Flat White

Australia must have nothing to do with UN Council of Human Rights

13 October 2020

4:24 PM

13 October 2020

4:24 PM

Imagine the outcry if Donald Trump appointed five members of the Ku Klux Klan to oversee race relations.

There would be worldwide outrage. People would riot in the streets. Leaders around the world would denounce the decision and threaten to end diplomatic relations.

Well, today the United Nations is expected to appoint five serial human rights abusers to its Human Rights Council – and there will be barely a murmur of protest.

China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Cuba will all take their place on the 47-nation council from which they will lecture the rest of the world on human rights.

As of today, democracies like Australia must answer to a Communist State, an Islamic theocracy, a Marxist–Leninist socialist state and a nation ruled by an autocrat thug for the way in which we treat people.

China will be rewarded for detaining more than a million of its citizens in extrajudicial internment camps designed to erase religious and ethnic identities by being asked to adjudicate on human rights abuses in other nations.

Has the United Nations already forgotten about China’s role in – by which I mean total responsibility for – coronavirus? Have UN representatives never heard of Tibet or Hong Kong or Taiwan?

It takes a special kind of cognitive dissonance to take the nation that might be voted worst human rights abuser and instead vote for them to police human rights.


Why don’t we appoint arsonists to the fire brigade, gang members to the police force and paedophiles to teachers unions?

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia will be held up as a shining light of personal freedom to which other nations should aspire.

And why not? A nation that executed 184 people in 2019 for apostasy, sorcery and adultery is a nation that others ought emulate.

Some argue that the Arab state’s record of mass arrests against women’s rights activists such as Loujain al-Hathloul – jailed for calling on the government to lift the ban on women driving cars and to end male guardianship laws – should bar them from a seat at the Human Rights Council.

But this would only be the case if women were fully human. In Saudi Arabia they are not. So there’s zero contradiction between the state’s treatment of women and its human rights credentials. See how this works?

As for Russia, some fear they might poison the UN’s Council on Human Rights. But that’s unfair. Russia only poisons critics of their government.

And what do you do with Cuba and Pakistan which have refused entry to the Human Rights council’s experts on torture, free assembly, free expression and arbitrary detention, rejecting their requests to visit and report on the situation of human rights?

You put them on the Council of Human Rights to oversee the inspection of other countries, of course. If you can’t beat them, join them. Or better, you have them join you and you put them in charge.

The United Nations boats that members of the human rights council must “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights”.

But the council for human rights is actually a protector of human rights abusers.

In 2018 the then US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley said: “Human rights abusers continue to serve on, and be elected to, the council.

“The world’s most inhumane regimes continue to escape scrutiny and the council continues politicising and scapegoating of countries with positive human rights records in an attempt to distract from the abusers in their ranks.”

Donald Trump, for all his faults, had the good sense to walk away from the council.

The UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, said at the time that he regretted America’s decision. But evidently not enough stop the inmates running the asylum.

Scott Morrison should insist that Australia has absolutely nothing to do with this sham organisation.

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