Is the UN living up to its founding principles ?

This UN Watch database monitors the actions and composition of key UN bodies, highlighting the pernicious elevation of dictatorships to high positions, and the world body’s peculiar obsession with scapegoating Israel.

Scroll down for key facts

Dictatorships on UN bodies

Absurdly, repressive regimes are routinely elected to key UN bodies mandated to protect human rights (Human Rights Council), promote women’s rights and gender equality (UN Women & Commission on the Status of Women), promote education and protect freedom of the press (UNESCO), and oversee the work of human rights groups (Committee on NGOs).

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Human Rights Council logo

Human Rights Council

The Human Rights Council is responsible for ensuring protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, and addressing human rights violations, including “gross and systematic violations.” Its work is supposed to be guided by principles of “universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity.”

Members

  • Eritrea
    Eritrea
  • Libya
    Libya
  • Pakistan
    Pakistan
  • Qatar
    Qatar
  • Somalia
    Somalia
  • Sudan
    Sudan
  • Venezuela
    Venezuela
  • Afghanistan
    Afghanistan
  • Angola
    Angola
  • Bahrain
    Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
    Bangladesh
  • Burkina Faso
    Burkina Faso

Percentage of Non-democracies

53%

Percentage of Non-democracies

Non-democracies

7 Problems with the Human Rights Council
Commission on the Status of Women logo

Commission on the Status of Women

The Commission on the Status of Women is the 45-nation intergovernmental body that is exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

At its annual two-week session, representatives of UN member states, civil society organizations and UN entities gather to discuss progress and gaps in the implementation of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the key global policy document on gender equality, as well as emerging issues that affect gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Members

  • Belarus
    Belarus
  • China
    China
  • Cuba
    Cuba
  • Equatorial Guinea
    Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
    Eritrea
  • Qatar
    Qatar
  • Russia
    Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
    Saudi Arabia
  • Algeria
    Algeria
  • Bahrain
    Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
    Bangladesh
  • Iraq
    Iraq

Percentage of Non-democracies

58%

Percentage of Non-democracies

Non-democracies

3 Problems with the Commission on the Status of Women
Committee on NGOs logo

Committee on NGOs

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations is a 19-nation standing committee of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), established in 1946. It accredits and oversees the work of non-governmental human rights groups at the UN, and has the power to grant and suspend their UN credentials.

Members

  • Burundi
    Burundi
  • China
    China
  • Cuba
    Cuba
  • Libya
    Libya
  • Pakistan
    Pakistan
  • Russia
    Russia
  • Sudan
    Sudan
  • Turkey
    Turkey
  • Bahrain
    Bahrain
  • Nicaragua
    Nicaragua
  • Nigeria
    Nigeria
  • Brazil
    Brazil

Percentage of Non-democracies

68%

Percentage of Non-democracies

Non-democracies

3 Problems with the Committee on NGOs
UN Women Executive Board logo

UN Women

UN Women is a UN agency of 2,000 employees, working in a global network of country offices, dedicated to women’s equality and empowerment. It supports UN member states in setting global standards for achieving gender equality. The 41-nation Executive Board governs the operational activities of UN Women and provides it with operational policy guidance.

Executive Board Members

  • Burundi
    Burundi
  • China
    China
  • Cuba
    Cuba
  • Equatorial Guinea
    Equatorial Guinea
  • Russia
    Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
    Saudi Arabia
  • Turkey
    Turkey
  • Angola
    Angola
  • Bangladesh
    Bangladesh
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
    Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Kazakhstan
    Kazakhstan
  • Lebanon
    Lebanon

Percentage of Non-democracies

55%

Percentage of Non-democracies

Non-democracies

3 Problems with UN Women
UNESCO logo

UNESCO

UNESCO’s mandate is to promote peace through education, science, and culture, and is most famous for its world heritage designations.

UNESCO also has a human rights committee (Committee on Conventions and Recommendations), that rules on individual human rights complaints where a government is alleged to have violated freedom of speech, opinion, thought, conscience, assembly or association. The 58-nation Executive Board is responsible for the overall management of UNESCO, including its program of work and budget.

