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Hi, this is Michelle. A technical adoption of a UN human rights review will offer today a rare opportunity for the west to put China on the spot – but not without Beijing’s counter-offensive.

The UN rights boss has some word of caution for western countries where disillusionment with politics has allowed the far right to thrive. And a Geneva-based expert accused of illegally collecting Russian military information pleads guilty.

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Michelle Langrand


Today’s top headlines

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Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Chen Xu speaks with an ambassador prior to the Human Rights Council review of China's rights record in Geneva, 23 January 2024. (Keystone/Fabrice Coffrini/AFP)

🪃China deploys deflection tactics ahead of UN rights review. China’s clout on the international stage may become self-evident at a UN human rights review, but the lengths it will go to quash any scrutiny reveals one thing: China cares what others think.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

🙅‍♂️UN rights chief appeals to voters not to scapegoat migrants and refugees as elections loom. Ahead of elections in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany, the UN high commissioner for human rights, Volker Türk said political parties should not use migrants as “scapegoats”.

Associated Press (EN)

⏺️A French citizen pleads guilty to charges of collecting military data in Russia, state media say. Russian authorities said Laurent Vinatier, an advisor to the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, had made audio recordings of meetings with experts and scientists regarding military activities.

Washington Post 🔒 (EN)

⚖️UN experts say Russia violated international law by imprisoning Wall Street Journal reporter. The UN human rights office’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, said that Russia, a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, violated its provisions.

Associated Press (EN)

🧋How to create a ‘world without waste’? Here are the plastic industry’s ideas. An investigation found that proposals by petrochemical companies for reducing plastic waste fall far short of what “high-ambition” countries and civil society are demanding. A final draft of a global treaty to regulate plastics is expected by next year.

Grist (EN)

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