UN Watch’s revelation yesterday that U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay is effectively refusing to meet with the Dalai Lama on his visit to Geneva next week is now sparking international attention.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was asked about it yesterday by a reporter at his monthly press conference in New York, and he promised that he would “check on the issue”:
Question: Mr. Secretary-General, there’s a report out this morning that your Human Rights chief, Navi Pillay, had refused to receive and meet with the Dalai Lama in Geneva when he goes there this week. Does this, in your mind, send the right message with regards to human rights?
Secretary-General: I will have to check on this issue. I have not read that.
See video webcast, at minute 44:04.
Internet news sites are beginning to cover the story as well. Story by Phayul.com, run by Tibetan exiles:
Story by ZeeNews:
UN Watch upset at Pillay’s refusal to meet Dalai Lama
July 30, 2009
New York: Human rights group UN Watch on Wednesday expressed disappointment at the refusal by United Nations rights chief Navi Pillay to answer whether she will receive the Dalai Lama on his visit to Geneva next week — understood as a negative answer.
At the same time, Geneva-based UN Watch welcomed her criticism of China’s “serious systemic violations of human rights” in Tibet, and her call for due process for detainees and access to international observers.
“The High Commissioner for Human Rights is supposed to be independent and to act solely on principles,” UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said in a statement.
“Her refusal to meet with the Dalai Lama – the voice of Tibetan victims and a universal symbol of peace – reflects the sad reality that UN institutions and officials operate under the constant influence of power politics, especially when it involves China,” Neuer said.
Neuer welcomed Pillay’s new comments on Tibet, but said they were “too little and too late”.
“She’s still walking on eggshells. We urge the High Commissioner to attribute direct responsibility to Beijing for specific crimes in Tibet, and in general to make regular public statements on China’s gross and systematic abuses affecting a population of more than one billion people.”