Do Human Rights Restrictions At Home Undermine China’s Role At the UN?

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Chinese Ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun

This post is co-published on China Law and Policy

A few weeks ago – it feels like longer, given the COVID-19 crisis – I sat in a studio at the UN in Geneva with BBC journalist Imogen Foulkes, Sarah Brooks (ISHR) and Daniel Warner for a great chat about China at the United Nations. You can hear the conversation here .

Foulkes asked the panel: After years of marginalization, China is exercising growing influence at the UN, increasing its UN spending and heading five UN agencies. But what does China’s commitment to multilateralism mean in practice? Continue reading

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Inside Geneva: The United Nations and China

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Right before everything got cancelled due to the COVID19 outbreak, I joined a panel of experts on the Inside Geneva podcast to discuss China’s changing role at the UN. With the US taking a step back from multilateral engagement, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has pledged that China will step forward – but what has happened in practice? We explored this in relation to health, human rights and other areas.

The picture is changing rapidly today, with the US fumbling to respond to a rapidly escalating coronavirus outbreak, and China offering aid and supplies to many countries. But here’s what we thought two weeks ago.

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The Uncounted: Pre-order the hardcover

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The Uncounted: Politics of Data in Global Health is now available for pre-order in hardcover edition – it comes out in June. Please share with your library.

There will be an e-book too, and a paperback eventually, as well as public events.

More updates to follow soon.

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Interview: Meet the course coordinator

CERAH-Genève (Geneva Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action) organized a lovely interview that explores how I got into working on human rights in China, the “white savior complex” challenge facing humanitarian organizations today, and the short course for managers on sexual violence in conflicts and emergencies which I offer at CERAH. Read more here.

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A democracy deficit in digital health?

PERCo_CL15_biometric_controllerFrom Health and Human Rights, January 16, 2020

By Sara L. M. Davis, Kenechukwu Esom, Rico Gustav, Allan Maleche, and Mike Podmore

In 1994, when Health and Human Rights was launched by editor Jonathan Mann, it appeared-in print-in a very different world: one in which the internet had just been created, and could only be accessed through dial-up telephone lines paid for by the minute; cell phones were heavy, clunky, and unaffordable for most. Our thinking about health and human rights, formed before the digital age, must now advance to keep pace with its new risks and opportunities. Continue reading

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Last Stage of the Winter Road: Tromsø to Kuusamo

As the dog sled slashed across deep snow, young Inuit men and women raced alongside, jumping on and off the sleds, hooting and laughing, teasing one another in the blinding white plain. I watched from beside a wood fire, and wondered: aren’t they COLD? They were on a screen in the town square of Tromsø, Norway, a glowing town above the Arctic Circle. This Inuit-directed film, “One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk”, was opening the Tromsø International Film Festival. Standing in a light snowfall before that screen, hot coffee cup in hand, I began to sense the cleansing power of snow and fire. Continue reading

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Winter Road: Solo female traveler of a certain age

“It’s medicinal!” said the young gold-haired woman working the bar in an 800-year-old cavern. Pulling out a case with heavy goblets lying on blue velvet, she poured out shots of a thick, dark liqueur. The goblet was cool and heavy in the hand, and the liqueur tasted of berries, seeds and winter night. Welcome to Riga: fourth stop on the road from London to Finland.

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Winter Road: Rotterdam to Vilnius

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Moving across the northern coast of Europe in winter, some evil old ghosts rise up from the frost-blasted landscape – but also new art, music, and the first sparks of the new year.

My ship from England lands in Rotterdam at the end of December. I roam around new architecture in the old working sea port. A sweep of new bridges tower over Hotel New York, where thousands of Dutch immigrants once set sail for New York. In World War Two, the Nazis razed Rotterdam. Today, spiky new buildings sprout up, preening over empty streets.

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The Winter Road: Harwich to Hook of Holland

IMG_7983I’m typing this seated by a floor-to-ceiling porthole on the Stena Brittanica ship. Outside it’s dark, yellow and red lights scattered across a vast blackness. Inside, it’s all fake wood paneling, 60s-style swivel chairs, a pulsing TV screen, and a sea of cheerful, mostly white, Netherlands families playing board games, the click of dice. We’re sailing from Harwich, England to Hoek van Holland, the port near Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Check-in took just a few minutes, because tonight the UK still belongs to Europe.

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Questions to ask about indicators in global health meetings

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Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

I just turned in my book manuscript, The Uncounted: Politics of Data in Global Health to the publisher this week. It will come out in mid-2020, if all goes well.

Meanwhile, here’s something I’ve been playing with: questions to ask if you’re in a global health meeting and confronting a slide presentation with indicators, targets and models.

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