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On April 7, 2022, the UN General Assembly voted to exclude Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. The resolution received the required two-thirds majority of those voting, minus abstentions, in the 193-member Assembly, with 93 nations voting in favor and 24 against.[1]  

The vote was highly politicized and reflected the success of the Western information war against Russia, which was falsely blamed for launching an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and for committing the overwhelming majority of atrocities in the war, including a massacre at Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, which independent investigators concluded was actually carried out by Ukraine.

UN General Assembly votes to suspend the membership of the Russian Federation in the Human Rights Council during an Emergency Special Session on Ukraine. [Source:]

Alfred de Zayas, a former senior lawyer with the Office of the UN High Commissioner and Secretary of the UN’s Human Rights Committee, wrote in his book The Human Rights Industry (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2023) that the UN General Assembly’s decision to exclude Russia “added to the general atmosphere of Russophobia that we have seen over the last three decades,” and “to the world’s perception of engineered bias in the UN itself, where the manipulation of States’ votes was enabled by a failure to call for a secret ballot, as requested by Russia.”[2]

Alfred de Zayas. Born in Cuba, de Zayas grew up in Chicago and obtained a law degree from Harvard and Ph.D. in modern history from the University of Göttingen. He worked with the United Nations from 1981 to 2003 as a senior lawyer with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Chief of Petitions. [Source:]

De Zayas noted further that, if exclusion were undertaken objectively by the General Assembly, one would expect the exclusion of other offenders, including but not limited to the following:

  • Several NATO countries, for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by their force during the wars of aggression against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc.
  • Saudi Arabia, among others, because of its genocidal war against the people of Yemen and because of the gruesome assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
  • India for its systematic war crimes and gross violations of human rights against the people of Khashmir, including widespread extra-judicial executions.
  • Azerbaijan because of its aggression against the hapless Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) during the blitzkrieg of September-November 2020, where the crime of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed, including torture and execution of Armenian prisoners of war.
  • Decades of systematic killing of human rights defenders, social leaders, syndicalists and Indigenous peoples by successive Colombian governments and lethal paramilitary forces.

According to de Zayas, the UN’s Human Rights Council, since its creation in 2006, has not served human rights well; rather it has manifestly served the geopolitical and informational interests of the United States and the European Union.

These interests center on the demonization of Russia, which guarantees “that the maw of the U.S. military-industrial-digital-financial complex can continue to be fed, and its war on the world, contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations, can be pursued, even when it pushes the purported ‘rules-based’ international order.”[3]


The Human Rights Industry

De Zayas’s book, The Human Rights Industry, focuses on the politicization and weaponization of human rights discourse at the UN and double standards of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which has evolved into a neo-colonial instrument that prosecutes primarily African leaders and enemies of the U.S. and West. (the recent arrest warrant for Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu may be a step in the right direction, but where are the warrants for U.S. leaders for their many crimes?)

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The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) characteristically caved to political pressure when it silenced whistleblowers who dissented from the position that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons on the Syrian people.


The Human Rights Industry further spotlights the fact that human rights NGOs have been compromised by corporate foundations and Western intelligence agencies.

De Zayas writes that he supports the work of many NGOs and idea of people’s power but finds that too many NGOs “go to foreign countries primarily to create confusion, interfere in the internal affairs of those states, and pave the way for ‘color revolutions’ and undemocratic regime change.”[4]

The human rights industry’s deceptions are especially insidious in that they manipulate people’s genuine concern for human welfare in a way that compels them to support U.S. military intervention or regime-change operations that are detrimental to human rights.

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The Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), a major source of Xinjiang genocide allegations, was among the human rights NGOs that received funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA cutout founded in the 1980s that advances disinformation in the service of U.S. corporate-military power.

The CHRD lists its address to the office of Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has long-standing ties to Western intelligence and a history of promoting fabricated atrocity stories against targets of U.S. regime change like North Korea and Iraq, while ignoring the plight of victims of U.S.-backed violence, such as the people of eastern Ukraine.

