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Top Ten worst UN actions of 2020

Every year, UN Watch, an NGO that monitors the UN Human Rights Council, publishes its Top Ten list of the UN’s most egregious actions in the calendar year. The NGO is often instrumental in exposing these actions, many of which contradict the basic charter of the UN to respect fundamental human rights. UN Watch also highlights the hypocrisy of the UN empowering and enabling corrupt governments whose policies also contradict the UN charter.

Here are UN Watch’s picks for 2020:

10. Syria Retains Senior Post at UN Committee Responsible for ‘Decolonizing’ Gibraltar, Falklands, American Samoa

Reminder: Syria continues to be engaged in a civil war, and at the same time that Syria was being re-elected to this post, the country was in the midst of conducting a bombing campaign of its own civilians in Idlib.

9. Farce: UN Rights Review Praises Tehran’s Record

When Iran came up for a mandatory UNHRC review of its human rights record, UN Watch exposed the farce of how 85% of the country statements actually praised Tehran’s record.

Syria commended Iran’s “active efforts to increase healthcare.” Russia hailed “Iran’s cooperation with human rights treaty bodies.” China praised “Iran’s efforts to protect the rights of vulnerable groups.” Venezuela cited Iran’s “steadfast commitment to protecting human rights.”

8. China Joins Key UN Panel to Select Human Rights Investigators on Free Speech, Disappearances, Arbitrary Detention

In April, China was appointed to a UN Human Rights Council panel where it will play a key role in picking the world body’s human rights investigators, including global monitors on freedom of speech, health, enforced disappearances, and arbitrary detention.

7. UN Elects China, Russia, Cuba, Pakistan to Top Human Rights Body

The rights-abusing regimes of China, Cuba, Russia and Pakistan were elected to the UN’s top human rights body, raising the percentage of non-democracies on the UN human rights council from 51% to a staggering 60%.

6. UN’s World Health Organization Praises China for ‘Transparency’ on Coronavirus

As the coronavirus started to spread from the Wuhan region, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus applauded the “transparency” of the Chinese response.

Even as evidence mounted that Chinese officials had silenced whistleblowers and undercounted cases, Tedros extolled the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

When the WHO finally declared a public health emergency of international concern, Tedros said: “The Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak,” adding that China had set “a new standard” for outbreak response.

5. UN Condemns Israel 17 Times, Rest of the World 6

In 2020, the UN General Assembly singled out Israel in 17 different resolutions, while it adopted six on the rest of the world combined.

The UK as well as EU states like France, Germany and the Netherlands backed more than two-thirds of the resolutions on Israel, even as they failed to introduce a single UNGA resolution this year on the human rights situations in China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Cuba, Turkey, Pakistan, Vietnam, Algeria or on 175 other countries.

4. UN’s WHO Names China Booster Helen Clark to Head COVID-19 Inquiry

When former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark was appointed as co-chair of WHO’s inquiry into the origins and global response to the coronavirus, UN Watch called on Clark to recuse herself on account of her numerous prior statements praising the WHO for the very actions she is meant to investigat — and due to her extensive and close ties with the Chinese regime, dating back four decades.

3. UN Elects Turkey to Head General Assembly in 2020-2021

Despite its egregious abuses, the oppressive Turkish regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took over the presidency of the UN General Assembly for the 2020-2021 session. Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir was the sole candidate for the post.

The UN rewarded the Erdogan regime despite a crackdown that purged 18,000 civil servants, fired 4,000 judges, tortured journalists, and even as Turkey occupied northern Syria and denied water to its Kurds. The UN also gave a free pass to Turkey after it denied the Armenian genocide in a letter circulated by the UN.

2. UN Rights Council Attacks Western Sanctions, Backs Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba

Alena Douhan of Belarus, the UN’s new Special Rapporteur on “the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures,” used her first report to the Human Rights Council to complain about Western sanctions that target the regimes of Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba.

Instead of calling out their gross abuses, the UN human rights official blamed problems in those countries on Western sanctions. “The Special Rapporteur notes the selectivity and double standards that arise when such sanctions are introduced in the absence of any valid legal ground.”

Douhan’s UNHRC position was created in a 2014 resolution sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

1. UN Human Rights Office Handed Names of Dissidents to Chinese Regime, Whistleblower Reveals

The UN human rights office had a practice of secretly handing over names of dissidents to the Chinese regime, revealed whistleblower Emma Reilly, allowing Beijing to know in advance which Uighur and other activists were registered to attend sessions of the UN Human Rights Council — putting their lives in danger, as well as those of their family members living in China.

Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uighur Congress, and Chinese dissident Yang Jianli, a board member of UN Watch, were two of the names provided to the Chinese government by the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) in 2012 and 2013.

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