EVALUATION OF CANDIDATES FOR 2014-2016 MEMBERSHIP ON THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

Presented at United Nations Headquarters, New York, Nov. 4, 2013

Executive Summary

This report evaluates the 17 countries that have formally submitted candidacies for the November 12, 2013 election of 14 new members to the UN Human Rights Council. To evaluate qualifications we applied the membership criteria established by UNGA Resolution 60/251. In particular, we examined (a) each candidate’s record of domestic human rights protection; and (b) its UN voting record.The report finds as follows:
Not Qualified
7 candidates have poor records and fail to qualify:
Algeria, China, Cuba, Jordan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam
Questionable
6 candidates have problematic human rights and/or UN voting records:
Maldives, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, South Sudan, Uruguay
Qualified
Only 4 out of the 17 candidate countries are qualified to be Council members:
France, Macedonia, Mexico, UK
The absence of competition in both the Western and Eastern European groups are unfortunate, and undermine the premise and rationale for holding elections. Nevertheless, this report reminds UN member states that they have the right to refrain from voting for a non-qualified candidate such as Russia, even though it is running on a closed slate. Instead, as detailed in the report, during the ballot they can actually defeat such candidacies, and instead free up the process for qualified alternatives to come forward. We note several alternative candidacies for the relevant regional groups, who have better human rights and U.N. voting records:
Qualified Alternative Candidates
Africa: Cape Verde, Ghana, Zambia
Asia: Mongolia and East Timor
Eastern Europe: Hungary, Slovenia, Lithuania

In regard to candidate countries deemed Questionable, they should, at a minimum, be asked to commit to redress the shortcomings identified in this report.

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