Australia criticized for obstructing UN motion on probing US racism

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/19 16:19:59

United Nation Photo: Xinhua

Australia has been reportedly busy lobbying to play down and trying to impede a motion for an inquiry into US racism and police brutality at the United Nation Human Rights Council (HRC). Playing as the proxy of the US, Australia has been widely criticized for showing double standards as it was eager to push for an investigation into China for COVID-19 but suppressed a probe into the US for human rights abuse.
An urgent debate was convened at the request of many African counties at the UN HRC on racism and police brutality in the US on Wednesday. African countries penned a letter to the UN following the death of George Floyd in the US. 

Only four urgent debates have been called by the UN HRC, and the debate on Wednesday drew the attention of the world. 

However, according to a report from The Australian newspaper, Australia pushed for a compromise motion to be voted on, rather than a direct inquiry into the US. 

The original motion asked the UN’s Human Rights Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, to examine and analyze “alleged violations of international human rights law and abuses against Africans and people of African descent in the United States of America and other parts of the world.”

The reason why Australia is playing down the motion and inquiry is because the US is “an open liberal democracy governed by the rule of law, and we [Australia] have confidence in their transparent justice systems to address these issues appropriately,” Australia’s representative said.. 

“In fact, the excuses made by Australia are illogical, hypocritical, and show the country’s double standards. The call for an independent inquiry on racial problems and police brutality in the US showed the global concerns over the problems and it will help deal with the problems,” Zhu Ying, deputy director of the National Human Rights Education and Training Base of Southwest University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times.

“‘Liberal democracy’ should not be used as a shield for human rights violations; no country should be exempt from reviewing its human rights,” Zhu said, adding that “Does Australia mean that developing countries that have some issues reviewed at the HRC have no open and transparent legal systems?”

Zhu said that what Australia has done is politicize the UN HRC meeting, slowing the UN’s efforts to solve racial problems in the US. “Racial issues in the US have become one stain on human rights history. The current situation, if not properly handled, will also become shameful,” he said. 

George Floyd’s brother also appeared via video-link at the UN HRC debate, calling for the inquiry.

The US has long been criticized by experts for using the poll-out of HRC to cover its domestic human rights violations. 

Since the US had withdrawn from the UN HRC in 2018, the delegate did not participate in the urgent debate. However, Australia’s efforts to suggest a compromise motion be voted on made it the US proxy and has been mocked by netizens. 

“Funny. Australia was so adamant on an investigation into China regarding COVID-19. But when it’s an investigation aimed at the US, they don’t support it, and even try and suppress it. The Morrison government is a joke,” one netizen named “Flux Mulder” commented. 

In May, Australia actively pushed for a so-called independent inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic on China. 

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday that Floyd's death had become emblematic of the excessive use of disproportionate force by law enforcement against people of African descent, people of color, indigenous people, and racial and ethnic minorities in countries across the globe.

We need decisive action across the world, not only to reform or re-imagine institutions and law enforcement agencies, but to address pervasive racism that corrodes institutions, entrenches inequality and underlies so many violations of human rights, said Bachelet.

Posted in: EYE ON WORLD

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