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Whistleblower Alleges UN Cover-Up Of “Special Favours” To China: Report

Former Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) employee Emma Reilly has levelled serious accusations against the United Nations, alleging a disturbing nexus between the OHCHR and the Chinese government.

The UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has published written evidence received as part of its inquiry into international relations in the multilateral system.

Reilly, acting as a whistleblower, claimed that the OHCHR has been providing “dangerous ‘favours'” are “being rendered by OHCHR to the Chinese government” and “these favours fall into a broader effort of the Chinese government to instrumentalize the UN to serve its national interests”. Her evidence alleges a “UN cover-up of special favours for China,” informed UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in a press release.

Reilly alleged that “during the two-year negotiation of the Sustainable Development Goals” that “Beijing paid bribes to the two successive Presidents of the General Assembly who ultimately oversaw the process and had significant influence over the final texts put to the Assembly”. Her evidence alleges that China “imposes a secret conditionality across UN agencies that the monies so provided may not be spent in states with diplomatic relations with Taiwan”.

Her written evidence includes allegations that “the Chief of the Human Rights Council Branch in OHCHR, a French national, was secretly providing China with advance information on which human rights activists planned to attend the Human Rights Council”. It alleges that “UN officials at all levels deliberately lied to member states, including the UK delegation, who enquired about the UN policy of handing names – including of UK citizens and residents – to the PRC without their knowledge or consent,” the release added.

Her evidence alleges that “in cases where China was provided with names of NGO delegates in advance by the UN Secretariat, the delegates have reported that family members were visited by Chinese police, forced to phone them to tell them to stop their advocacy, arbitrarily arrested, placed under house arrest for the period of the meeting, disappeared, sentenced to long prison terms without cause, tortured, or, as regards Uyghurs, put in concentration camps”.

She alleges that “in some cases, their family members died in detention. In at least one case, a person named on China’s list, who attended only a side event, later returned to China and died in detention”. She alleges that “in at least one case, the Chinese government issued an Interpol red notice against an NGO delegate,” it also said.

Reilly alleges that “self-censorship extends to the Secretary-General… [who] stated that any resolution of my case would be ‘difficult,’ expressly due to the fact the favours I reported were accorded to the PRC.”

The evidence includes allegations that “reports of both the WHO and [United Nations Environment Programme] UNEP on the origins of Covid were edited to reduce references to the possibility of a laboratory leak”.

The evidence also includes a submission from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The FCDO’s evidence says that China is working to “shape the multilateral system to align more with a state-centric, authoritarian world view,” the release said.

On Russia, the FCDO says that Russia “plays a mostly disruptive role across the multilateral system”. Discussing the engagement of isolated countries with the multilateral system, the FCDO says that “Iran uses its position within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to disrupt and push back against complying with its legal obligations, and often runs in multilateral elections”.

Organisations such as the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation, China Strategic Risks Institute, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, Hong Kong Watch, the Foreign Policy Centre and the Council on Geostrategy have submitted evidence, as well as individual experts and academics, such as Bill Browder.

At 14:00 on April 16 the Foreign Affairs Committee held its first evidence session in this inquiry, hearing from whistleblower Reilly and other expert witnesses, including Lord Malloch-Brown.

The Committee’s inquiry into international relations in the multilateral system looks at how a broad range of countries are using multilateral organizations, be that through engaging and influencing, working around them or obstruction.

It follows on from the Committee’s report “In the room: the UK’s role in multilateral diplomacy” which concluded that autocratic states were attempting to aggressively co-opt strategically important multilateral organization’s and to fundamentally redefine their founding principles, according to the release.

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(Source: NDTV)

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