Several of the 15 countries elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday have themselves been convicted of serious human rights violations, including China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia and Uzbekistan.
The intergovernmental body of 47 countries is responsible for “the promotion and protection of all human rights in the world”. The Trump administration withdrew the United States from the Human Rights Council in 2018, citing alleged prejudices against Israel and a tendency to allow corrupt and repressive regimes to serve in its ranks.
“Electing these dictatorships as UN human rights judges is like bringing a gang of arsonists into the fire department,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the independent rights group UN Watch.
The 15 vacant seats were divided among five regions, but only one region – Asia-Pacific – was contested. According to The Guardian, most countries within the regions usually enter into private deals to ensure that candidates can stand unopposed.
- “Uncompetitive UN votes like this make a mockery of the word ‘election’,” UN director at Human Rights Watch Louis Charbonneau said in a statement.
- “Regional lists should be competitive so that states have a choice. When there is no choice, countries should refuse to vote for unfit candidates. “
Saudi Arabia did not meet the necessary voting threshold to be elected, almost exactly two years after the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
- China, which is waging a campaign of demographic genocide against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, won the fewest votes of any elected state – 139, down from 180 when it ran for office in 2016 .
- 60% of next term of UN Human Rights Council members fail to meet minimum standards for free democracy, says Watch ONE.
Bolivia, China, Ivory Coast, Cuba, France, Gabon, Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and United Kingdom