In the News: UN Watch Exposes UNHRC Election of Dictator States

On October 13, 2020, China, Cuba, Russia, Pakistan and other non-democracies won election to the UN Human Rights Council. UN Watch led the opposition campaign with a major report.

Before and after the results came in, UN Watch exposed the election of tyrannies to the UN’s highest human rights body. UN Watch was quoted by the Washington Post, Associated Press, BBC News, Newsweek and other major media — see below.

Even as apologists for UN immorality sought to justify the election of abusers, UN Watch’s viral tweets, embedded below, dominated the global conversation.

Quoting UN Watch: UN Elects Abusers to Human Rights Council

Newsweek:

“Electing these dictatorships as UN judges on human rights,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based watchdog group, “is like making a gang of arsonists into the fire brigade.”

Associated Press:

Last week, a coalition of human rights groups from Europe, the United States and Canada called on U.N. member states to oppose the election of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Pakistan and Uzbekistan, saying their human rights records make them “unqualified.”

“Electing these dictatorships as U.N. judges on human rights is like making a gang of arsonists into the fire brigade,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

The Geneva-based rights organization published a 30-page joint report with the Human Rights Foundation and the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights evaluating candidates for council seats. The report lists Bolivia, Ivory Coast, Nepal, Malawi, Mexico, Senegal and Ukraine — all winners — as having “questionable” credentials due to problematic human rights and U.N. voting records that need improvement. It gave “qualified” ratings only to the United Kingdom and France.

BBC News:

The NGO UN Watch took to Twitter to say this is the equivalent of allowing convicted arsonists to join the fire brigade and it released a 30-page report with two other NGOs. There are many allegations. This one targets China and says “It’s logically absurd and morally obscene that the UN is about to elect to its top human rights body a regime that herded 1 million Uighurs into camps, arrested, crushed and disappeared those who tried to sound the alarm about the coronavirus.”

UPI:

Hillel Neuer, executive director of the watchdog group UN Watch, bristled at the fact that China, Russia and Saudi Arabia were being considered.

“When these dictatorships win election to the U.N.’s highest human rights body — with the complicity of our leaders who refused to say a word — which victims of their persecution will you be thinking about? Let’s use this moral outrage to shine a spotlight on their victims,” Neuer tweeted.

UN Watch is the only U.N.-accredited watchdog.

“‘The situation is equivalent of allowing five convicted arsonists to join the fire brigade,” the group added.

Following the election on Tuesday, Neuer tweeted that Tuesday was “a black day for human rights.

“The inmates are running the asylum,” he said.

Washington Post:

“Electing these dictatorships as U.N. judges on human rights is like making a gang of arsonists into the fire brigade,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

Boston Globe:

“Electing these dictatorships as U.N. judges on human rights is like making a gang of arsonists into the fire brigade,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

BBC Radio 4:

Several human rights groups have called on UN members to think again. One, UN Watch, said it was like “making a gang of arsonists responsible for the fire brigade.”

The Times of London:

UN Watch, a Geneva-based monitoring group, said that allowing those countries on the council “is like making a gang of arsonists into the fire brigade”.

The Daily Telegraph:

Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based monitoring NGO, said: “It’s logically absurd and morally obscene that the UN is about to elect to its top human rights body a regime that herded one million Uighurs into camps, arrested [and] crushed … those who tried to sound the alarm about the coronavirus, and suffocated freedom in Hong Kong.” He added: “Saudi Arabia carried out a record 184 executions in 2019. Russia assassinates journalists and poisons dissidents. Cuba is a police state.”

The Guardian:

At a briefing organised by UN Watch, Yang Jianli, the president of Citizen Power Initiatives for China and a former political prisoner, said: “China was involved in the annihilation of political freedom in Hong Kong. By any standards China has grossly abused the UN human rights founding principles. If this were an election for a UN human rights abusers council, it would be more than proper to vote for China, since it leads the world in violating human rights.”

The Independent:

A briefing organised by UN Watch saw activists and dissidents speak out against the countries in the running for the council seats, all of whom highlighted abuses of power and lack of democratic freedom in the candidates.

National Review:

“Cuba is extremely active at the Human Rights Council in adopting numerous resolutions on behalf of dictatorships that seek to undermine the idea of individual human rights, accountability, and to promote a narrative that the dictatorships, that human rights abusers are victims of Western sanctions,” said Hillel Neuer, the director of U.N. Watch, a non-governmental organization that tracks the council’s activities, during a press conference on Friday.

An analysis by U.N. Watch, the Human Rights Foundation, and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights that examines the domestic human-rights situation and U.N. voting records of the 16 candidates finds that only two of them — France and the United Kingdom — are actually qualified to serve on the council.

Neuer’s preferred reform to the council is a simple one: Make every member of the General Assembly a member of the Human Rights Council. That way, winning election to the Council can’t be held up as an accomplishment as it currently is: “The moment after the election happens, you will see media in all of the countries that I mentioned and other countries that have abused human rights, you will see them proudly proclaiming how wonderful they are and how the international community chose them to be on the highest human-rights body.”

Le Figaro:

« Élire ces dictatures comme juges des Nations unies pour les droits de l’homme, c’est comme faire entrer une bande de pyromanes dans les rangs des pompiers », a déclaré Hillel Neuer, le directeur d’UN Watch, une ONG chargée de veiller au bon respect de la Charte de l’ONU sur les droits de l’homme.

« En fermant les yeux alors que les responsables de violation des droits de l’homme rejoignent facilement le Conseil de l’ONU et y imposent leurs idées, les grandes démocraties seront complices du déclin moral de l’organisation mondiale »

Bloomberg:

Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch, a nongovernmental watchdog organization, called it a “black day for human rights.”

“The United Nations Human Rights Council was founded to protect victims from human rights abuse. And yet they’ve just elected some of the world’s worst abusers,” he said.

Sky News:

If you think Russia and China have unblemished human rights records then today’s votes should not be that newsworthy.

Or you might think their appointment to the body is like letting arsonists into the fire brigade, in the words of UN Watch.

TRT World:

“Electing these dictatorships as UN judges on human rights is like making a gang of arsonists into the fire brigade,” said Hillel Neuer – executive director of UN Watch, an independent non-governmental human rights group based in Geneva – in a report on October 5.

Daily Express:

The Geneva-based group UN Watch branded the situation as equivalent to letting arsonists into the fire brigade due to the countries records on human rights abuses.

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