Unqualified countries celebrate election to UN rights bodies

In the last few days, the General Assembly elected members to the Economic and Social Council and to the Human Rights Council. Both bodies deal with human rights issues around the world. UN Watch objected to the election of Sudan to ECOSOC and also found 7 candidates for the Human Rights to be unqualified. To add insult to injury, many of the unqualified countries trumpeted their election as international recognition of the high level of respect of human rights domestically. Examples abound:

  • Masood Khan, Ambassador of Pakistan to the UN: “We won the election of the Human Rights Council and it is a strong validation of Pakistan commitment to the promotion and protection of Human Rights.”
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan: ” The success in the election demonstrates Pakistan’s strong commitment to human rights and the international community’s confidence in Pakistan’s substantial contributions at the Human Rights Council and its affiliated bodies.”
  • Jorge Valero, Ambassador of  Venezuela to the UN “rejected criticism of the election. He said the vote result was a “powerful” statement about democracy and human rights in his country.”
  • Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the UAE: “The UAE win of the seat for the next three years will lay on our shoulders additional onus and commitment to stay our course firmly consistent with constitutional principles on which the UAE state is built and which places respect for human rights at the top of national priorities … The achievement highlighted the values and culture of the UAE which are based on tolerance, openness, justice, equality and human dignity.”
  • Altay Abibullayev, spokesperson for Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “We are pleased to have been elected to the UN Human Rights Council. But we do not consider it solely as a badge of honor. We see it as an opportunity to contribute to global efforts for making progress in this crucial field. The Republic of Kazakhstan has been actively supporting the work of the Human Rights Council and human rights generally.”

Likewise, at the ECOSOC elections:

  • Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry: the election “is an important success of the state in its foreign policy, as well as confirmation of the support from the international community to the social, economic, and democratic reforms in the country.”
  • Kuwait news agency: “The General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly elected Kuwait as member of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the period 2013-2015, in recognition of its contribution to global development.”

1 Response to “Unqualified countries celebrate election to UN rights bodies”

  • Would the world be better off if routine human rights monitoring was mostly the preserve of NGOs and news organizations? The Security Council will continue to play a role in checking (some of) the worst abuses of human rights. ECOSOC and the Human Rights Council are not realizing their potential at present.

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