Rights Violating States Attempt Response to Accusations

Today at the U.N. Human Rights Council, after a number of states and NGOs accused Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, China, and North Korea of violating human rights, these countries demanded their rights of reply to respond to allegations or deflect blame by pointing to purported abuses of their critics.

Sri Lanka railed against those “hell bent on pursuing their agendas at all costs.” It argued that it is impossible to avoid collateral damage when engaging a terrorist group in combat (Editor: true), but that it trained its army to respect human rights such that it fought in a manner “better than any in the world and should be commended” (Editor: Not true. Sri Lanka provided no actual examples of measures it took to avoid civilian casualties, nor did it deny allegations that it shelled its self-proclaimed “no-fire zones” to which civilians had fled. Compare to the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces in the January Gaza war: “The IDF dropped more than 2,250,000 leaflets during the fighting, used Palestinian radio, made personal telephone warnings to more than 165,000 Gaza residents and carried out a special warning shot procedure–‘A knock on the roof’– in order to ensure that Palestinian civilians could avoid harm. Additionally, the IDF made extensive use of accurate munitions, wherever and whenever possible, to minimize harm to civilians,” according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.)

Myanmar invoked the principle of “non-interference” in the internal affairs of UN countries to insist that it is inappropriate to discuss its violations, explaining that problems of any country can only be solved by “its own people.” Myanmar went on to claim that it will be holding “free and fair multi-party general elections” in 2010.

Zimbabwe argued, “The European Union has no business whatsoever to tell us what a proper political agreement is. We will soon test the EU, Canada, and its allies when it comes to implementing the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference. Only then will we know how serious they are about protecting human rights.”

China said it rejected the “unjustified accusations” against it by the Czech Republic on behalf of the EU and some NGOs. “All ethnicities enjoy completely equal rights, including Tibetans,” it said.

North Korea rejected the allegations of Japan and the United Kingdom and complained about purported double standards in that these countries were “willing to refer to violations in developing countries, but not their own racism or U.S. invasions.” It then pointed a finger of blame at Japan, urging it “to immediately address all past and present violations.” Later, North Korea took the floor again to accuse Japan of “crimes against humanity, including one million genocidal killings” in Korea. Japan responded to these hyped-up allegations that its constitution guarantees the rights of all people without discrimination. Japan said it remains committed to normalizing relations with North Korea, but that it “simply and strongly” urges the regime “to pay serious attention to the succession of concerns raised by the international community by accounting for cases of human rights violations.”

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