Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Syria Vies For Seat on UN Human Rights Council


Syrian demonstrators against torture.
International Human Rights Day, 2009. Reuters

From the latest press release by UN Watch, "One week after Col. Muammar Qaddafi's regime was suspended from the U.N.'s 47-nation Human Rights Council for "gross and systematic" violations, the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad declared it is running for a seat, in the upcoming May 20th elections."

Further -- and you gotta hand it to Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch for managing to contain his incredulity: 

"UN Watch called on the U.S. and the EU to lead a vigorous campaign to defeat Syria's candidacy, and to ensure there will be competition on the Asian slate of candidates. Currently, there are only three declared candidates for the four alloted seats.

"Last year, the democracies fought a successful campaign to defeat Iran, and persuaded other countries to compete. Yet they said and did absolutely nothing on Libya -- perhaps due to lucrative oil and business deals -- and Qaddafi won by a landslide. It's vital this year that the US and the EU announce early that they are opposed to having the oppressive Ba'athist regime of Bashar Assad judging the world on human rights," said Neuer.
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"Neuer said that Syria clearly failed to meet the criteria of UNGA Resolution 60/251, which established the UN Human Rights Council in 2006.  General Assembly members are obliged to elect states to the Council by "tak[ing] into account the candidates’ contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights and their voluntary pledges and commitments made thereto." The resolution also provides that consideration ought to be given to whether the candidate can meet the obligations of Council membership, which include (a) to "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights" and (b) to "fully cooperate with the Council."

So, question: can we really expect the UN to do the right thing here? I doubt it.

H/T: Elder

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