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July 11, 2013 4:30 pm

Iran and Syria Seek Seats on UN Human Rights Council

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Azaz, Syria during the Syrian civil war. Syria is one of several countries with questionable human rights records vying for seats on the UN security council according to reports. Photo: Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons. – Iran and Syria, countries often scrutinized for their human rights abuses, are among the seven nations in the Asia group vying for seats in the United Nations Human Rights Council, Reuters reported, citing anonymous U.N. diplomats. Fourteen seats for three-year terms on the council will become available this year.

Hillel Neuer, the head of U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based group monitoring the U.N., said countries that “murder and torture their own people” should “not be allowed to become the world’s judges on human rights.” According to U.N. figures, as many as 100,000 people have died in the Syrian civil war between rebels and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch called Syria’s candidacy a “cruel joke,” and said Iran “falls far short of the most basic standards expected of Human Rights Council members,” according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, the dissident National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said that there is reliable information about “a new and completely secret site designated for [Iran’s] nuclear project” hidden inside tunnels and beneath mountains. Construction on the site began in 2006 and was recently finished. NCRI released satellite images of the site, although the pictures do not definitively prove that the site is a nuclear facility.

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