Venezuela, Iraq Among Human Rights Abusers Slated to Join UN Rights Body, Advocates Warn
Prominent human rights advocates on Friday warned that a slate of states with records of systemic human rights abuse and enmity toward Israel are on the cusp of being elected to the UN’s highest human rights body.
A joint report by UN Watch, the Human Rights Foundation and the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights — all leading human rights NGOs — called on UN member states to oppose the election of Indonesia, Iraq, Libya, Mauritania, Sudan and Venezuela to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) when voting takes place on Oct. 17.
The five states were deemed “unqualified” due to their human rights records, as well as their voting records on UN resolutions concerning human rights.
Irwin Cotler — head of the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights, and a former Canadian minister of justice — said in a statement: “Regrettably, when the UN itself ends up electing human rights violators to the Human Rights Council, it indulges the very of culture of impunity it is supposed to combat. The world’s democracies must join in the preservation and protection of the Council’s mandate, and not end up accomplices to its breach.”
Hillel Neuer — executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch — said that electing the regime of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela “as a UN judge on human rights would be like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief.”
Neuer added: “As made clear in our report, voting nations can and should refrain from electing rights abusers to the UN’s highest human rights body. We need to hear the EU’s Federica Mogherini and member states lead the call to oppose the worst abusers. So far, they have been silent.”
Electing human rights abusers to the council would, he continued, “be an insult to their political prisoners and many other victims — and a defeat for the global cause of human rights — if the UN helps gross abusers act as champions and global judges of human rights.”