Exposing the double standards of the United Nations

There were two reports in the media today that go to show how the United Nations is employing double standards in its commenting on migrant flows.

The first report in The Guardian (15.11.2017) has the headline: EU’s policy of helping Libya intercept migrants is “inhuman”, says UN.

“The suffering of migrants detained in Libya is an outrage to the conscience of humanity,” said the UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, in a statement issued on Tuesday. “The European Union’s policy of assisting the Libyan coastguard to intercept and return migrants in the Mediterranean [is] inhuman.

And goes on to describe the conditions of the migrants:

Hussein said UN staff members had visited four DCIM facilities earlier this month and were shocked by what they saw. “[There were] thousands of emaciated and traumatised men, women and children piled on top of each other, locked up in hangars with no access to the most basic necessities, and stripped of their human dignity,” he said.

People including children described horrific beatings by guards at detention centres, while many women said they faced rape and other sexual violence at the hands of smugglers and guards.

One woman told UN staff she was gang-raped by three men, including a DCIM guard, while another woman said four armed men had gang-raped her during her journey, when she was pregnant. “I bled profusely, and I think I lost the baby. I haven’t seen a doctor yet,” she said.

The UN urged Libyan authorities to take concrete steps to halt violations and abuses in the detention centres, and stop detaining migrants.

“The increasing interventions of the EU and its member states have done nothing so far to reduce the level of abuses suffered by migrants,” Hussein said, adding that instead, there appeared to be a “fast deterioration in their situation in Libya”.

Now, what does the UN expect the EU to do – simply allow all the illegal economic migrants to travel into Europe and to be supported by European tax payers? And, also why is this an EU problem rather than an African problem – shouldn’t the African states, or even better the African Union be coordinating to stop the people traffickers who are the people that are exacerbating and benefiting financially from this situation?

The second report from CNN has the headline: North Korean defector begs China to free wife and young son

Mr Lee fled North Korea and now lives in South Korea, but his wife and four-year-old son have been detained by the Chinese authorities and he is begging them to release his family.

“I called them and they said they were captured, they were in handcuffs. I heard their urgent voices and then the line went dead.” He has heard nothing since and is now unsure of their exact whereabouts.

And what is China’s policy to North Korean refugees?

China does not consider those escaping North Korea to be refugees, labeling them instead as “illegal economic migrants.” Under such a policy they are routinely sent back to North Korea where they are met with almost certain punishment.
China’s foreign ministry said last week it was unaware of the 10 defectors arrested, “China consistently upholds the handling of such matters in accordance with domestic and international law and humanitarian principles.”

According to Reverend Kim Seung-eun, a South Korean pastor who has helped people escape:

“China who talks about human rights, have erected fences along the Tumen and Yalu rivers to arrest defectors,”

And Lee says those who plan to go to South Korea rather than settle in China are punished more harshly by North Korea.
“We call those people “express.” My wife is “express,” if she were sent back to North Korea, her punishment will be worse, being sent to the political camps would be the minimum.”
Now, why is the UN not raising this issue – perhaps it does not have such attention-grabbing headlines or they are afraid to criticise China? China’s policy is to return refugees back to North Korea, even though South Korea has said it will take them. If a refugee is put into a prison camp, the CNN report states that most are only likely to survive for three years before they die from the harsh conditions and starvation.
So, double standards are at work here by the UN and this needs to be addressed.

 

Links:

Guardian article

CNN video/article

 

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