Image: original artwork by @badiucao/text amendment from @tibettruth
If you were asked to vote on which is more important, development or human rights, you may abstain on the reasoning that the two are in a way interdependent. How would you decide if this choice was amended by an insistence that human rights are not universal, but defined by the social, cultural and political characteristics of each state? Are you reaching for the reject button yet?
Well that ‘reasoning’ is being successfully argued by the Chinese regime (no surprise there then) within the United Nations Human Rights Council, of which incredibly it is a member. Its representatives have for some time now been pushing an agenda which affirms ‘human rights with Chinese characteristics’.
In short that means subservience to the dictate of the state, development minus the protection (or respect) for individual human rights. The sort of deal that would have corrupt governments and corporations salivating, right?
At the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee in Geneva which closed February 22, a resolution proposed by China in 2017 (and adopted) entitled, “The contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights” was before the Committee for a vote. This followed a request by the United States.
The Chinese resolution was adopted by a vote of 30 in favour to 13 against. What does that say of the motive of member states which voted their approval? What chance has human rights when the very international institution charged with its protection diminishes its importance in favor of unfettered development?