Reports that Russia & China oppose the candidacy of Ambassador Khan to be President of the UN Human Rights Council

Reports that Russia & China oppose the candidacy of Ambassador Khan to be President of the UN Human Rights Council

By Semi Turaga
Sunday 10/01/2021
Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan. [Image: reuters]

There are reports that Russia and China have opposed the candidacy of Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan to be the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Khan is Fiji's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

Reuters reports that diplomats and observers say Russia and China have opposed Khan as a candidate as she is a staunch human rights defender.

This has created a deadlock.

Diplomats told Reuters that the Human Rights Council presidency rotates annually between regions and is usually agreed by consensus, with any contests typically resolved quickly and cordially,

The impasse means the council, the only intergovernmental global body to promote and protect human rights worldwide, is set to resume work in Geneva next week with no leader for the first time in its 15-year history.

While its decisions are not legally binding, they carry political weight and can authorise probes into violations.

Marc Limon of the Universal Rights Group think-tank told Reuters that the infighting points to a high-stakes game where powers are seeking to the pre-emptively counter future influence of the United States, which could rejoin the body under President-elect Joe Biden.

Limon said neither China nor Russia want a human rights-friendly country to hold the presidency in a year where the U.S. will probably re-engage with the council.

Observers and two diplomats told Reuters that Russia, China and Saudi Arabia - sometimes acting through proxies - have opposed the selection of Fiji’s ambassador, Nazhat Shameem Khan, or thrown their weight behind other last-minute candidates.

Phil Lynch who is the Director of the International Service for Human Rights told Reuters that it’s understood that Saudi Arabia, China and Russia were all supportive of a Bahraini candidacy and opposed to a Fijian candidacy.

Ambassador Khan had backed probes into abuses in Belarus and Yemen last year.


Reuter reports Khan has not stepped aside and alternative candidates from Bahrain and Uzbekistan put forward since December have also faced opposition.

The President of the United Nations Human Rights Council has limited powers although some say the role has become increasingly political.

Reuters reports the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council does however appoint independent experts, such as the one who led an inquiry into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

[Source: Reuters]

Kiran calls for expanded legal outreach to rural communities
Legal officials have been urged to consider expanding their outreach efforts to rural areas, where educating rural populations on legal matters such a...
3 hours ago
Pacific Recycling Foundation condemns Police repression of Argentine Waste Pickers' peaceful protest
The Pacific Recycling Foundation has strongly condemned and stands in strong solidarity with the International Alliance of Waste Pickers regarding ...
1 hour ago

Cabinet approves framework for sustainable township development
The Cabinet has approved the development of a National Blue Town Framework for sustainable township development, including rural and regional areas ...
1 hour ago

Fiji Methodist Church celebrates 60 years of independence and 189 years of faith
Members of the Methodist Church in Fiji celebrated their 60th year of independence after splitting from the Australasia Methodist Church in ...
2 hours ago

Cabinet approves purchase of 14 PMV vehicles for peacekeeping missions
Cabinet has approved the execution of a Memorandum of Sale with the Australian Government for the acquisition of fourteen Protected Mobility Vehicles ...
3 hours ago

Taylor Swift grabs royal selfie at London gig
Taylor Swift grabbed a perfect royal selfie ahead of her Wembley gig - posing with the Prince of Wales and two young music fans, Prince George and ...
4 hours ago

fijivillage Straight Talk with Vijay Narayan
Latest Videos

Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
RFNS Puamau submergence on Fulaga Reef
No timeline has been given on how long the salvage operations for the RFNS Puamau will take as the Fiji Navy has started the de-fuelling process in Fulaga in a bid to safely salvage the vessel from the reef.
4 days ago

Crisis within FijiFirst relating to the termination of 17 MPs who voted for salary increases
A crisis has erupted within the FijiFirst party relating to the termination of 17 members of parliament who supported the government's motion to ...
9 days ago

Pre-Budget 2024-2025
Pre Budget 2024-2025 budget recommendations and an insight of what people on the ground wish to see in the National Budget
11 days ago