontested.

China's Permanent Mission to the UN voiced its "heartfelt gratitude" to fellow member-states for their support" and touted the success of human rights — with "Chinese characteristics." However, support for China's fourth-place finish was down more than 22 percent from the 180 votes it received in 2016.

Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth took this as a sign of waning influence in the organization, tweeting that "The fear [of China] is melting." Again, China had a strange definition of human rights. Accordingly, "there is no universally applicable model, and human rights can advance only in the context of national conditions and people's needs."

Going by it, even the world body would not have any right to counter anyone's claim or repressive policy of any country "as it may be in the best interest of the country". In contrast the UN General Assembly resolution 60/251, which led to the establishment of the UNHCR, calls human rights "universal, indivisible, interrelated, interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

It also states that "all States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, have the duty to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms." World and its ways!

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