Executive Board Members

  • Belarus
    Belarus
  • Burundi
    Burundi
  • China
    China
  • Cuba
    Cuba
  • Egypt
    Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
    Equatorial Guinea
  • Pakistan
    Pakistan
  • Russia
    Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
    Saudi Arabia
  • Turkey
    Turkey
  • Venezuela
    Venezuela
  • Zimbabwe
    Zimbabwe

Percentage of Non-democracies

60%

Percentage of Non-democracies

Non-democracies

3 Problems with UNESCO

Members of UNESCO Executive Board (211)

  • Human Rights Council47
    • Eritrea
      Eritrea
    • Libya
      Libya
    • Pakistan
      Pakistan
    • Qatar
      Qatar
    • Somalia
      Somalia
    • Sudan
      Sudan
    • Venezuela
      Venezuela
    • Afghanistan
      Afghanistan
    • Angola
      Angola
    • Bahrain
      Bahrain
    • Bangladesh
      Bangladesh
    • Burkina Faso
      Burkina Faso
    • Cameroon
      Cameroon
    • Democratic Republic of Congo
      Democratic Republic of Congo
    • Mauritania
      Mauritania
    • Nigeria
      Nigeria
    • Philippines
      Philippines
    • Argentina
      Argentina
    • Armenia
      Armenia
    • Australia
      Australia
    • Austria
      Austria
    • Bahamas
      Bahamas
    • Brazil
      Brazil
    • Bulgaria
      Bulgaria
    • Chile
      Chile
    • Czech Republic
      Czech Republic
    • Denmark
      Denmark
    • Fiji
      Fiji
    • Germany
      Germany
    • India
      India
    • Indonesia
      Indonesia
    • Italy
      Italy
    • Japan
      Japan
    • Marshall Islands
      Marshall Islands
    • Mexico
      Mexico
    • Namibia
      Namibia
    • Nepal
      Nepal
    • Netherlands
      Netherlands
    • Peru
      Peru
    • Poland
      Poland
    • Senegal
      Senegal
    • Slovakia
      Slovakia
    • South Korea
      South Korea
    • Spain
      Spain
    • Togo
      Togo
    • Ukraine
      Ukraine
    • Uruguay
      Uruguay

  • Commission on the Status of Women45
    • Belarus
      Belarus
    • China
      China
    • Cuba
      Cuba
    • Equatorial Guinea
      Equatorial Guinea
    • Eritrea
      Eritrea
    • Qatar
      Qatar
    • Russia
      Russia
    • Saudi Arabia
      Saudi Arabia
    • Algeria
      Algeria
    • Bahrain
      Bahrain
    • Bangladesh
      Bangladesh
    • Iraq
      Iraq
    • Kuwait
      Kuwait
    • Malaysia
      Malaysia
    • Nicaragua
      Nicaragua
    • Niger
      Niger
    • Nigeria
      Nigeria
    • Turkmenistan
      Turkmenistan
    • Armenia
      Armenia
    • Australia
      Australia
    • Brazil
      Brazil
    • Canada
      Canada
    • Chile
      Chile
    • Comoros
      Comoros
    • Congo
      Congo
    • Ecuador
      Ecuador
    • Estonia
      Estonia
    • Germany
      Germany
    • Ghana
      Ghana
    • Guatemala
      Guatemala
    • Haiti
      Haiti
    • Ireland
      Ireland
    • Israel
      Israel
    • Japan
      Japan
    • Kenya
      Kenya
    • Namibia
      Namibia
    • Norway
      Norway
    • Peru
      Peru
    • South Africa
      South Africa
    • South Korea
      South Korea
    • Togo
      Togo
    • Trinidad and Tobago
      Trinidad and Tobago
    • Tunisia
      Tunisia
    • United Kingdom
      United Kingdom
    • United States
      United States

  • Committee on NGOs19
    • Burundi
      Burundi
    • China
      China
    • Cuba
      Cuba
    • Libya
      Libya
    • Pakistan
      Pakistan
    • Russia
      Russia
    • Sudan
      Sudan
    • Turkey
      Turkey
    • Bahrain
      Bahrain
    • Nicaragua
      Nicaragua
    • Nigeria
      Nigeria
    • Brazil
      Brazil
    • Estonia
      Estonia
    • Greece
      Greece
    • India
      India
    • Israel
      Israel
    • Mexico
      Mexico
    • Swaziland
      Swaziland
    • United States
      United States

