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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Name and Shame: The 'human rights council's worst list ever

United Nations Watch exposes the list of candidates for seats on the United Nations' 'human rights council,' which it calls the 'worst ever.'
As a United Nations meeting is right now hearing live campaign pitches (webcast link) from the UK, France and other democracies vying for seats on the world body's Human Rights Council, the Geneva-based non-governmental human rights group UN Watch revealed its "List of Shame" -- naming some of the world's worst abusers who are also running in the Nov. 2013 election, and expected to win seats: Algeria, Chad, China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. Though unconfirmed, reportedly Iran and Syria may also be running. Click here for full report (PDF).

"This is a recipe for disaster," said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. "By electing massive abusers of human rights to the very body charged with protecting them, the UN is about to add more rotten ingredients into the soup. We should not be surprised by the results."

The council currently includes Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Mauritania, Venezuela, and many other countries with dismal human rights records.
Is anyone really surprised at this? And yet, the Obama administration continues to insist that the United States be a member of the 'council,' and Israel recently announced that it will resume previously suspended cooperation with the 'council' (although one has to wonder whether, if this is the 'council's makeup, Israel will actually agree to a universal periodic review).  Why? Does anyone really believe that the 'human rights council' promotes human rights (note - without scare quotes!). Not with those regimes as members.
"Candidates like Algeria, China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia have one thing in common: they systematically violate the human rights of their own citizens," said [United Nations Watch director Hillel] Neuer, "and they have consistently voted the wrong way on UN initiatives to protect the human rights of others. Chad has child soldiers -- how can it be a candidate?"

"It's not only that these governments are unqualified; they are the ones who should be in the dock of the accused, not sitting on high as prosecutor and judge."

"It is an insult to their victims -- and a defeat for the global cause of human rights -- when the UN allows gross abusers to act as champions and global judges of human rights," said Neuer.

"When the U.N.'s highest human rights body becomes a case of the foxes guarding the henhouse, the world's victims suffer."
Indeed they do. And this is precisely why the Bush administration refused to join the 'council' or have anything to do with it. The Obama administration - the supposed 'liberals' - have chosen to give cover to the 'council' and to the human rights violators who sit on it instead.

Whose policy was more effective? Bush's policy may not have changed anything, but at least it didn't give an American stamp of approval and US taxpayer money to the 'council.' Obama's policies do both while making matters worse.

What could go wrong?

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