Thursday, October 29, 2015

At least Pakistan was not elected to the UNHRC

On the other hand, "Venezuela, UAE, Burundi, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, and Togo easily won election at the UN yesterday to 3-year terms on the 47-nation Human Rights Council". According to this report, in 2016 the Council will have its smallest proportion of free members ever.
The U.N. Human Rights Council in 2016 will have just 18 countries rated as “free” out of a total of 47 – the lowest number in the body’s decade-old history.

For the first time since the HRC was created in 2006, the proportion of members designated “free” by the Washington-based democracy watchdog, Freedom House, will drop next year to below 40 percent.
It's not as if we do not know the truth about these countries:
Earlier, a report by three human rights groups – U.N. Watch, Human Rights Foundation and the Lantos Foundation – evaluated all 21 candidates in the election, and concluded that nine were unsuitable.

Of those nine, seven were elected on Wednesday: Ethiopia, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Ecuador, Burundi, Togo and Kyrgyzstan.

The remaining two, Pakistan and Laos, were unsuccessful. In part, that was because their regional group, Asia, presented a competitive slate – seven candidates for five vacancies.

The African group, by contrast, put up a closed slate – five candidates for five vacancies – thus all but assuring success for Ethiopia and Burundi (both “not free”), and Togo (“partly free”).
To a great extent the organization is funded by Western countries who have a considerably better record in freedom and human rights (the USA puts up a hefty 22% of the money) but the purpose of the organization is lost in the necessity to represent every region. The fact is that freedom is not a concept that is valued at all highly in various regions.

UNWatch gives the results of the votes if you scroll down the story, adding in particular this:
Togo won more seats that any other candidate, 189 out of 193.

Human rights abuses in Togo include:

Executive influence over the judiciary

Restrictions on freedom of press and assembly

Rape, violence, and discrimination against women

Child abuse, including female genital mutilation and sexual exploitation

Trafficking in persons.

Discrimination persisted against persons with disabilities, regional and ethnic groups, and LGBT

Child labor, including forced child labor

Togo takes limited steps to prosecute or punish officials who commit abuses. Impunity, including in the security services, is widespread.
So, what are we to expect from this wonderful institution in the future? This is Hillel Neuer's prediction:
The Council will continue to turn a blind eye to egregious abuses by violators like China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe, which have never been addressed in any UN resolution.

Mechanisms meant to help victims will be hijacked by politicization and selectivity.

The core principles of individual human rights will be subverted by concepts that increase power for governments.
I bet there will be lots of resolutions about Israel, though.

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