UN Chief Tongue-Tied over Chinese Human Rights

5062040108_340555eca7_bThe Chinese government has for years severely restricted the freedom of movement, abortion speech and religion of its citizens, pharmacy failed to develop an independent judiciary, viagra buy done very little to curb discrimination against ethnic minorities and continued to execute more people per year than the rest of the world combined.

You are the leader of the United Nations, arguably the most important international institution on earth, charged as the custodian of the most significant international human rights agreement ever signed.

You think to yourself, ‘Gosh, China’s human rights record really ain’t that great.’

Then, a few weeks before you’re set to visit the Peoples Republic, the world’s most famous and influential (Nobel) peace price is awarded to Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, imprisoned for calling for an independent judiciary, freedom of expression and a new constitution in China.

One would think that you might use your role to, well, at least bring up the subject.

But if you’re United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, it seems there are certain issues best kept unspoken.

Chinese activists and international human rights groups ripped a new hole for the UN secretary general after his spokesperson confirmed Monday that the two leaders had not discussed Liu Xiaobo or the Nobel Prize.

The US-based Human Rights Watch, among others, said the secretary’s ‘quiet diplomacy’ was shocking and sent a chilling message to Chinese rights activists.

“Ban’s failure to speak out publicly while in China about Liu Xiaobo or any other domestic human rights issues just weeks after the Nobel Committee and numerous heads of state did precisely that betrays his pledges to defend human rights worldwide,” Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch told The Telegraph.

Ban Ki-moon has to date refused to call for Mr Xiaobo’s release, despite extensive pressure from human rights groups and a call two days earlier for Burma to release another Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, also in jail for her human rights activism.

What’s tying up the secretary general’s tongue in China? It doesn’t take a neuroscientist to figure it out: He needs the support of China, which has one of five vetoes on the UN Security Council, to get a second term as secretary general.

Apparently job security in the UN requires not doing your job.

Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China: “It would be extremely disappointing if the secretary general of the United Nations — especially one seeking re-election — did not demonstrate the human rights leadership that the UN special rapporteurs and working group chairs have already shown in supporting fundamental rights and freedoms and calling for the release of Liu Xiaobo.”

Call on United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to stop worrying about his job and start doing it. Sign the petition below to demand that he finally make a public call for China to release Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

Photo credit: thaigov

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