7 Problems with the Human Rights Council

  • 1

    Obsessed with demonizing Israel:

    • Permanent agenda item only for Israel. Israel is the only country at the Human Rights Council whose human rights record is examined under a special agenda item (No. 7), while all other countries’ records are scrutinized in the general debate.
    • More condemnatory resolutions than any other country. Each year, Israel is condemned in at least five annual resolutions and is the subject of at least five critical reports, while oppressive regimes like Iran, North Korea, and Belarus are criticized in only one resolution. Most of the world’s worst regimes are not subject to any criticism.
    • More special sessions than any other country. Israel has been the subject of more special sessions than any other country. Since the Human Rights Council was created, it has held 1 special session on Libya, 3 on Myanmar, 5 on Syria, and 9 on Israel.
    • More commissions of inquiry than any other country. Israel has been the subject of more commissions of inquiry than any other country. Since the Human Rights Council was created, it has created 1 commission of inquiry on North Korea, 2 on Libya, 2 on Myanmar, 2 on Syria, and 9 on Israel.
    • Discriminatory UN mandate. The UN human rights expert on Palestine is mandated only to investigate “Israel’s violations” of international law, and not violations by the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. Therefore, he routinely ignores abuses by Palestinian actors against the human rights of both Israelis and Palestinians, including Hamas rocket and terror attacks against Israelis, Palestinian Authority arbitrary arrest and torture of Palestinians, and Hamas torture and extrajudicial executions of Palestinians.
  • 2

    Grants impunity for most of the world’s worst regimes, adopting zero resolutions on gross human rights abuses perpetrated in, among others, Algeria, China, Cuba, Egypt, Gaza, Iraq, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, Zimbabwe.

  • 3

    Includes as members serial violators of human rights who use their position as a false badge of international legitimacy. Members have included China, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

  • 4

    Appoints anti-Western and pro-dictatorship figures as human rights experts. For example, Jean Ziegler who openly defends the Maduro regime, is the longest-serving council official. In 1989, he announced the creation of the “Moammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize,” which over the years was awarded to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan and, in 2002, to Ziegler himself. Similarly, UN expert Alfred de Zayas used his 2017 visit to Venezuela to praise the regime and post propaganda photos denying mass hunger in the country. UN expert Idriss Jazairy used his mandate to describe the regimes of Russia, Sudan and Syria as victims of Western sanctions.

  • 5

    Allows repressive regimes like China, Cuba and Venezuela to cheat their regular human rights reviews (known as Universal Periodic Review) by arranging for fake NGO submissions praising their governments’ human rights records.

  • 6

    Appoints dictatorships to leadership positions on key human rights panels. For example, in 2015, the Human Rights Council appointed Saudi Arabia to the Consultative Group, a 5-member group of ambassadors that has the power to select top officials, including an expert on women’s rights, who shape international human rights standards and report on violations worldwide.

  • 7

    Gives a global platform to dictators and their representatives. In November 2015, the Human Rights Council rolled out the red carpet for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro who delivered a 40-minute propaganda speech to a special Human Rights Council meeting, greeted by a standing ovation. In September 2018, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza was allowed to make a special address before the Human Rights Council where he told lies to deny his country’s human rights abuses. In February 2019, the Human Rights Council invited Iranian Vice President Laya Joneydi to address a high-level panel on multilateralism. The Iranian official used the platform to criticize America and the West.