UN Whistleblower Dismissed Over China Human Rights Violation Exposure

A UN Human Rights office whistleblower who claimed China was getting data on dissidents speaking at the international body was sacked.

Emma Reilly was fired just 24 hours after speaking to the prestigious French publication, Le Monde. Reilly’s case highlighted China’s rising influence inside the UN system.

At the demand of China, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) gave up a list of dissidents attending the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. According to Reilly, Beijing pressured the dissidents not to travel.

She and others believe Chinese officials intimidated their families, leading to detention, torture, and one death in Chinese custody.

Not Terminated for Lying

Reilly revealed to Fox News the grounds for her dismissal as the UN Under-Secretary-General for Human Resources. She told Fox News the UN simply accused her of breaking a silent order. Her accusation of a lie is unfounded.

Whether a human rights officer or not, she owed it to the press to speak up when alerting her bosses and authorities had no effect. She says she will defer to the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner. 

Reilly, a human rights lawyer from the UK-Ireland, told Fox News the US, UK, and Ireland did nothing, despite knowing her situation. She said no official ever contacted her; she prompted all contact.

Reilly said the UN leadership prioritized China over human rights and whistleblowers. Meanwhile, she continued, stating democratic countries do nothing and they must respect a UN autonomy that does not exist. 

A representative for the US-UN Mission told Fox News any such issue should first be handled inside the UN before commenting. When asked for further response, the US-UN Mission had no comment.

A letter issued to the UN was signed by at least 41 organizations, including the Government Accountability Project of the United States (GAP).

The statement criticized Reilly’s termination and urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to publicly commit to making necessary changes to modernize UN whistleblower safeguards.

Suing the United Nations

A UN spokesman told a New York Sun reporter Reilly wasn’t a whistleblower.

The individual stated they have a strong structure in place to safeguard people from reprisal. This contradicts the UN’s examination of her status as a whistleblower, though.

According to a UN spokesperson, the office does not comment on internal matters that are completely confidential; this is to protect both the organization and the individual affected.

The spokesperson also claimed Reilly made public correspondence addressed to her on a purely private basis. The representative said he could verify Reilly received and transmitted this letter.

Moreover, he wouldn’t comment on the content or specifics of the message because it may jeopardize any ongoing or planned process.

Reilly told Fox News she plans to continue her fight and sue the UN in its own courts. However, noting the bias in those courts, she says she would move outside the UN system.