  • UN Women Executive Board42
    • Burundi
      Burundi
    • China
      China
    • Cuba
      Cuba
    • Equatorial Guinea
      Equatorial Guinea
    • Russia
      Russia
    • Saudi Arabia
      Saudi Arabia
    • Turkey
      Turkey
    • Angola
      Angola
    • Bangladesh
      Bangladesh
    • Democratic Republic of Congo
      Democratic Republic of Congo
    • Kazakhstan
      Kazakhstan
    • Lebanon
      Lebanon
    • Nigeria
      Nigeria
    • Argentina
      Argentina
    • Belgium
      Belgium
    • Brazil
      Brazil
    • Canada
      Canada
    • Chile
      Chile
    • Colombia
      Colombia
    • Finland
      Finland
    • Georgia
      Georgia
    • Germany
      Germany
    • Ghana
      Ghana
    • Hungary
      Hungary
    • India
      India
    • Ireland
      Ireland
    • Japan
      Japan
    • Kenya
      Kenya
    • Lithuania
      Lithuania
    • Madagascar
      Madagascar
    • Mexico
      Mexico
    • Mongolia
      Mongolia
    • Morocco
      Morocco
    • Nepal
      Nepal
    • New Zealand
      New Zealand
    • Senegal
      Senegal
    • Sierra Leone
      Sierra Leone
    • South Korea
      South Korea
    • Sweden
      Sweden
    • Switzerland
      Switzerland
    • United Kingdom
      United Kingdom
    • United States
      United States

  • UNESCO58
    • Belarus
      Belarus
    • Burundi
      Burundi
    • China
      China
    • Cuba
      Cuba
    • Egypt
      Egypt
    • Equatorial Guinea
      Equatorial Guinea
    • Pakistan
      Pakistan
    • Russia
      Russia
    • Saudi Arabia
      Saudi Arabia
    • Turkey
      Turkey
    • Venezuela
      Venezuela
    • Zimbabwe
      Zimbabwe
    • Afghanistan
      Afghanistan
    • Bangladesh
      Bangladesh
    • Democratic Republic of Congo
      Democratic Republic of Congo
    • Jordan
      Jordan
    • Kyrgyzstan
      Kyrgyzstan
    • Philippines
      Philippines
    • United Arab Emirates
      United Arab Emirates
    • Albania
      Albania
    • Argentina
      Argentina
    • Benin
      Benin
    • Brazil
      Brazil
    • Bulgaria
      Bulgaria
    • Dominican Republic
      Dominican Republic
    • Ethiopia
      Ethiopia
    • Finland
      Finland
    • France
      France
    • Germany
      Germany
    • Ghana
      Ghana
    • Grenada
      Grenada
    • Guinea
      Guinea
    • Hungary
      Hungary
    • India
      India
    • Indonesia
      Indonesia
    • Italy
      Italy
    • Jamaica
      Jamaica
    • Japan
      Japan
    • Kenya
      Kenya
    • Madagascar
      Madagascar
    • Morocco
      Morocco
    • Myanmar
      Myanmar
    • Namibia
      Namibia
    • Netherlands
      Netherlands
    • Poland
      Poland
    • Portugal
      Portugal
    • Senegal
      Senegal
    • Serbia
      Serbia
    • South Korea
      South Korea
    • Spain
      Spain
    • St. Lucia
      St. Lucia
    • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
      St. Vincent and the Grenadines
    • Switzerland
      Switzerland
    • Thailand
      Thailand
    • Togo
      Togo
    • Tunisia
      Tunisia
    • Uruguay
      Uruguay
    • Zambia
      Zambia

UN resolutions disproportionately condemn Israel

Key UN bodies that pronounce themselves on human rights and international law — including the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, and the Commission on the Status of Women — fail to uphold founding UN principles of equality and universality. The numbers alone reveal the UN’s irrational obsession with one nation. Even those who deem Israel deserving of criticism cannot dispute that this amounts to an extreme case of selective prosecution. When universal standards are applied so selectively, they cease to become standards at all. And by disproportionately focusing on Israel to such an extreme degree, the UN neglects the plight of millions of human rights victims around the world. The data here shows a selection of countries. For information on others, please visit the Country Info page shown on the menu.

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  • General Assembly Condemnatory Resolutions: 2015 - present

    • 0
      Israel
    • 0
      Iran
    • 0
      North Korea
    • 0
      Syria
    • 0
      Myanmar
    • 0
      Russia
    • 0
      United States
    • 0
      China
    • 0
      Cuba
    • 0
      Qatar
    • 0
      Libya
    • 0
      Turkey
    • 0
      Pakistan
    • 0
      Venezuela
    • 0
      Zimbabwe
  • Human Rights Council Condemnatory Resolutions: 2006 - present

