US continually weaponizes human rights to coerce developing countries, meeting growing resistance


Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva Photo: VCG

Using human rights topics to attack developing countries, forming petty circles to smear countries with different systems, spreading baseless rumors or even starting wars under the disguise of counter-terrorism efforts… such maneuvers have often been used by the United States and some other Western countries.

With the start of the 51st regular session of the Human Rights Council on September 12, a number of Western countries led by the United States have stepped up their efforts to push such a “battle” against developing countries. The fierce hype by the United States and some Western forces on matters concerning China’s Xinjiang region is just the latest example of human rights being used as a weapon to slander China and other countries. in development. Global Times reporters interviewed Chinese and foreign scholars on how developing countries might respond.

American attack strategy

The weaponization of human rights is a tradition in the United States, and the annual publication of National Reports on Human Rights Practices by the US Department of State has been criticized by analysts as an attempt to wield this stick.

For example, to cooperate with slandering China’s policies in its Xinjiang region, the US State Department not only listed China as a “country of particular concern” in its 2020 International Religious Freedom Report, but also attacked China’s religious policies in Xinjiang, Xizang and other regions.

Besides China, 13 other countries, including Myanmar, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, India and Russia, have also been listed as countries of “particular concern”; meanwhile, 15 countries, including Cuba, Nicaragua, Sudan, Egypt and Kazakhstan, have been listed as “special observation” countries.

US human rights reports have been criticized by many countries, and analysts have pointed out that these reports target developing countries while deliberately overlooking issues such as racism in Western countries.

The dozens of countries listed as “of particular concern” or under special observation in the US report showed that the United States continues to attack countries that do not share its ideology, political system and religion. Instead of really caring about the human rights situation in other countries, the United States just wants to contain those countries by setting the human rights agenda, said He Zhipeng, a professor of international law at the Faculty of Law of Jilin University, at Global Times.

Coordinating nongovernmental organizations, the media and think tanks to create buzz on human rights issues is also part of the tactics used by the United States and its Western allies, and in recent years such cheats have also been updated, he said.

When launching a “human rights battle” against a country, NGOs have been used as vanguards, and the media and think tanks have become amplifiers for the US government. And when laying siege to a certain country, the United States would draw its allies into the countryside and expand the attack on wider platforms, he said, noting that one example is America’s “democracy pinnacle”.

In December 2021, US President Joe Biden held the Democracy Summit, but analysts said Washington had just exposed the geopolitical goal of the US since it was a small clique and the United States does not dare to invite many countries that have political systems different from its own.

Unilateral US sanctions against other countries based on baseless accusations of human rights issues will also harm US and Western interests, he said.

For example, the United States has banned imports from China’s Xinjiang region citing concerns about the alleged problem of forced labor. Transnational corporations and many U.S. businesses have expressed growing concern over such a move given its negative impact on the stability of global supply chains.

In addition to imposing pressure from outside, the United States and some Western forces also cultivate and induce pro-American forces inside the target countries, especially among the elites, to discuss and promote of human rights issues, to challenge the judicial systems of these countries and to force NGOs to attack local governments, said Zhang Yonghe, professor and executive dean of the Human Rights Institution of Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing.

People dance to celebrate the grape harvest in Alaer, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, September 9, 2022. Photo: VCG

People dance to celebrate the grape harvest in Alaer, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, September 9, 2022. Photo: VCG

fight together

Human rights subjects are not only used by the United States to attack “rival” countries, it also uses them as bargaining chips to serve its foreign policy agenda, analysts have said.

A source in the Philippines close to former President Rodrigo Duterte told the Global Times that the former leader used to say privately that he would never go to the United States and one of the reasons is that the International Criminal Court, which is dominated by the United States, has authorized an investigation into “human rights abuses” in Duterte’s war on drugs.

The United States and the West have never ceased to criticize Duterte’s drug campaign. In 2016, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a US government aid agency, said it “deferred a vote on re-selection of the Philippines” for development, “subject to further consideration of concerns about the state rights and civil liberties”. Duterte slammed US critics and said “don’t berate me like I’m your boy”, adding that if a country is against its policies, they should go to the UN and complain.

Attacking other countries on human rights issues has always been a weapon of the United States in its foreign policy to stand on moral ground and coerce the governments of developing countries. Despite American criticism, the Philippines has largely supported Duterte’s anti-drug measures and his approval rating reached 70% before his resignation, according to Anna Malindog-Uy, an international relations expert from the Philippines.

Malindog-Uy told the Global Times that topics on “human rights” and “corruption” are also the main tools the US-influenced media has used to attack incumbent Philippine President Ferdinand. Romualdez Marcos Jr during the election campaign, but Marcos Jr still won. It also shows that attempts by the United States to exaggerate human rights issues in the Philippines have had little success with the population.

Moreover, in recent years the international community has become more aware that the “human rights” demanded by the United States and the West do not correspond to the interests of most other countries, Malindog said. -Uy.

Moreover, to counter the hypocritical human rights maneuvers of the United States and the West, China and other developing countries should improve human rights communications and mainstream development , security and other factors into the criteria of human rights to form a comprehensive concept of human rights, the experts said.

Besides Asian countries, experts from other parts of the world, especially the Middle East, have also expressed their opposition to the politicization of human rights issues by the United States and the West.

The human rights “war” has become one of the main means the West uses to counter developing countries in order to maintain its hegemony, Muhammad Basley, Tunisia’s former ambassador to China, told the Global Times. . “We shouldn’t be led by the United States and the West, and should develop our own strategy and our own plans,” Basley said.

Basley suggested that developing countries and their media should fully expose US actions and take effective countermeasures.

In the face of interference and coercion from US and Western forces, more countries have worked together to oppose such attacks and attempt to broaden the concept of human rights.

Recent sessions of the Human Rights Council have seen China and other developing countries issue joint statements to support each other on issues related to their core interests amid criticism from the US and the EU. West. They also called on the Human Rights Council and the UN to uphold genuine multilateralism and resist hegemonic pressure from the United States.

Zhang, from the Southwest University of Political Science and Law, said the international community should also call for a thorough investigation of crimes such as wars and invasions committed by the United States and some Western countries. .

Additionally, while gratuitously blaming other countries, the United States itself has serious issues such as racism and its government’s failure to deal with COVID-19. The UK, Canada, Australia and other Western countries also have serious stains on their human rights record. All of this needs to be exposed, Zhang said.

Developing countries can also actively participate in setting international rules and agenda in the field of human rights, as well as expanding communication based on mutual respect, Zhang said, noting that the promotion of international dialogues on human rights between developing countries can also help to promote human rights at the international level. pursuit.


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