UNHRC, the Fastrack of Success Clouded by Hypocrisy

The Nation

The first session of the United Nations Human Right Council commenced on Friday, October 30, 2020 to discuss the agenda- ‘Human Rights Violations Caused by Caste Discrimination.’ Discussions began with an unmoderated caucus to allow blocs and alliances to be formed. The delegate of United Kingdom got the ball rolling to discuss human rights violations, in connection to Islamophobia, in various parts of the world. The delegate of Pakistan was a very influential and vocal member, seeing as he was not afraid to mention past mistakes and join blocs to mitigate injustice faced by all different kinds of Muslims around the world.

The delegate of the United Kingdom offered a helping hand to all countries facing issues with the caste system, while quoting a sustainable development goal. “The caste system should be abolished by 2030, and the UK aims to take major steps to help eliminate the caste system in countries in Asia and Africa.” However, doubts have been raised regarding the sincerity of this statement, as British prime minister, Boris Johnson made Islamophobic comments targeting the appearance of Muslim women. Due to this, the statement can be interpreted as an attempt of repairing ties caused by the prime minister’s statement.

The delegate of France was also involved in a similar dispute with the delegate of Saudi Arabia questioning the integrity of the delegate of France’s comments regarding caste-based violence in Asian Countries. This was a result of comic strips in a newspaper targeting the Islamic religion, wherein the French President Emmanuel Macaron making remarks saying, “Islam is a religion that is in crisis today all over the world” and “plagued by radical temptations”. Hence, leading to a French Boycott within Muslims, and the questioning by the delegates of Islamic states was responded only by “France believes in freedom of speech, so the artist is allowed to share their views without reprimand for a reason”.

Except for Islamophobia, discussions of caste system and its exploitation has continued productively, with Islamic States and United Kingdom being at the forefront of the discussions. Thus, proving how a call for unity by a powerful nation like Pakistan can affect democratic discussions in various committees.


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