Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): A coalition of non-governmental human rights groups from Europe, the U.S. and Canada called on UN member states to oppose the election of Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Eritrea, the Philippines and Somalia, which were deemed "unqualified" due to their human rights records, Scoop news website reported.
Abuses by those candidates are detailed in the 21-page joint NGO report published on Wednesday (October 10, 2018) by UN Watch, Human Rights Foundation and the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights, which is being circulated to UN diplomats.
Irwin Cotler, head of the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights, and former Canadian minister of justice, added: "Regrettably, when the UN itself ends up electing human rights violators to the Human Rights Council, it indulges the very of culture of impunity it is supposed to combat. The world's democracies must join in the preservation and protection of the Council's mandate, and not end up accomplices to its breach."
"The whole point of the 2006 reform, initiated by the late UN chief Kofi Annan, was to create competition that would weed out the worst abusers. Sadly, this was never respected, with current elected members including Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba, Burundi and Venezuela," said Hillel Neuer of the Geneva-based UN Watch.
"As made clear in our report, voting nations can and should refrain from electing rights abusers to the UN's highest human rights body. We need to hear the EU's Federica Mogherini and EU member states lead the call to oppose the worst abusers. So far, they have been silent."
"Regrettably," said Neuer, "the EU has not said a word about hypocritical candidacies that only 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 decline."
"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 UN's highest human rights body becomes a case of the foxes guarding the henhouse, the world's victims suffer," said Neuer.