On Saturday, the media office of Senate President Bukola Saraki announced his appointment as Ambassador-At-Large by an organisation known as the ‘International Human Rights Commission’ (IHRC), painting the impression of global recognition. ‘Senate President Saraki gets international appointment’, one newspaper headline even screamed.
However, checks by SaharaReporters have confirmed the so-called IHRC as a paperweight organisation without any relationship with the United Nations.
Making the announcement in an undated press statement by Rafał Marcin Wasik, its General Secretary, the group had written, in part: “Under the visionary leadership of General Secretary Sir Rafal Marcin, IHRC is working to strengthen & support all Nations capacity to engage in sustainable development through educational access, relief programs, ecological & bioethical reflections & actions, while taking in to consideration the traditional, social & cultural values of each Nation. Promoting Human Rights Peace, Gender Equality, Health, Economic development, awareness regarding the rights of women, children & youth in developing nations & where ever needed.
“With our ongoing expansions in operations worldwide, we are pleased to inform that The President of Senate H.E Senator Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has joined the International Human Rights commission as our Ambassador at Large…”
Friday Sani, the person who announced the appointment, is actually a relatively unknown Nigerian, even though the agency recognized him as the ‘Diplomatic Head of the Commission to Nigeria and other African countries’ and also describes him as an ‘Ambassador-At-Large’ on the IHRC website.
Funded by donations via PayPal, IHRC is only two years old. It was established on March 29, 2017 when Rafal Marcin Wasik, a Pole, teamed up with Ladislav Tesarik, a Czechoslovakian, and Iurii Kiperman, a Ukranian. The so-called international organization has no office outside Czech Republic, where one of its founders hails from, and only has a liaison centre, which it creatively describes as a “representational office”, in Ukraine. Although it claims to have a presence in a few other countries, there are no records of real-time activity in those countries, for instance as can be seen with Belarus.
Also, IHRC claims it was an official observer of Nigeria’s 2019 general election, but there is no proof of that in public domain. Even the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) list of accredited domestic and foreign observers it circulated on its own website does not contain its name.
Finally, to give itself some semblance of a UN agency, IHRC’s logo is designed to resemble UN’s. The agency also lists the ‘United Nations’ as one of the sub-menus on its website. However, although the UN is umbrella to a total of 36 funds, programmes, and specialized agencies, IHRC is not one of them.
For the avoidance of doubt, below, in full, are the 36 UN-affiliated agencies:
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP):
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
The United Nations Children’s FundU (NICEF)
The World Food Programme (WFP)
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
The International Labor Organization (ILO)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
The International Maritime Organization (IMO)
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
The Universal Postal Union (UPU)
The World Health Organization (WHO)
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)
The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
The United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC)
The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
The International Organization for Migration (IOM)
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The World Trade Organization (WTO)