According to a recent study, the UNHRC is failing to address dangers posed by China’s expanding global impact, which presents a significant threat to international human rights.
According to a report by Verisk Maplecroft, China and other friendly member states were “watering down international action” and the UNHRC had turned into a “battleground for competing standards.”
It also discovered that Beijing is using its financial clout to influence council decisions, with recipients of China’s “Belt & Road Initiative” being the most vulnerable targets.
According to a recent study, China’s expanding global impact presents a significant danger to international human rights and that the United Nations Human Rights Council, the organization created to defend such international safeguards, is failing to address the risks.
A group of 47 U.N. member states make up the UNHRC. With the declared objective of increasing the “promotion and protection of human rights” internationally, member nations are chosen on a three-year rotating schedule.
However, according to analysis published on Thursday by risk and strategic consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft, it has instead turned into a “battleground for competing standards,” with China and other associated member states exhibiting signs of “watering down international action” and promoting their “own brand of human rights.”
That China was harming individual liberties by “emphasizing economic development above all other rights” and imposing a “statist ‘development first’ view of human rights” on council members is noteworthy.
A request for feedback on the results from CNBC was not quickly met by the Chinese minister of foreign affairs.
The study, which is a component of the company’s larger yearly Human Rights Outlook, is supported by quantifiable statistics from the U.N. and the U.S. The private detailed study of Verisk Maplecroft, the State Department, Human Rights Watch, etc.
Additionally, it was discovered that China is influencing council decisions with its financial clout, with recipients of its “Belt & Road Initiative” being most vulnerable.
The BRI, China’s global infrastructure development initiative, includes at least 35 of the 47 UNHRC member states, many of which are Asian or African nations with comparable or worse ratings on the company’s human rights benchmarks, the research found.
Pascal Sim, the UNHRC’s interim spokesman, denied the allegations and said “no one state runs the council or dominates the agenda.”
Sim further explained in written remarks to CNBC that “all states, big and small, have an equal voice and immense potential to inform and influence the action of this intergovernmental body charged with promoting and protecting human rights around the world.”
The study called out China’s treatment of civic and political rights, especially freedom of speech and opinion, as being particularly troubling.
According to it, other UNHRC members were acting similarly, with nearly three-quarters (70%) of them being considered significant or severe threats to such rights. Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are among them. Government spokespeople for each country did not quickly reply to CNBC’s queries for comment.
Additionally, more than half of members performed equally badly on the three other measures—labour rights, human security, and human development—that the study determined to be crucial for maintaining humanitarian safeguards.
A total of 18 members saw a decrease in their score from 2017, including 15 BRI supporters, out of the 30 members who scored as extremely high or high risk for labor rights.
The study also revealed that Beijing was using increasingly complex maneuvers of crucial UNHRC procedures to quell critique, with states increasingly joining in the effort to exaggerate Beijing’s record on human rights.
The denial of a U.S.-proposed draft resolution on having a discussion on Xinjiang in October 2022, which was supported by Muslim-majority states and BRI members including Indonesia, the UAE, and Qatar, was described as the most “astonishing diplomatic victory” to date.
Uyghurs are an ethnic minority group native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China who are primarily Muslim. Human rights organizations charge Beijing of atrocities against this group. America has charged China with carrying out a massacre. Beijing has vehemently disputed that it engages in any violations.
The discoveries come at a time when Western mistrust toward China is at an all-time high, with U.S. and European partners expressing a variety of worries about Beijing’s alignment with Moscow as well as possible national security dangers presented by Chinese technology.
According to Sofia Nazalya, senior human rights analyst at Verisk Maplecroft and author of the report, “Beijing’s increasingly active role in the international human rights system comes at a precarious period of global democratic deterioration, economic slowdown, and severe geopolitical polarization — all with knock-on effects on human rights.”
“The upshot is that businesses will have to navigate and decode competing, and frequently conflicting, views on what constitutes an abuse and what doesn’t from the Council itself, which could weaken international human rights norms at the expense of vulnerable populations.”
Separate research published on Tuesday revealed that China has greatly increased its rescue financing for struggling countries in recent years, giving $185 billion to BRI creditors in just the last five years.
According to the report, which the World Bank co-authored, the increase signaled a shift toward a more “opaque and uncoordinated” global system for cross-border rescue lending, which poses a threat to the stability of the current monetary system and the function of venerable organizations like the International Monetary Fund.
In its most recent “the state of the world’s human rights” report, Amnesty International stated that over the previous year, there had been an increase in war crimes, crimes against humanity, suppression of fundamental liberties, economic crises, and increasing disparity.