Volker Türk Must Release Data on Human Rights Work
It is essential for the UN Human Rights office to release data about the effectiveness of its work so that its performance could be measured empirically.
By Rakesh Raman
A United Nations (UN) human rights expert urged Russia in June 2023 to drop criminal charges against Oleg Orlov, a human rights defender and one of the leaders of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization “Memorial”.
Earlier, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, asked Iran to stop illegal executions of protesters. He also expressed concern at persecution of judicial officials in Guatemala, besides expressing his dismay at death sentences by military courts in Myanmar.
These are among the multiple examples of casual statements issued carelessly by Türk, UN Human Rights office, and the so-called UN human rights experts. In addition to these meaningless statements, the UN Human Rights office releases myriad reports on human rights situations, conducts visits in different countries, and holds extravagant events in different parts of the world.
Shockingly, however, the UN Human Rights office never releases information on the impact of its ostentatious activities on the people who are being harassed everywhere.
For example, the UN Human Rights office never informs if the authoritarian regimes have accepted its statements and appeals to protect the human rights of persecuted communities. Thus, the UN office is working in an opaque manner and squandering huge money on the comforts of its bureaucrats including Türk.
In May 2023, Türk even announced to double the office budget so that a UN Human Rights office could be established everywhere. While Türk is already wasting massive money to run the bureaucratic outfit, he did not elaborate how he would measure the impact of his work.
Although the entire UN system has gone defunct, the UN Human Rights office is the most notorious department that has repeatedly failed to discharge its responsibilities.
It has been seen that all UN Human Rights chiefs only perform some perfunctory jobs, but they never protect human rights of people who are being persecuted in different parts of the world.
In particular, Türk has deliberately turned a blind eye to the human rights violations happening right under his nose. Since Türk is an unqualified bureaucrat, in April 2023 I had urged him to resign from his position. But he has not yet resigned because he wants to enjoy the luxuries that come with his job.
I have argued in my appeal that the UN human rights system cannot save the rights or lives of the victims of violations and other crimes perpetrated by cruel authorities in different countries such as Belarus, China, India, Israel, Myanmar, Russia, Syria, and countless other despotic nations.
Since no key result area (KRA) has been defined for Türk and other officials in his office, they never release data of the people who get relief from their work. Actually, they are not doing any effective work except releasing statements in rigid templates.
As blatant human rights violations are happening, the autocratic authorities are arbitrarily incarcerating or killing human rights defenders and peaceful protesters who raise their voice against the state crimes in their countries.
The UN Human Rights office under Türk has been issuing useless statements, but it could not get jailed dissenters released. They include Alexei Navalny and Vladimir Kara-Murza in Russia, Nobel Peace Prize winner Ales Bialiatski in Belarus, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, and thousands of other peaceful protesters who are languishing in jails of different autocratic nations.
The Special Rapporteurs – who are part of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council – are also some naive functionaries who do not fully understand the human rights work.
Like UN Human Rights chiefs, they also keep releasing irrelevant statements and reports mechanically without knowing the effect of their redundant activities.
In these circumstances, it is essential for the UN Human Rights office to release data about the effectiveness of its work so that its performance could be measured empirically.
The data should have one-to-one correspondence with each appeal to an authoritarian regime that the UN Human Rights office makes and the outcome of the appeal in terms of relief to the oppressed people.
The UN Human Rights office should make a dedicated web compendium on which the casewise information about its work and its measurable impact should be publicly available.
Moreover, the UN Human Rights office should make a simple online system on which the aggrieved people whose rights are being violated could file their complaints and these complaints should openly appear on the system.
If the UN Human Rights office cannot take these reformatory steps and cannot reveal the impact of its work explicitly, it has no right to exist. In that case, the UN Human Rights office should be shuttered immediately.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of the humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.