Rights Group: New Report Shows UN Rights Council Shielding Worst Abusers, “Foxes Guarding the Chickens”

U.S. Urged to Reject HRC Resolutions in Today’s General Assembly Vote                          

NEW YORK, December 10 – As the UN General Assembly was set today to approve the Human Rights Council’s past year of resolutions, a Geneva-based human rights watchdog called on the U.S. and other democracies to vote in opposition, and claimed in a report that 18 of its key resolutions were contrary to basic human rights principles. Click here for 2009 UNHRC Key Actions chart.

“Paradoxically, as our report today shows, the U.N.’s main human rights body has turned into the world’s leading sponsor of impunity for gross human rights abuses worldwide,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

“It’s a case of the foxes guarding the chickens, with countries like China, Russia, Pakistan, Cuba and Saudi Arabia shielding each other’s abuses. Democracies should send a signal by opposing the council’s resolutions, even if they will be outvoted.”

UN Watch analyzed 30 of the key votes by the UN Human Rights Council in the past year, and found that a majority of 18 were counterproductive, including resolutions that praised Sri Lanka after it killed an estimated 20,000 civilians, and that praised Sudan for “progress” on human rights.

Other resolutions sought to restrict the independence of mechanisms that scrutinize countries for violations, such as the office of the High Commissioner and independent monitors.

In addition, UN Watch’s report shows that the council failed to address the world’s worst human rights violations. Of the 20 worst violators on Freedom House’s annual survey, the council censured only Burma (Myanmar) and North Korea.

While it did adopt two resolutions on Sudan, these were non-condemnatory, weak, and ineffective, praising Sudan for its “progress” on human rights. Somalia’s violations were addressed as a matter of mere “technical consideration.”

Even worse, the council failed to adopt any resolution, special session or investigative mandate for Belarus, China, Cuba, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Laos, Libya, Morocco, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan or Zimbabwe, all on Freedom House’s list of the world’s worst abusers. Despite ongoing massive abuses in Iran, the council has taken no action whatsoever.

With the exceptions of Burma and North Korea, virtually all of the council’s condemnatory actions in the past year were targeted against Israel, in resolutions that critics say did not address Hamas attacks or the actions of Syria or Iran.

Click here for chart on “2009: How UNHRC Addressed Worst Abusers.”

UN Watch