UN Elects Abusers to Human Rights Council: UN Watch

The U.N. watch group issued a report last week, opposing the election of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan to the U.N. Human Rights Council, calling for their human rights records to make them “unqualified” countries.

Unfortunately, these calls were ignored and on Tuesday, the U.N. General Assembly re-elected countries with a history of despotism or human rights abuses, such as China, Russia, and Cuba to serve three-year terms starting next year.

“Electing these dictatorships as U.N. judges on human rights is like making a gang of arsonists into the fire brigade,” Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, an independent human rights group based in Geneva, said in a statement.

He equated the country’s leaders to dictators and cited China’s abuses against the Uyghur ethnic group, Saudi Arabia’s nearly 200 executions last year—many of which were not for committing murder, Russia’s assassination of journalists, and communist Cuba for enforcing a police state.

In July, 53 countries at the United Nations, led by Cuba, came out in support of China’s national security law, a law that has seen the collapse freedom and of the rule of law in Hong Kong.

U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft called last year’s election of Venezuela, a country dogged by poverty and human rights abuses, to the council an “embarrassment.” Craft said that it “validates Trump’s decision to leave that deeply corrupted body.”

In 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the U.N. Human Rights Council citing its anti-Israel stance and membership rules, which allow the world’s worst human rights abusers to sit on the council and vote. The United States called on U.N. member states to take immediate steps to reform the council before it becomes impossible to rectify it.

Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., described the UN as “a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias,” posting on Twitter: “UN Human Rights Council is a total farce not worthy of its name or the United States giving it any credibility.”

Several U.S. lawmakers have voiced their opposition to the election results on Wednesday, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

“#China, #Russia, and #Cuba being elected to the @UN_HRC is a joke when you consider the egregious human rights violations they commit,” Rubio wrote.

The senator added: “This system is broken and it’s a tragedy with the number of urgent human rights challenges globally.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese mission welcomed the move, saying it “sincerely appreciates the strong support from the wide U.N. membership.”

U.S. Secretary Pompeo said the Human Rights Council had hit a “new low,” and noted that the elections only validated the United States’ decision to leave the council to use other venues and opportunities to protect and promote universal human rights.

“The United States’ commitment to human rights consists of far more than just words. Our commitments are spelled out clearly in the UN’s Declaration, and in our record of action. The United States is a force for good in the world, and always will be,” he said in an Oct. 13 statement.

Frank Fang contributed to this report