Human Rights Crucial but Exploited for Political Agendas and Interference: UN Delegates
Delegates warned the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) of the UN General Assembly that the UN human rights machinery is at risk of abuse as they debated its special procedures and mandates.
Canada’s representative said exceptional or unique circumstances continued to erode the universal nature of human rights, a trend that often led to greater inequality, injustice, violence and death.
The politics surrounding human rights instruments was also addressed by India’s representative, who noted that nearly half of the thematic mandate holders came from one region, while the reliance on voluntary funding to support the Special Procedures system privileged some mandates over others, and could have adverse impacts on their perceived independence. He expressed concern that the United Nations human rights machinery had divided States and was being used as a political tool.
Espousing a practical, rather than ideological approach to realizing human rights, Singapore’s representative noted that a one-size-fits-all approach could not address human rights issues, adding “just as no two people are exactly alike, no two societies, communities or States are exactly alike”.
Along those lines, China’s representative urged respect for countries’ choice of rights protection modalities that were tailored to their national circumstances. He opposed double standards on human rights issues, and interference in State affairs under their pretext. Dialogue should be conducted on the basis of equality and mutual learning pursued in an open, inclusive manner.