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14 october 2020

— China, Cuba, and Russia “were elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday, despite opposition from activist groups over their human rights records, but Saudi Arabia failed in its bid to win a seat,” Deutsche Welle reports. Candidates are elected “by secret ballot in geographical groups to ensure even representation. The Asia-Pacific group, which included Saudi Arabia, saw five candidates vying for four seats. As a result of the ballot, made by the 193-member body, Pakistan received 169 votes, Uzbekistan 164, Nepal 150, China 139 and Saudi Arabia just 90 votes.” Elected to the Council were Bolivia, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, France, Gabon, Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan.

Human Rights Watch China Director Sophie Richardson comments, “Today, the Chinese government, which is responsible for industrial-scale human rights violations, including the arbitrary detention of a million Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang and the deaths in custody of peaceful critics, such as 2010 Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, was re-elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council. But with only 139 votes — a loss of 41 UN member states from its previous tally. … Vocal opposition to the Chinese government’s appalling human rights violations is also growing in other UN forums. In October 2019, 23 governments blasted China over its abuses in Xinjiang at the General Assembly’s Third Committee; a year later that figure has risen to 40 and the substance broadened to address concerns about Hong Kong and Tibet.”

— Soren Ambrose writes at openDemocracy, “At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the [International Monetary Fund’s] economic forecasts and warnings that the pandemic could trigger a global recession on a scale not seen since the Great Depression, prompted governments to act,” promising debt relief “for the poorest countries. … But it didn’t take long for the IMF to return to its usual profile as a relentless purveyor of austerity economics for developing countries. … Perhaps it is time to find a way for global agencies other than the IMF, such as UN Conference on Trade and Development or the UN Development Program, whose mandate goes beyond maintaining a particular definition of economic rigor to valuing development and global welfare, to take a more active, even a leading, role in devising financial recovery plans for developing countries.”

— Democracy Without Borders invites supporters to join the Global Week of Action October 16-25 to “support the urgent call for the establishment of a world parliament that will give representation and political power to all world citizens.”

— Citizens for Global Solutions will hold its annual convention virtually via Zoom November 18-20. Details will follow on the CGS website.

— In an editorial, the Minneapolis Star Tribune lauds the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations World Food Program, writing that “the cascading global governance, health, economic and environmental crises have exacerbated the food crisis.” The Star Tribune calls the selection “timely, and worthy, to be sure. As the WFP itself has stated, ‘Until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against the chaos.'”

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