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03 Jun 2020

Ethics complaint to UNAIDS filed on CCP-aligned "goodwill ambassador"

On June 3, 2020, Safeguard Defenders, filed an ethics complaint with UNAIDS (The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS) against one of its long-standing "goodwill ambassadors", Chinese Party/State media "journalist" James Chau. This follows a complaint filed with the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier in February 25, 2020, regarding which WHO has now confirmed to have launched an "internal review"

UNAIDS operates in accordance with UN- and WHO specific code of conducts, and is held to implement its ethics code, and take action against anyone, staff- or non-staff, found in violation of it. The complaint sets out that James Chau has, as news anchor for CGTN (China Global Television Network), and its programme China24, been responsible for broadcasting forced TV confessions of victims before their trial, thus actively partaking in removing those victims right to a fair trial.

Read the full complaint as PDF here: 

The complaint reads:

We request that you investigate James Chau’s suitability as a UNAIDS goodwill ambassador, and upon verification of the information herein presented, to terminate that relationship without undue delays, in order to avoid any further damage to the UNAIDS’s reputation. James Chau has worked to deny victims key rights of several international laws, customary international law and codes of conduct mentioned in UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) documents. 

The complaint furthermore reiterates UNAIDS own writing related to the issue, as set forth in its UNAIDS Secretariat Competency Framework. The framework upholds the value of INTEGRITY as being:

“about defining, committing to and maintaining clear ethical standards. This includes acting in the interest of the organization without consideration of personal gain. It is about being transparent and forthright in our interactions within the organization and with external partners, and taking a stand against behaviour that is unethical or incongruent with our values.”

[It] adds that “upholding INTEGRITY means”:
• We act in accordance with the Standards of Conduct for the International Civil Service
• We conduct ourselves in an ethical manner at all times and do not abuse power or authority
• We follow through on commitments and take responsibility when we are unable to fulfil them
• We take prompt action against unprofessional or unethical behaviour