Issue 462: What's wrong with U.N.'s human rights council

What’s wrong with U.N.’s human rights council

October 31,2013
CNN Global Public Square

By Hillel Neuer

CNN Editor’s note: Hillel Neuer, an international lawyer, is the executive director of U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based NGO. The views expressed are his own.
Seven years after the United Nations promised to completely revamp its troubled human rights body, the upcoming election of notorious human rights violators underscores how the world’s most needy victims continue to be let down.

On November 12, the U.N. General Assembly, operating via back-room deals and political vote-trading, is almost certain to return China, Cuba, Russia, and Saudi Arabia to the 47-nation Human Rights Council, even though these regimes systematically violate virtually every article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Other non-democracies expected to win coveted seats include Algeria, Jordan, and Vietnam. While none of the United Nations’ 193 member states are blemish free, disregard for human rights are intrinsic to the very structure of the aforementioned governments.
With this in mind, a coalition of human rights groups led by U.N. Watch and the Human Rights Foundation will next week hear from some of the world’s most courageous champions of human rights – blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, Cuban dissident Rosa Maria Payá, Russian journalist Masha Gessen and Gulf Institute director Ali Al-Ahmed – who will urge the United States and EU to take action…
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