Human rights abusers elected to UN's Human Rights Council
Entering the world of the United Nations (UN) is like tumbling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland or seeing a George Orwellian novel come to life as logic is suspended and such inversions as good is bad and bad is good are standard. And the UN's grossly misnamed--but perfect for UN world--Human Rights Council proved this once again on Tuesday by voting to add countries with gross human rights abuses to join the other countries with similar or even greater violations to their organization.
According to the group's statement of purpose.
The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year. It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
The Council is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly.
So who are the new members who will "discuss all thematic issues and situations"? Venezuela, UAE, Burundi, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, and Togo, all countries with major human rights violations, easily won election to three year terms on the 47 nation UN Human Rights Council. Amazingly, Pakistan and Laos, two other nations with long records of human rights abuses, were rejected. The winners will now decide on human rights along with other oppressive human rights violators such as China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Wait, it gets more bizarre!
If the new council acts similarly to their predecessors expect them to devote the majority of their time and energy, as they did in previous sessions, bashing and ranting against, condemning and censoring Israel and the US, two major democracies where freedom reigns, where women, followers of all kinds of religions and minorities live without major fear. And of course they will continue to ignore the horrors in their own and other countries with violence against religious, racial and ethnic minorities, repression against women and other forms of oppression.
As Hillel Neuer of UN Watch summed up
Tell me again why the US spends millions on the UN?
“It’s a black day for human rights,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental human rights group. (snip)
“The election of even more rights abusing regimes — on a body that already counts China, Russia, Cuba and Saudi Arabia as members — marks another severe blow to the credibility and efficacy of a body that was supposed to improve on its discredited predecessor.” (snip)
“With three out of the five regional groups having run uncontested slates, the elevation of oppressive governments sends the message that politics trumps human rights. The UN today is letting down millions of victims worldwide who look to the world body for protection.”
“If we allow Venezuela to be in charge of freedom of assembly, Burundi in charge of police accountability, and UAE in charge of labor rights, we are simply turning the UN into a laughingstock.”
According to the new report, Venezuela, UAE, Burundi, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan and Togo have been cited by human rights groups for having committed serious violations of numerous articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including curbs on the freedoms of speech, press, religion, and assembly, along with disregard for fundamental due process. The candidate countries were also found to have voted against UN resolutions taking action for victims of human rights abuses in various hotspots.
WHAT THIS WILL MEAN FOR THE COUNCIL
“The election of more rights abusers — Saudi Arabia’s representative was selected this year to be Chair of the UNHRC’s influential panel that selects human rights experts — not only casts a dark shadow on the future of the Human Rights Council but also recalls its recent past,” said Neuer. (snip)
Neuer expects the following negative impacts:
The Council will continue to turn a blind eye to egregious abuses by violators like China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe, which have never been addressed in any UN resolution.
Mechanisms meant to help victims will be hijacked by politicization and selectivity.
The core principles of individual human rights will be subverted by concepts that increase power for governments.
Togo won more seats that any other candidate, 189 out of 193. Human rights abuses in Togo include:
Executive influence over the judiciary
Restrictions on freedom of press and assembly
Rape, violence, and discrimination against women
Child abuse, including female genital mutilation and sexual exploitation
Trafficking in persons.
Discrimination persisted against persons with disabilities, regional and ethnic groups, and LGBT
Child labor, including forced child labor
Togo takes limited steps to prosecute or punish officials who commit abuses. Impunity, including in the security services, ix widespread.