Outrage as China and Other Rights Abusers Elected to UNHRC Print
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The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has elected human rights abusers China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Cuba, and Vietnam to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), dealing a severe blow to the credibility and efficacy of a body that was supposed to improve on its discredited predecessor says UN Watch.

“This is a black day for human rights,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. The UN sent a message that politics trumps human rights, and it let down millions of victims worldwide who look to the world body for protection.”

Neuer said, “despite the much-vaunted 2006 reform — which scrapped the discredited human rights commission and created a new and supposedly improved council — today’s election of the world’s worst human rights abusers means that we are back to square one. Instead of reform, we have regression.”

The UN General Assembly elected 14 new members for the Human Rights Council. Among the 14 elected were 6 countries that UN Watch evaluated as unqualified for membership: Algeria, China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Vietnam. Their newfound membership of the UN’s top human rights body will be yet another occasion for these abusers to spew propaganda and silence dissidents and civil society – often the only ones who dare to tell the truth about these regimes.

China trumpets HRC election

“The Chinese government attaches great importance to the promotion and protection of human rights. It has made remarkable achievements and has vigorously developed international cooperation in the field of human rights …China is fully qualified to be elected as a member of the UN Human Rights Council. China’s election to the UN Human Rights Council Tuesday also serves as the international community’s acknowledgment of China’s significant achievements in the field of human rights.”

Wang Min, China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, 13 November 2013


“Allowing China to become a member of the UN Human Rights Council calls into question the Council's credibility. China's human rights record is well-documented. Numerous reports by the UN itself have highlighted degrading and inhumane treatment that is routine in China: forcible abortions, religious persecution, the oppression of minorities, etc. Former UN Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak stated that the use of torture in China is "widespread", and any attempts to discuss individual cases with the Chinese regime - such as that of disappeared but imprisoned human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng - are met with defiance, such as through the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue or any other such procedure.”

Edward McMillan-Scott, MEP
European Parliament Vice-President for Human Rights & Democracy

Human Rights Watch noted that five of the new council members  — China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Algeria — have refused to let U.N. investigators visit to check alleged abuses.

“Countries that haven’t allowed UN experts appointed by the council to visit have a lot of explaining to do,” said Peggy Hicks, global advocacy director of the New York-based non-government group. “It’s like hiring someone, then not allowing them to enter the office.”

Across the street from the main gate of UN headquarters, pro-Tibet activists hung a huge banner saying “China Fails Human Rights.”

Chen Guangcheng, Chinese rights activist and former political prisoner said ahead of the vote that China wants to join the UNHRC "not to promote human rights, but rather to prevent democracies from questioning their human rights record."

UN Watch is a Geneva-based human rights organization founded in 1993 to monitor UN compliance with the principles of its Charter. It is accredited as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and as an Associate NGO to the UN Department of Public Information.

Last Updated on Friday, 15 November 2013 23:49