The United Nations secretary-general on Monday accused white extremist and neo-Nazi movements of using the pandemic and social divisions to grow. It calls for concerted action on a global scale.
White supremacists and neo-Nazis are becoming an international threat, according to the UN chief. At the start of the Human Rights Council, Antonio Guterres on Monday called for global action against them. Focused on Xinjiang, China has tried to defend itself.
Less than two months after the assault on Capitol Hill in the United States, the UN secretary-general accused white extremist and neo-Nazi movements of using the pandemic and social and political divisions to expand. These constitute “the greatest threat to the internal security of several countries”, he said, without naming any of these states.
“All too often, these hate groups are encouraged by people in positions of responsibility,” he added. There too, he did not mention anyone, especially not former US President Donald Trump, accused of having fueled recent violence in his country.
And Antonio Guterres to target fundraising, online discussions and collaboration between these movements. “It is only through concerted action on a global scale that we can put an end to this threat” which is spreading “day by day”, he adds.
Systemic racism must again be discussed in the Council, whose month-long online meeting is being piloted from Geneva and which promises to be more polarized than ever. In addition to the American re-engagement as an observer, China, Russia, France and Great Britain are making their return among the members of the body.
Beijing targeted by London
From Monday, tensions were observed, especially with regard to Beijing. The British foreign minister denounced torture and violations “in industrial dimensions” against Uyghurs.
Over a million members of the Muslim minority are interned in Xinjiang. Later, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi denounced “political inclinations”. According to him, these are very “distant” from the situation in this region.
The United States has not been spared. While Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due to speak on Wednesday, his Palestinian counterpart Riad al-Malki accused them, without naming them, of “fighting against human rights”.
He accuses them of wanting to put an end to the permanent discussions against Israel in the Council, one of the demands that had pushed Donald Trump’s administration to no longer collaborate with the body.
In addition to his appeal on the supremacists, Antonio Guterres repeated, as he had done on several occasions, his injunctions to the Burmese soldiers not to resort to violence. He called on those responsible for the coup to “immediately stop the crackdown” and release the detainees.
Request launched by Bachelet
A few days ago, the Human Rights Council “deplored” the situation in Burma at the end of a special session and asked to release in particular the head of the ousted government Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. This country will still be approached by the body in the coming weeks.
Antonio Guterres also called for putting human rights at the center of regulations and legislation on digital technologies. According to him, the pandemic has spread concern over digital platforms and the “misuse of data” by citizens, including governments.
More broadly, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who is due to reveal to the Council on Thursday afternoon the situations that worry her, once again denounced the use of the current crisis by States to restrict freedoms.
“The use of force will not end this pandemic,” said Michelle Bachelet. On the Swiss side, Federal Councilor Ignazio Cassis warned about the effects of the coronavirus on efforts for sustainable development.
Besides Burma, among the situations that will be discussed, Sri Lanka should give rise to important discussions. After a damning report by Michelle Bachelet on the obstacles to the fight against impunity shown by the new government, calls for “more robust” surveillance of this country have multiplied.
A difficult vote is to be expected regardless of the content of the resolution, according to corroborating sources. The civil war, which ended more than ten years ago, has claimed more than 100,000 victims.
On the system side, the Council’s online format does not satisfy all members. For the first time, the votes will take place with a digital platform. The UN is working on this device.
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