A high ranking United Nations (UN) official, Emma Reilly, talked to The Sunday Guardian and stated that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), a UN arm of considerable importance, has been revealing the names of Chinese activists and dissenters to the Chinese government. These individuals had intended to defect from China and present key evidence and witness accounts implicating China in the UN.
The UN Charter strictly prohibits any UN entity from exposing the identities of persons planning to testify against their country in regards to civil abuses. This creates the possibility of a particular country threatening the whistleblower and their known relations.
The Sunday Guardian has managed to acquire authentic communications proving that the OHCHR had been giving the names of Chinese dissenters to Chinese officials at the UN.
One of these transmissions reveals that the chief of the Human Rights Council at OHCHR, Eric Tistounet, responded to Reilly’s concerns regarding the privacy of the Chinese testifiers on 11 February 2013, by saying that sharing this information with the Chinese officials belatedly could result in increased mistrust from the Chinese government.
Here’s the communication:
I was briefed by Emma on your meeting with the Chinese delegation. As far as I am concerned, the matter is plain. The Chinese delegation will send us the usual note concerning those individuals who have been or will be accredited to the session. To do this, they need to get a confirmation of the presence of one or more of the listed individuals during HRC12. Since the list of participants to a UN public meeting is by definition public, there is not much we can do to resist their inquiry. The best we can do is delay by a few days (until 25 February) the confirmation of those present in March, but this will amount to nothing and will exacerbate the Chinese mistrust against us. We’ll have more leeway at a later stage and we all know that security will eventually authorize the NGOs participants to attend the session. Finally, I would like to add that I would find it appropriate for the NGO concerned to be informed about the Chinese request…. transparency goes both ways.
An email sent on 1 February 2013 by Yang Chuanhui, Third Secretary (Human Rights), Permanent Mission of China to Lidiya Grigoreva, the liaison officer at OHCHR, reads:
This is to ask you about whether any person I listed last time have applied for accreditation to the 22nd session of the Council. I hope you can update me as soon as possible. Thanks!
Chinese official Yang was inquiring about the identities of 13 Chinese activists who, as per China, were going to testify against their country. Out of the 13 Chinese dissenters, one is a well-known Buddhist cleric.
The Sunday Guardian has decided to announce some of the names of the 13 whistleblowers that have already been released publicly. The names are Asgar Cen, Dolkun Isa, He Geng, Jianli Yang and Rebiya Kadeer.