NEW YORK, Nov. 8, 2012 — UN Watch, the Geneva-based non-governmental human rights group, called on UN chief Ban Ki-moon, rights commissioner Navi Pillay, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice and the EU’s Catherine Ashton to condemn today’s U.N. election of “genocidal, misogynistic and repressive” Sudan to its 54-member Economic and Social Council, a top U.N. body that regulates human rights groups, shapes the composition of key U.N. women’s rights bodies, and adopts resolutions on areas from Internet freedom to female genital mutilation.
“It’s an outrage,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “Electing genocidal Sudan to a global human rights body is like choosing Jack the Ripper to guard a women’s shelter. This diminishes the credibility of the United Nations human rights system and casts a shadow upon the reputation of the organization as a whole.”
ECOSOC is the sole principal organ under the UN Charter mandated to adopt resolutions for the purpose of “promoting respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.”
“Sudan, whose leader was indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity, will now help choose the members of the Commission on the Status of Women, the executive of UN Women, and UNICEF, which protects children’s rights,” said Neuer.
“Perhaps most importantly, ECOSOC is the body that accredits and oversees human rights groups at the UN, deciding who can participate at the UN Human Rights Council. The dominant influence of non-democracies has often led to the rejection or expulsion of human rights groups that dare to criticize China, Cuba or other repressive UN member states, and they have often barred gay rights NGOs.”
“There is no question that Sudan will be a malign influence. This is a terrible decision — and world leaders, who failed to prevent it, must at least now speak out for basic decency and morality in UN bodies.”
“We also protest the election of other countries that, while not genocidal, have poor or even terrible human rights records: Haiti, Tunisia, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Nepal.”
Recent ECOSOC annual sessions debated resolutions on the treatment of prisoners, Internet freedom, discrimination, gender equality and female genital mutilation.
ECOSOC decides which nations will sit on, among others, the UN’s Commission for Social Development, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Executive Board of the United Nations Children’s Fund and the Executive Board of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.