World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


China-led Panel Picks Amnesty International’s Ex-Chief Irene Khan As UN Free Speech Monitor

A watchdog revealed today that China was Chair of the U.N. Human Rights Council vetting process that nominated Amnesty International's former chief Irene Khan to be the next world monitor on free speech—a decision to be ratified this afternoon by the 47-nation plenary—as it emerges that she enjoys close ties with the Communist regime.

"A totalitarian regime that systematically silences, jails and crushes dissenting voices, and which operates the notorious Great Firewall of China to block Internet content from its people, should not have been allowed to lead the process in selecting the next U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the independent human rights organization UN Watch, based in Geneva.

Khan left Amnesty in 2009, forced out under mysterious circumstances. Members of the organization were outraged to learn that she received a golden handshake worth some $700,000, a payment later criticized by an independent reviewer as “seriously excessive.”

Three years later, Khan became head of the Rome-based International Development Law Organization (IDLO), which promotes the rule of law in 38 countries. China is one of eight state donors to the agency, which in turn has a webpage dedicated to photos and tweets of Khan praising China.

In a fawning 2018 speech in Beijing, Khan offered nothing but praise for China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which “has the potential to improve the lives of billions of people,” is “anchored in the purposes and principles of the United Nations,” and can “contribute to strengthening international rule of law.”

Khan did not mention how the $1 trillion-dollar infrastructure development and investments scheme is seen as a major factor fueling Beijing’s persecution of the Uighurs, who live in a region at the heart of the network. Nor did she raise any human rights concerns at all about China.

Khan visited China repeatedly. In 2016, at Tsinghua University, she “spoke highly of China’s contribution to the global sustainable development.” In 2017 she was back, inaugurating an institute connected to the Belt and Road, and signing agreements.

Khan's Twitter account only has praise for China's government, "a worrying sign for a human rights activist," said Neuer.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN News: UN Censures ‘heinous Attacks’ In Lake Chad Basin

Conflict over many years has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes in north-east Cameroon. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe The Secretary-General strongly condemned “heinous attacks” against civilians in the Lake Chad Basin, a UN spokesperson ... More>>

South Africa: COVID-19 Pandemic Raises The Urgency Of Structural Reforms

South Africa responded swiftly to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the sharp drop in activity adds to long-standing challenges and raises the urgency of structural reforms, according to a new OECD report released today. In the latest Economic Survey of South Africa ... More>>

United Nations: ‘Immediate Humanitarian Assistance’ To Support Beirut

The response to Tuesday’s explosion in Beirut requires global support in order to “surmount the devastating impact” of the crisis facing the Lebanese people, the UN Deputy Special Coordinator for the country said on Thursday. More>>

UN Experts: Turkey Should Preserve Hagia Sophia As Space For Meeting Of Cultures

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul should be maintained as an inter-cultural space reflecting the diversity and complexity of Turkey and its history, and preserving the outstanding universal value which resulted in its World Heritage Status, say two UN human rights ... More>>