Congo, Kuwait, Nicaragua don’t belong on UN rights council


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As submitted to UNGA member states on May 17, 2011. To be presented in a press briefing United at Nations Headquarters, New York, May 19, 2011.

Executive Summary

This report assesses each candidate country’s record of domestic human rights protection and its UN voting record, based on the criteria for UN Human Rights Council membership established by UNGA Resolution 60/251 (2006). We find that only 10 out of 17 candidate countries are qualified. Three candidates have poor records and are not qualified to be Council members. Four countries fall somewhere in between, with qualifications that are questionable.

Not Qualified: Congo, Kuwait*, Nicaragua

Questionable: Burkina Faso, India, Indonesia, Philippines

Qualified: Austria, Benin, Botswana, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Georgia, Italy, Peru, Romania

The absence of competition in three out of the five regional lists calls into question the very premise and rationale of the election. Nevertheless, UNGA member states can—and should—refrain from casting their votes for countries that are not qualified. Candidate countries with questionable credentials should, at a minimum, be asked to commit to redress the shortcomings—in their human rights record and their UN voting records—as identified in this report.

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* All reports say that Kuwait will run instead of Syria. However, as of May 17, the UN website still lists Syria as a candidate, and Kuwait’s name is yet to appear:

UN Watch