Maldives, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, South Sudan, Uruguay are
GENEVA, – As the U.N. prepares to elect 14 nations next week to its
highest human rights body, a coalition of non-governmental human rights
groups sent a letter today to U.S.
Ambassador Samantha Power and EU foreign affairs commissioner Catherine
Ashton urging them to oppose the candidacies of China, Cuba, Russia,
Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Jordan, and Vietnam, which were found to be "Not
Qualified" under the U.N.'s own membership criteria, in a report being
presented right now at a UN breifing in New York before media, diplomats
and human rights activists.
The qualifications of Maldives, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, South
Sudan, Uruguay were deemed "questionable" based on problematic human
right records or in their UN voting records.
The evaluations were published today by two non-governmental
organizations, the Geneva-based UN Watch and Human Rights Foundation,
and are being presented this afternoon at a UN Headquarters briefing
before diplomats, journalists, and NGO activists.
"China, Cuba, Russia, and Saudi Arabia systematically violate the human
rights of their own citizens," said UN Watch executive director Hillel
Neuer, "and they consistently vote the wrong way on UN initiatives to
protect the human rights of others."
"For the UN to elect Saudi Arabia as a world judge on human rights would
be like a town making a pyromaniac into chief of the fire department."
With the release of the report, an international coalition of 20 NGOs
and MPs today appealed to the U.S. and the EU to take action.
"Regrettably," said Neuer, "so far neither the U.S. nor the EU have said
a word about hypocritical candidacies that will undermine the
credibility and effectiveness of the UN human rights system. By turning
a blind eye as human rights violators easily join and subvert the
council, leading democracies will be complicit in the world body's moral
"It will be an insult to their political prisoners and many other
victims—and a defeat for the global cause of human rights—if the UN
helps gross abusers act as champions and global judges of human rights.
When the U.N.'s highest human rights body becomes a case of the foxes
guarding the henhouse, the world's victims suffer," said Neuer.
Today's press briefing by UN Watch and Human Rights Foundation—under way
now and being tweeted live here—is featuring courageous champions of
human rights pleading against the election of their oppressors:
Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese civil rights activist who escaped house
arrest in 2012 after being detained for organizing a lawsuit against
Ali al-Ahmed, a Saudi scholar and political analyst who was arrested as
a teenager because of his family members' political activity;
Masha Gessen, a Russian journalist, author, and LGBT rights activist
forced to flee her country with her family after a crackdown on same-sex
Rosa Maria Payá, a human rights advocate from Cuba leading a campaign to
launch an investigation into the death of her father, the late civil
society activist Oswaldo Payá; and
Yang Jianli, a Chinese scholar, pro-democracy advocate, and former
political prisoner, who presented a petition against China's bid for a
seat on the UNHRC.
Human Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen and UN Watch executive
director Hillel Neuer jointly present their report evaluating the
countries that have submitted candidacies for the November 12 election
of new members to the UNHRC.
Click here for PDF of the full report:
Source: "NGOs Release Report Urging EU & US to Oppose China, Russia,
Cuba & Saudi Arabia" – http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/59023