“United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been shamefully silent on China’s poor human rights record and its unjustified imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo” (Ban Pulls His Punches, IHT).
The report “Ban Pulls His Punches” (November 6, 2010): given his less-than-impressive performance over the years, one wonders if Secretary General Ban Ki-moon genuinely comprehended the role of the United Nations (UN) – and his corresponding duties – when he was elected in 2007. Besides his recent refusal to nudge China to honour her commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he has failed to provide the moral imperative for member states to work collectively. From his resonating silence on issues in Myanmar and Sri Lanka et cetera to the stalled progress with the Millennium Development Goals, Mr. Ban needs to be held accountable.
What the world needs is a Secretary-General who treads skilfully between conflict and cooperation: one who is not afraid to condemn and act upon senseless acts of violence, and also seek to strike equilibrium between stakeholders on sensitive issues et cetera. Mr. Ban’s dismal report card pales in comparison to Dag Hammarskjold, who was staunch in his dealings with the Cold War superpowers and a passionate human rights advocate, also famously commented that “freedom from fear could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights”. That rugged resolve is something that Mr. Ban has yet to display.
Mr. Ban needs to be cognisant that his roles and responsibilities go far beyond his personal pragmatic desire to be re-elected for a second term. If his diplomatic efforts in the weeks to come are merely to pander to the superpowers for a successful bid, then the United Nations deserves someone better to uphold its principles and ideals of global peace, prosperity, and proper respect of human rights.