$375,000 Paid to UN Expert Is Legalized Corruption

China paid most of the money, and should be ejected from the UN
May 25, 2022 Updated: May 25, 2022


The principles of the United Nations were inspiring in 1941 when an American president and British prime minister met on warships anchored in the North Atlantic first to put them on paper. Now, the U.N. that resulted is rotten to the core.

Not because of the original principles of the Atlantic Charter, signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. But because of the United Nations and member states’ failure to adhere to them.

The worst abusers, all authoritarian countries, do everything in their power to subvert the ideas found in the Atlantic Charter, including through bribery and the influence of their money on the weakness of human greed.

Exhibit A is $375,000 paid by China, Russia, and Qatar for a supposed U.N. expert to oppose U.S. and allied sanctions against the world’s worst human rights abuse. These corrupt and corrupting countries, one of which is committing genocide and the other invading a nearby democracy, are obviously biased on the issue of human rights and territorial integrity, and so is their paid expert, Alena Douhan.

Yet, the expert represents the United Nations to the world on the issue of sanctions, and so influences world opinion to go soft on human rights abuse and territorial aggression. Under the mantle of the United Nations, she operates precisely against the organization’s founding principles. In the shadow of Nazi Germany, these were meant to ensure that the atrocities of World War II never recurred.

The payment for Douhan is composed of $250,000 from China, $150,000 from Russia, and $25,000 from Qatar, according to a filing seen by U.N. Watch and the Hong Kong Free Press.

But there’s more. Douhan is a professor in Belarus, a country so unfree and closely allied with Russia that Vladimir Putin launched his pincer attack on Ukraine in part from that northern autocracy.

There is much criticism of this illiberal and legalized corruption of a U.N. expert.

Dr. Hillel Neuer, a Canadian human rights activist who leads U.N. Watch, wrote in a statement that “It beggars belief that a supposed independent human rights expert can accept money from regimes at the same time as she endorses their events designed to cover up atrocities.”

Dr. Teng Biao, a human rights lawyer and scholar at the University of Chicago, replied to the news on Twitter. “Shame on Alena Douhan,” he wrote. “This #UN special rapporteur received [a] US$200,000-contribution from #China and helped the CCP whitewash #Uyghurgenocide and spread the [Chinese Communist Party’s] propaganda.”

Epoch Times Photo
Uyghurs and Tibetan people demonstrate against China outside of the United Nations offices in Geneva on Nov. 6, 2018. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

In the course of her U.N. work, Douhan provided propaganda wins to other dictators as well, complete with a U.N. stamp of approval, in Iran, Syria, Venezuela, and Cuba.

All of these countries want to violate U.N. principles at will, without fear of economic repercussions in their trade with democracies.

Douhan did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

If China, in particular, can make unilateral sanctions illegal according to international law, it will grease the skids on Beijing’s path to global hegemony.

International laws against unilateral sanctions would, in particular, weaken the world’s two most powerful democracies. The United States and European Union are still the world’s two largest economies by nominal GDP. Their ability to deter human rights abuse and protect territorial integrity peacefully and economically would be undermined, increasing not only the chance of such abuse but the likelihood that disputes would escalate more quickly to military conflict.

Roosevelt and Churchill’s original conception of the United Nations, to socialize authoritarian countries toward democracy, including through their signatures on the 1948 U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, formalized the right of citizens everywhere to free and fair elections. It was a daring and noble gamble at the time.

However, Soviet Russia and communist China made clear within a few short years that they had no intention of democratizing and no respect for the U.N. principles to which they solemnly agreed. Russia and China joined the United Nations not from a sincere agreement with its principles, but to buy time against the United States and its democratic allies. These two dictatorships are trying to warp the United Nations from a tool for democracy and international peace into a tool of their illiberal power.

The corruption of Alena Douhan is thus a symptom of the problem rather than the problem itself. The deeper issue is that we continue to allow dictatorships that violate the basic principles of the United Nations to remain in their positions within the organization. They should instead be ejected, root and branch. Start with its most powerful member: communist China. That would make an example for the rest, who, it can still be hoped, would improve as a result.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Anders Corr
Anders Corr has a bachelor's/master's in political science from Yale University (2001) and a doctorate in government from Harvard University (2008). He is a principal at Corr Analytics Inc., publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, and has conducted extensive research in North America, Europe, and Asia. His latest books are “The Concentration of Power: Institutionalization, Hierarchy, and Hegemony” (2021) and “Great Powers, Grand Strategies: the New Game in the South China Sea" (2018).