Missing the Point on Human Rights

Grace Melton /

The Norwegian Nobel Committee held its annual awards ceremony last week in Oslo, where it intended to award the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese intellectual and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo “for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” Still imprisoned, Liu was prevented from traveling to Oslo to participate in the ceremony, and his family and friends were denied permission to leave China and accept the prize on his behalf.

Also notably absent from the ceremony was U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who declined her invitation to the event, drawing further criticism of the U.N. leadership from human rights groups for its near silence on human rights abuses in China. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been accused of muting any criticism of China’s human rights record in order to curry favor with the Chinese government, whose vote could block him from winning a second term as Secretary General. (more…)