    • 0
      Israel
    • 0
      Syria
    • 0
      North Korea
    • 0
      Iran
    • 0
      Cuba
    • 0
      Eritrea
    • 0
      Sudan
    • 0
      Venezuela
    • 0
      China
    • 0
      Russia
    • 0
      Pakistan
    • 0
      Qatar
    • 0
      Saudi Arabia
    • 0
      Turkey
    • 0
      Zimbabwe
  • Commission on the Status of Women Condemnatory Resolutions: 2015 - present

    • 0
      Israel
    • 0
      Iran
    • 0
      Saudi Arabia
    • 0
      Yemen
    • 0
      Pakistan
    • 0
      Syria
    • 0
      Qatar
    • 0
      Turkey
    • 0
      Mauritania
    • 0
      Egypt
    • 0
      Jordan
    • 0
      Morocco
    • 0
      Lebanon
    • 0
      Mali
    • 0
      Chad

Tone of UN resolution

What makes UN resolutions on Israel different from virtually every other country-specific resolution is that they are suffused with political hyperbole, selective reporting, and the systematic suppression of any countervailing facts that might provide balance in background information or context. By contrast, resolutions on other countries tend to be diplomatic, deferential and often contain praise. For example, even Human Rights Council resolutions on a perpetrator of atrocities such as Sudan—at the time when its now-former president, Omar al-Bashir, was wanted for genocide by the International Criminal Court—routinely included language praising and commending Khartoum, and urging international aid funds for its government.

  • Sudan flag

    "Commends the hosting by the Sudan of more..." (A/HRC/RES/39/22).

    isareli flag

    "Condemning all violations of human rights and of international..." (A/HRC/RES/37/37).

  • Burundi flag

    "Welcoming the announcement of the President of Burundi..." (A/HRC/RES/39/14).

    isareli flag

    "Condemns in the strongest terms the widespread..." (A/HRC/RES/S-21/1).

  • North Korea flag

    "Acknowledging the participation of North Korea in the..." (A/HRC/RES/37/28).

    isareli flag

    "Strongly condemns the ongoing Israeli military operation..." (A/HRC/RES/S-9/1).

  • Eritrea flag

    "Welcoming the action taken by Eritrea to protect..." (A/HRC/RES/38/15).

    isareli flag

    "Deploring the plight of millions of Palestine refugees..." (A/HRC/RES/37/34).

  • Democratic Republic of Congo flag

    "Notes with satisfaction the efforts made by the Government of the DRC..." (A/HRC/RES/39/20).

    isareli flag

    "Expressing grave concern at the continuing violation of [IHL]..." (A/HRC/RES/40/23).

  • Belarus flag

    "Welcomes the adoption by the Government of Belarus..." (A/HRC/RES/38/14).

    isareli flag

    "Condemns the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli..." (A/HRC/RES/S-28/1).

  • Myanmar flag

    "Welcomes the positive developments in Myanmar towards..." (A/HRC/RES/37/32).

    isareli flag

    "Expressing grave concern at the continuing construction by Israel of the wall..." (A/HRC/RES/40/24).

  • Sri Lanka flag

    "Welcoming the successful rehabilitation of reintegration of former ..." (A/HRC/RES/S-11/1).

    isareli flag

    "Deploring the announcement by the Israeli occupying authorities..." (A/HRC/RES/40/21).

  • "As secretary general of the United Nations, I consider that the state of Israel needs to be treated as any other state. I have already had the opportunity to show that I'm ready to abide by that principle even when that forces me to take some decisions that create some uncomfortable situations."

    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

    April 2017

  • "Decades of political maneuverings have created a disproportionate volume of resolutions, reports and conferences criticizing Israel. In many cases, rather than helping the Palestinian cause, this reality has hampered the ability of the UN to fulfill its role effectively."

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

    December 2016

  • "Supporters of Israel feel that it is harshly judged, by standards that are not applied to its enemies — and too often this is true, particularly in some UN bodies."

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

    September 2006

  • "The intense focus given to some of Israel's actions, while other situations sometimes fail to elicit the similar outrage [has] given a regrettable impression of bias and one-sidedness."

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

    December 1999

  • "[The UN Human Rights Commission has been] increasingly undermined by its declining credibility and professionalism. In particular, States have sought membership of the Commission not to strengthen human rights but to protect themselves against criticism or to criticize others. As a result, a credibility deficit has developed, which casts a shadow on the reputation of the United Nations system as a whole."

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

    March 2005

Key UN data on countries

Find out how your country votes on Israel, how many times it has been criticized by the UN, and on which UN human rights bodies it currently serves.

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