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UN, EU criticized for going easy on dictators – Monsters and Critics

[MISC, Monday, 24 January 2011 22:13 No Comment]

New York/Brussels – The United Nations and European Union were strongly criticized on Monday for failing to defend human rights.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was particularly singled out for going easy on the Chinese government in the case of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

  The New York-based Human Rights Watch targeted the UN and members of the Human Rights Council in Geneva for failing their duties in its annual report, which assessed human rights situations in scores of countries.

Executive Director Kenneth Roth also criticized the European Union and some national leaders, including Angela Merkel of Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy of France, for their weaknesses in defending human rights.

‘The use of dialogue and cooperation in lieu of public pressure has emerged with a vengeance at the UN, from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to many members of the Human Rights Council,’ Roth said in the introduction of the annual report.

Roth said the UN leader has been ‘notably reluctant to put pressure on abusive governments.’

Ban visited Beijing last year and met with Chinese President Hu Jintao after Liu was named the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. But Ban did not publicly call for his release.

Liu is serving an 11-year jail sentence for demanding human rights in China. But the Chinese government claim Liu plotted against the country’s one-party authority and barred him from attending the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in early December.

Ban said in response to critics that he did speak for human rights when he visited Nanjing, Shanghai and Beijing in October. He pointed out that his objections to China’s human rights policy were raised in private.

The 2011 edition of the Human Rights Watch said, ‘too many governments … are replacing pressure to respect human rights with softer approaches such as private ‘dialogue’ and ‘cooperation.”

‘A range of countries from the global North and South are regular offenders, but the EU in particular seems eager to adopt the ideology of dialogue and cooperation,’ the report charged.

   It denounced the EU for boosting ties with Turkmenistan without demanding any improvements in its human rights record, dropping sanctions against Uzbekistan despite the government failing to own up to the Andijan massacre and moving forward on accession talks with Serbia while war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic is still at large.

   The report was released in Brussels as EU and NATO leaders met with Uzbekistan’s authoritarian leader, Islam Karimov.

   The report also said the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva caved in to authoritarian regimes. It said the council congratulated Sri Lanka rather than condemning it for its brutal abuses against civilians in the conflict against the Tamil Tigers.

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