Financed heavily by George Soros, HRW and contemporaries like Amnesty International spend a disproportionate amount of time discussing issues related to LGBTQ rights while failing to condemn neo-liberal economic policies that leave people without access to clean water or adequate health care and education, and support coercive economic measures (i.e., sanctions) that are in violation of the UN charter.

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George Soros [Source:]

Amnesty International was founded by Peter Benenson (1921-2005) who worked in British military intelligence during World War II and, in 1966, admitted that Amnesty had been infiltrated by British intelligence agents.

The CIA and Israeli Mossad were also said to have been involved in Amnesty, whose chairman at one time received instructions from the Israeli Foreign Ministry, according to de Zayas.[5]

Peter Benenson [Source:]

The long-standing intelligence and Western government connections may help explain Amnesty’s failure to address the plight of exploited indigenous people of North and South America, or the plight of exploited migrant workers, and Kafaa workers who live in conditions of modern-day slavery, along with that of people struggling for self-determination like the Bubi people of the Island of Bioko, the South Cameroonians, the Kashmiris, the Sahrawis, the Kurds, the Yemenis, the Ngonis of Nigeria, the Tamils of Sri Lanka, the Ryukyuans of Okinawa, the West Papuans, and the Catalans of Spain, among others.

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Kashmiris have suffered terribly under Indian occupation but their plight has not been spotlighted by Amnesty, HRW or other Western human rights NGOs because there is no benefit to Western countries in trying to save them and India is now viewed as a strategic bulwark against a rising China. [Source:]

De Zayas makes clear that HRW has a particularly odious record in supporting illegal U.S. military interventions under the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine (R2P), which uses invented human rights crimes as a pretext for wars that have devastated whole societies—like Libya in 2011.

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Misrata, Libya, after U.S.-NATO bombing in 2011 in a war supported by HRW. [Source:]

HRW further helped justify Donald Trump’s extrajudicial execution of a top Iranian General (Qassem Soleimani), and has taken its resentment of China to unhinged levels, likening Beijing to Nazi Germany.

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HRW supported the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. [Source:]

De Zayas quoted from a letter by a group of distinguished Latin American scholars objecting to a 2008 HRW report on Venezuela, “A Decade Under Chávez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela,” which they said was a “politically motivated essay rather than a human rights report” that did “not meet even the most minimal standards of scholarship, impartiality, accuracy or credibility.”[6]

The lead author of the report, José Miguel Vivanco, was part of the anti-Chávez opposition. He claimed that Hugo Chávez’s socialist government systematically deprived medical care to its opponents based on the uncorroborated testimony of the nephew of a single person who claimed that his aunt was deprived care.

José Miguel Vivanco [Source:]

Quoting extensively from right-wing media sources that were Venezuela’s equivalent to Fox News, Vivanco’s report further condemned Chávez’s government for purging oil workers who had mounted a strike, though failed to mention that this strike was intended to cripple the economy and facilitate the overthrow of the Venezuelan government, with U.S. backing.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez (1998-2013) was beloved by the people of Venezuela for cutting poverty considerably and reasserting national control over Venezuela’s oil, but he was caricatured in HRW reports and hated by Western human rights NGOs doing the bidding of U.S. oil interests and the U.S. government. [Source:]

De Zayas emphasizes that the low intellectual caliber of Vivanco’s report was characteristic of the politicized, biased and unprofessional work of HRW and other like-minded NGOs that celebrated violent protests that broke out in Nicaragua in 2018 with the aim of bringing down a popularly elected government.

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Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega has been unfairly maligned in HRW reports while his opponents have been lionized even though they plotted a violent coup against him backed by a foreign power, the U.S. [Source:]

That many of Amnesty’s reports sound like they could have been written by U.S. State Department officials is not coincidental since the executive director (2011-2013) of Amnesty’s U.S. branch, Suzanne Nossel, actually worked for the U.S. State Department.

