Swedish government criticizes UNDP's handling of pressure from China on human rights exhibition
The Swedish minister for development cooperation, Peter Ericsson, has criticized the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for cancelling a human rights event in response to pressure from China.
On May 13, 2019, UNDP was scheduled to host an event in Stockholm to mark the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration for Human Rights. As part of the event, a photography exhibition portraying images of human rights profiles, including the Dalai Lama and the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, was to be shown. Hours before the opening, UNDP canceled the event following reported pressure from the Chinese government.
The UNDP Nordic office stated that the decision to cancel was made by the Nordic office itself, and motivated by the fact that the exhibition would distract the conversation from the important work that has been done for human rights globally.
The Swedish government and parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs have called the cancellation unacceptable and criticized the UNDP Nordic office for poor management of the situation. The minister for development cooperation has written to the head of UNDP, Achim Steiner.