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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid