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The latest election of some of the world's worst human rights abusing countries to serve on the Council does not hold out any hope of real reform

More Serial Human Rights Abusers Elected to UN Human Rights Council


By —— Bio and Archives--October 18, 2017

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The United Nations General Assembly on Monday elected 15 member states to the UN Human Rights Council for the 2018-2020 term, including such notorious human rights abusers as Qatar, Angola, Pakistan, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Member states considered eligible for membership on the Human Rights Council are theoretically supposed to be able to demonstrate their commitment to the highest standards of human rights and their full cooperation with all UN mechanisms, including the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Special Procedures and treaty bodies and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. These countries fall woefully short of such standards.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the “election is yet another example of why the Human Rights Council (HRC) lacks credibility and must be reformed in order to be saved.” She added, “Countries that aggressively violate human rights at home should not be in a position to guard the human rights of others. We need a unified voice of moral clarity with backbone and integrity to call out abusive governments. This election has once again proven that the Human Rights Council, as presently constituted, is not that voice.”

As an example of a country that does not belong on a credible human rights body, yet ran unopposed for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, Ambassador Haley pointed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  She described the DRC as “a country infamous for political suppression, violence against women and children, arbitrary arrest and detention, and unlawful killings and disappearances.”

Qatar, re-elected to serve another term on the UN Human Rights Council, features low paid migrant workers who continue to face abuse and exploitation, tantamount to a modern day version of slavery. Migrant workers make up more than 90% of Qatar’s 2.1 million population. Governed by Sharia law, harsh punishments such as flogging and stoning are inflicted for offenses like extramarital sex and blasphemy. Qatar’s laws discriminate against women. Qatar criminalizes the posting of online content that “violates social values or principles,” or “insults or slanders others.”

Angola, according to Amnesty International, has been using “defamation laws and state security legislation to harass, arrest and detain those peacefully expressing their views; and publicly snubbing UN recommendations on its rights record.”

Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Cuba are amongst the serial human rights abusing countries

The security forces of Nigeria, re-elected to serve another term on the UN Human Rights Council, have reportedly engaged in such human rights abuses as arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, forced disappearance, and extrajudicial killings. The Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, passed in January 2014, has been “used to legitimize abuses against LGBT people, including mob violence, sexual abuse, unlawful arrests, torture and extortion by police,” Human Rights Watch stated in its 2017 report.

In Pakistan, according to Amnesty International, “Human rights defenders and media workers experienced threats, harassment and abuse from security forces and armed groups. Minorities continued to face discrimination across a range of economic and social rights. Security forces including the Rangers, a paramilitary force under the command of the Pakistan Army, perpetrated human rights violations such as arbitrary arrests, torture and other ill-treatment, and extrajudicial executions.”

Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Cuba are amongst the serial human rights abusing countries that will continue to serve on the UN Human Rights Council.

Ambassador Haley warned last June that the United States may withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council if it does not mend its ways, including by reversing its blatant anti-Israel bias. The latest election of some of the world’s worst human rights abusing countries to serve on the Council does not hold out any hope of real reform.



Joseph A. Klein -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Joseph A. Klein is the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom.

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