Published On: Wed, Apr 17th, 2024

Whistleblower alleges ‘dangerous favours’ to China in UN report on Covid-19

New Delhi: A former employee of the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Emma Reilly, has levelled serious allegations against the organisation.

China reportedly issued an Interpol red notice against an NGO delegate

Reilly claimed that the OHCHR has been granting “dangerous favours” to the Chinese government, which she believes are part of China’s broader strategy to use the UN for its national interests.

The written evidence was published by the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. The evidence was submitted to it as part of its inquiry into international relations in the multilateral system. The Committee’s inquiry focuses on how countries engage with multilateral organizations, whether through influencing them, working around them, or obstructing them.

Reilly’s allegation includes charges of two UN General Assembly presidents being bribed by China, harassment of NGO delegates by China, and editing of a UN report on Covid-19.

These presidents “ultimately oversaw the process and had significant influence over the final texts put to the Assembly”, the evidence mentions.

In one of the posts on X, Reilly also tagged Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN, and said he “fought hard” to keep quiet. “He knew he was breaking his own rules when he fired me – his Ethics tsar told him so,” she wrote.

Additionally, Reilly claims that China imposed a secret condition on UN agencies, stipulating that funds provided by China cannot be spent in countries that have diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

According to Reilly, the Chief of the Human Rights Council Branch in OHCHR, a French national, was secretly sharing advance information with China about human rights activists planning to attend the Human Rights Council.

“UN officials at all levels deliberately lied to member states, including the UK delegation, who enquired about the UN policy of handing names — including of UK citizens and residents — to the PRC (People’s Republic of China) without their knowledge or consent”.

Reilly’s evidence included chilling accounts of the consequences allegedly faced by NGO delegates whose names were shared with China in advance by the UN Secretariat. These delegates reported harassment, arbitrary arrests, house arrests, disappearances, torture, and in some cases, death of family members in detention.

One delegate, who attended only a side event, later returned to China and died in detention, Reilly claimed.

Additionally, China reportedly issued an Interpol red notice against an NGO delegate.

Reilly alleged that reports from both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the origins of Covid-19 were edited to downplay the possibility of a laboratory leak.

Reilly’s evidence was submitted before the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, which held its first evidence session in the inquiry on April 16.

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