Testimony before the UN Human Rights Council’s 45th Session delivered by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, 24 September 2020.


This Council’s founding charter, Resolution 60/251, requires that members shall “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.”

Let us consider the campaign pledges by three governments now running for election: Russia, China, and Cuba.

In its pledge, Russia promised to “ensure protection of human rights and freedoms under international law.” If so, why does Russia trample international law — by invading Ukraine, swallowing Crimea, and systematically bombing civilians, hospitals and schools in Syria? Why do critics of President Putin wind up imprisoned, empoisoned or assassinated? The world knows what happened to Boris Nemtsov, and now to Alex Navalny.

Now, China pledged that it will “earnestly fulfil its international human rights obligations.” If so, why did China herd 1 million Uighurs into camps; muzzle the doctor in Wuhan and arrest, crush and disappear everyone else who tried to sound the alarm about the coronavirus? Why did it suffocate freedom in Hong Kong?

Cuba, in its pledge, said it will uphold “the participatory and democratic nature of the Cuban political system.” If so, why did Freedom House just report that Cuba is an authoritarian, one-party system that excludes the public from any genuine political participation? And in October, why did Cuba arbitrarily detain human rights activist José Daniel Ferrer on false charges, and subject him to brutal torture?

UN Watch