Watchdog slams UN, EU`s human rights `cowardice`

The UN and EU stand accused of "cowardice" for claiming to tackle human rights abuses.

Brussels: The UN and EU stand accused of
"cowardice" for claiming to tackle human rights abuses in
places like China through soft diplomacy, Human Rights Watch
said in its annual report on Monday.

Highlighting its claim, the report on global human rights
violations was issued in Brussels the same day the European
Union hosted controversial Uzbek President Islam Karimov amid
protests.

The New York-based NGO`s executive director Kenneth Roth
lambasted "the failure of the expected champions of human
rights to respond" to violations in 100-plus regimes.

In his eyes, the fundamental error made by United Nations
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others is to place the focus
on discreet cooperation, a euphemism for "other interests at
stake."

Roth cites a "tepid" response to repression in Myanmar,
noting that the release of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi in
November 23 was not matched on 2,100 other political
prisoners.

The UN was criticised for adopting a "deferential"
attitude towards Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and
Sudan leader Omar al-Bashir, with Ban said to have placed
"undue faith" in his gentle approach.

The EU`s top diplomat, much-criticised English baroness
Catherine Ashton, is said to hide behind an "obsequious
approach to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan" where energy
interests dominate trade and political ties.

There is "absolutely no question of trading off one
interest in exchange for the other," said a spokeswoman for EU
commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, who met with Uzbek
President Islam Karimov although neither faced questions.

"Near-universal cowardice" marked challenges to China`s
"deepening crackdown on basic liberties," with huge
investments -- whether in African natural resources or western
public debt -- ensuring silence is preferred.

PTI