News / USA

Human Rights Monitoring Group Sharply Criticizes UN Chief

Carolyn Weaver

Human Rights Watch harshly criticized U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s "quiet diplomacy" approach to human rights issues in its annual report released on Monday.  Officials of the human rights monitoring group say the U.N. leader should not necessarily be elected to a second term later this year.  

The Human Rights Watch report says Mr. Ban has been "notably reluctant" to pressure major human rights abusers in public.  It says the secretary-general has sometimes gone "out of his way to portray oppressive governments in a positive way," and placed "undue faith" in his ability to use private persuasion in dealing with the leaders of Sudan, Burma and Sri Lanka.

At a press conference at the U.N., Human Rights Watch official Philippe Bolopion said the group believes Mr. Ban at this point does not deserve a second term as U.N. chief. "From our point of view to deserve a second term, he would have to have a much more forceful approach, a much more consistent approach when it comes to the critical human rights issues he’s being faced with," he said.

Bolopion noted that when Mr. Ban met with China’s President Hu Jintao in November, he did not discuss human rights.  When Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel peace prize, Bolopion said the U.N. chief did not commend Liu or call for his release, but rather praised China’s economic progress and adherence to human rights.

Bolopion said that Human Rights Watch believes that Mr. Ban uses "private diplomacy" as a façade for inaction. "It’s a way to publicly say that you are doing something about human rights violations, without having to incur any cost for this. The problem is often it doesn’t work; it works with regimes that are really willing to change and need some help.  It doesn’t work with serial abusers that just use cooperation as a way to pretend they address these issues when in fact they don’t," he said.

United Nations spokesman Farhan Haq rejected the criticism, saying that Ban Ki-moon uses all of the means at his disposal, including public pressure, to promote human rights.

"In each particular case, the secretary-general makes his strategic decision on the most effective way to secure respect for human rights and accountability.  He’s applied public pressure where he’s considered it the most likely means to achieve results.  And the record shows that the secretary-general has achieved results both through quiet diplomacy, as well as through public pressure," he said.

Haq pointed to speeches made by Mr. Ban in Burma and China, in which he championed human rights.  He also pointed to the secretary-general's work in Sudan and noted that he had interceded privately to defend a gay couple in Malawi.  The Human Rights Watch report notes that Mr. Ban has spoken out publicly against abuses in Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid