EDITORIAL - If they find abuses, can the UN really do anything?

The Freeman
EDITORIAL - If they find abuses, can the UN really do anything?

According to reports, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is set to visit the Xinjiang Region in China where abuses of the country’s Uighur minority have been reported for years.

While we have not seen events with our own eyes, various news sources as well as individual witnesses have told stories of how members of this mostly-Muslim minority have been rounded up and forced into “re-education camps” where they are made, forced, and coerced to abandon their culture, religion, and identity. Those who don’t cooperate with the program are never heard from again.

Is this the start of something new? While we do hope this means that the UN has finally decided enough is enough were the maltreatment of Uighurs is concerned, we are also not naïve. If China has agreed to let Bachelet visit then that means they must have sanitized the area in concern already.

Because the Chinese government said she is only there for a “friendly visit” and not a formal investigation of accusations brought up against them, it is also likely that they will be able to control where she goes and whom she talks to. There is no way the China Communist Party is letting anyone make them look bad.

But let’s say Bachelet does find her own way around and talks to the right people, the bigger question still remains: If human rights abuses are indeed found, what can the UN do to punish China for these or deter them from doing the same in the future?

Throughout the years critics have actually come to call the UN as a toothless enforcer when it comes to the richer member states of the international body.

We have seen how richer nations like Russia, China, and even the United States can get away with actions that quickly merited sanctions on lesser-powerful states.

How then does the UN expect to deal with China if the allegations of abduction, torture, brainwashing, and even murder of a certain demographic turn out to be true?


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