When Sudan was elected at the end of January as Vice-President of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), UN Watch, together with film star Mia Farrow rightly objected.
ECOSOC is a top U.N. body that regulated human rights groups, shapes the composition of key U.N. women’s rights bodies, and adopts resolutions on subjects ranging from Internet freedom to female genital mutilation. Genocidal Sudan, therefore, seemed a highly inappropriate choice.
Yet UN Watch’s calls to condemn this appointment fell on deaf ears, with neither UN chief Ban Ki-moon nor human rights commissioner Navi Pillay making a statement against this absurdity.
Last week, however, Sudan’s appointment became even more outrageous when ECOSOC President Néstor Osorio of Columbia informed delegations that Sudan would be chairing the humanitarian affairs segment of the Council’s work.
Thankfully, in a later meeting of ECOSOC that week, some delegations, including Canada, the United States and the European Union, called into question the Sudanese Government’s commitment to human rights, questioning their suitability for the position. In particular they pointed at the “devastating” humanitarian situation in Darfur, as well as in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.
Sudan rejected these allegations, calling them “wholly unfounded.” China, Venezuela and Cuba spoke in support of Sudan’s appointment.
Due to the disagreement, the President decided to postpone a final decision. Meanwhile, the US has continued its campaign against the appointment.
(March 7 update: the post was taken from Sudan and given instead to Pakistan.)