Suzanne Nossel [Source:]

De Zayas writes that “Nossel’s contributions are simply to dress up naked military aggression and the pursuit of global-corporate financier hegemony with the pretense of human rights advocacy….A glance at reveals that each and every front the U.S. State Department is currently working on and has prioritized is also coincidentally prioritized by Amnesty International. This includes rallies and campaigns to support U.S. State Department funded Russian opposition groups (currently fixated on ‘Pussy Riot’), undermining the Syrian government, toppling the government of Belarus and supporting Wall-Street-London created Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar (still called by its British Imperial nomenclature of ‘Burma’ by Suu Kyi herself.)”[7]

Aung San Suu Kyi, a favorite of the human rights crowd, whose support for the massacre of Burma’s Rohingya population and fealty to U.S.-British interests is widely overlooked. [Source:]

These comments capture the clear political agenda behind Amnesty’s reporting.

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A member of the Punk rock band Pussy Riot urinating on a poster of America’s #1 enemy, Vladimir Putin, at a concert in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in May 2023. Pussy Riot was championed by HRW and its members depicted as political prisoners even though members of the band were legitimately arrested by Russian authorities for hooliganism after they disrupted a church service and illegally carried out sex orgies in a Russian museum. [Source: Photo courtesy of Jeremy Kuzmarov]

Strong parallels exist with the mainstream media, which only spotlights the human rights abuses—real and imagined—of U.S. enemies while failing to report on war crimes on both sides of conflicts like Ukraine, hence creating a skewed understanding among the public.

A historical turning point occurred 40 years ago during the presidency of Jimmy Carter who was very effective in coopting the human rights consciousness of the 1960s movements by associating worldwide human rights abuses with the Soviet Union.[8]

Carter’s human rights foreign policy foreshadowed the present day where human rights pretexts are used to justify the expansion of U.S. military power around the world. For example, it was Carter who set the groundwork for the U.S. re-colonization of the Middle East and armed the mujahadin in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. [Source:]

Today, liberals are among the most fervent supporters of military aid to Ukraine on alleged human rights grounds—even though the Ukrainian government has mounted terrorist operations against its opponents extending into Russia and killed Russian journalists.

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The human rights industry’s major accomplishment has been to help destroy the anti-war and anti-imperialist movements of the 1960s and to ensure liberal support for hawkish politicians who frame military and covert military interventions as humanitarian endeavors.

Massive rallies against U.S. wars and imperialism like this one are largely a relic of the past thanks to HRW and other human rights NGOs along with the abolishment of the draft. [Source:]

De Zayas, at the end of his book, expresses hope that more people will work to silence the propaganda organs and pressure their leaders to respect the UN Charter, which was designed to uphold world peace. A fundamental challenge to corporate power is further needed so that corporate foundations connected to the intelligence agencies can no longer manipulate public opinion into supporting endless wars and the perpetuation of an unjust world order.

  1. The countries voting against included Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria and Vietnam.

  2. Alfred de Zayas, The Human Rights Industry (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2023), 69.

  3. De Zayas, The Human Rights Industry, 71.

  4. De Zayas, The Human Rights Industry, 113.

  5. De Zayas, The Human Rights Industry, 159.

  6. De Zayas, The Human Rights Industry, 132.

  7. De Zayas, The Human Rights Industry, 156.

  8. On this point, see James Peck’s important study, Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-opted Human Rights (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2011).

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About the Author


  1. The picture at the top shows a bad person with the Star of David on his helmet, which implies that not only is the man bad, but also that the Star of David represents something bad also. This is very anti semitic.

  2. You can find this video by searching on you tube for

    Exposing the Russian Military Unit Behind a Massacre in Bucha | Visual Investigations

    After watching this video you will have no doubt that Russia committed this massacre.

    • Everyone should watch this video as it shows the full scale of Russian atrocities in Ukraine and how Russian propaganda has brainwashed millions of people in the world.

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