New Report: China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Malaysia deemed
”Not Qualified”; Guatemala, South Africa and Tunisia are ”Questionable”
UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer, with Prof. Irwin Cotler, MPs, activists, families of political prisoners,
presents NGO report urging democracies to oppose dictators. Canadian Parliament, Oct. 5, 2016.
GENEVA, October 27, 2016 – As the UN is set to elect 14 nations tomorrow to its highest human rights body, UN Watch urged U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and her UK, French, German and other EU allies to end their ”deafening silence” on the candidacies of non-democracies, despite repeated pleas over the past month for them to speak out.
A 21-page joint NGO report was published by UN Watch, Human Rights Foundation and the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights, and circulated to UN diplomats. The report finds that China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Malaysia and Rwanda, are ”Not Qualified” under the U.N.’s own membership criteria.
The qualifications of Guatemala, South Africa and Tunisia were deemed ”questionable” based on problematic human right records or in their UN voting records.
Sadly, all signs are that the UN will disregard its own rules and principles by tomorrow electing China, Cuba, Russia, and Saudi Arabia — even though these regimes systematically violate the human rights of their own citizens and consistently frustrate UN initiatives to protect the human rights of others.
”For the UN to elect Saudi Arabia as a world judge on human rights would be like a town making a pyromaniac into chief of the fire department,” said Neuer.
UN Watch is proposing two major reforms to the election system:
- If our own democracies continue to disregard the election criteria by voting for abusers then we should just scrap elections altogether, and make every country a member, as is the case in the General Assembly’s human rights committee, and as many proposed in 2005-2006 when the council was being shaped. At least that way Saudi ambassadors around the world could no longer hold up their UNHRC election as a shield of international legitimacy to cover up the abuses of their regime.
- Second, vote trades flourish only in the darkness of the UN’s archaic secret ballot system for elections. We need to make all UN votes public; sunshine is always the best disinfectant. The UK and France may privately be voting for Saudi Arabia, but they would never dare do so publicly.
UN Watch has been leading the campaign this year with a coalition of NGOs to oppose the re-election of Saudi Arabia, Russia, China and Cuba, as well as the new election bids of Egypt, Iraq, Malaysia and Rwanda, by lobbying governments, and through online petitions, high profile parliamentary events, UN press conferences, university lectures, YouTube videos, and op-eds in the Washington Post and other major newspapers.
Regrettably neither the U.S. nor the EU has said a word about hypocritical candidacies that only undermine the credibility and effectiveness of the UN human rights system.
By turning a blind eye as human rights violators easily join and subvert the council, leading democracies will be complicit in the world body’s moral decline.
It will 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.
When the U.N.’s highest human rights body becomes a case of the foxes guarding the henhouse, the world’s victims suffer.