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Report: The Role of NGOs at UNHRC Evaluated: Revealing Fake News and Unethical Reporting on UNHRC

In a new report, International United Nations Watch revealed fake news and unethical reporting on UNHRC on the Middle East.

Introduction

In April 2006, the United Nations General Assembly approved establishing the United Nations Human Rights Council.[1] This move left a remarkable impact on the situation and work of human rights defenders across the globe, with non-state as well as state-actors being heavily involved in reporting the situation of human rights across the globe. This involvement has improved the situation of human rights globally in a great manner. People, NGOs, states and international organisations have used the platforms of UNHRC in a way that contributed to the benefit of human rights defenders and records everywhere, decreasing human rights violations.

Based on its founding principles, the UNHRC emphasises its three pillars: peace, development and human rights. The notions of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity should guide the work of the new Human Rights Council as opposed to the Commission on Human Rights, the UN body that preceded it.[2] Therefore, it is the core of the UN work to maintain integrity, honesty, transparency and accountability, including bringing states and NGOs funded by states that violate the principles of the UN to account.

As for NGOs operating at the UNHRC, a code of conduct has been set in place for NGOs to use when operating there. Despite the remarkable efforts made by many of these NGOs to improve the situation of human rights especially in conflict zones, a group of states, which mostly lack democratic governments and ironically do not provide the space or freedom to allow such NGOs to operate on their own soil, began operating at the UNHRC, spreading toxic messages and defaming the work of many credible NGOs.

 This situation requires the UNHRC’s High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to take prompt action to protect NGOs working there. In fact, the credibility of UNHRC is being threatened by allowing these NGOs from working there as there is a huge difference between defending human rights and opening serious discussions about the situation of human rights for the purpose of making it better and spreading propaganda advanced by countries that know too little about human rights and democratic values, let alone having very bad human rights records.

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[1] Hug, Simon. “Targets and Perpetrators: Resolutions and Voting in the UNCHR and UNHRC.” In presentation at the International Studies Association Conference, Toronto, March. 2014.

[2] Tolley Jr, Howard. The UN commission on human rights. Routledge, 2019.