ISSN 2330-717X

UN Human Rights Council Has No Reputation To Lose – OpEd


It is shocking that  UN Human Rights Council  wants to intervene in the Indian Supreme Court hearing  with regard to the Citizens Amendment Act recently passed in Indian Parliament with overwhelming majority.

This is one hundred percent an internal matter of India and a very small fraction of people belonging to Islamic community and some sworn opponent of Modi government are protesting. Indian government has clearly explained the logic and the need for Citizens Amendment Act and most people in India are convinced.

What is the legitimacy for UN Human Rights Council to intervene in a matter which is being heard and would be decided by the Supreme Court.

It is now well known that UN Human Rights Council is very selective and prejudiced in it’s judgements and most people suspect the credibility of this organization.

Several examples can be readily pointed out for the partisan role of UN Human Rights Council in the past.

One wonders why UN Human Rights Council is not critical in commenting about some recent violent developments involving the so called developed countries like USA, China, Russia, where UN Human Rights Council  appears to be  conspicuous by silence.

Bombing by armed forces of strong advanced countries in some regions in the name of fighting militancy, has resulted in killing of several innocent people. In all such cases, UN Human rights Council has not made impactful, critical comments.

Human rights violation in Tibet by China

There has not been  greater violation of human rights in the past than the act of China, by forcibly occupying the territory of helpless Tibet, massacring the protesters in Tibet and driving out thousands of Tibetans, including the venerable the  Dalai Lama out of Tibet. While Tibetans now living as refugees in many parts of the world are protesting against the act of China, the UN Human Rights Council  is conspicuous by its silence on the matter. It is ironical that  China itself is a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Human rights violation by so called advanced countries

Perhaps, no other country  in the world violated human rights and indulged in aggressive warfare in other countries and killed thousands of innocent people in the last few decades, more than the USA, China and Russia. Several developed countries in Western Europe like UK, France and others have joined US in several attacks.

USA has sent troops to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and several other countries, to safeguard its assumed role as the global policeman. Even in the present Syria conflict, it is widely suspected that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US government is providing training to the rebels in Syria to create unrest and indulge in violence.

 While it is a fact that US itself has lost many of its men in such warfare in other countries, the number of people who died in other countries where US sent its troops is several times more.

In any case, no country has the business to interfere in the affairs of another country in the  name of restoring human rights or protecting civil liberties. It is the job of the United Nations to do and not that of US or any other country.

Now, the US sponsoring a resolution asking for a probe in Sri Lanka for the war crimes is similar to a pot calling the kettle black. Same in the case of China accusing India for human rights violation in Kashmir.

Palestine issue

What about  the Palestine issue and bombing by Israel frequently in Gaza Strip and other places, claiming that it is a defensive action?  The UN Human Rights Council  appears to be remaining as a helpless  spectator, though it has been passing some cosmetic resolutions from time to time.

Rohingya Issue :

When thousands of Rohingyas left Myanmar and reached Bangladesh, UN Human Rights Council  strongly condemned the Myanmar government and it’s military for the situation. Earlier, the Rohingya militants were causing huge violence in Myanmar and attacked several police stations and government establishments, which inevitably forced the Myanmar government to act to put down the rebels. UN Human Rights Council  did nothing and said nothing when the Rohingya militants created unrest in Myanmar and it simply watched the situation from the gallery, as if it is only an observer.

Sri Lankan Issue :

The classic recent example is Sri Lanka, where the UN Human Rights Council  has been unduly critical against the Sri Lankan government for it’s acts, when it had to necessarily take steps to put down the rebels who wanted to split Sri Lanka and form a separate country. It was a case of civil war in Sri Lanka between the separatists / militants and the government and both the parties used strong arm methods  UN Human Rights Council  is selectively critical of Sri Lankan government which had to fight to safeguard the territorial integrity of the country and it has nothing critical to say, for all purposes about the violent acts of the LTTE militants in Sri Lanka.

No reputation to lose :

So many other instances can be pointed out, where the role of UN Human Rights Council  in protecting human rights has been minimal or nil.

Ironically, it appears that the UN Human Rights Council  can act only if there are issues relating to small and weak countries, that are not backed by powerful countries! Obviously, UN Human Rights Council has lost it’s moral authority, which is necessary for a world organization to function in effective manner.

It is high time that the UN Secretary General orders a probe into the functioning style and priorities of UN Human Rights Council.

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N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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