U.N. Human Rights Council is now officially a joke

AFP In Geneva this week, any pretense of utility or fairness that clung to the United Nations Human Rights Council finally evaporated. By a decisive margin, the Council voted to end its examination of Iran and Uzbekistan despite worsening human rights records in both countries. Japan, South Korea, and Brazil were surprising votes in favor ...

602981_070338_unhrc_05.jpg
602981_070338_unhrc_05.jpg

AFP

In Geneva this week, any pretense of utility or fairness that clung to the United Nations Human Rights Council finally evaporated. By a decisive margin, the Council voted to end its examination of Iran and Uzbekistan despite worsening human rights records in both countries. Japan, South Korea, and Brazil were surprising votes in favor of the free passes; they had been supported more predictably by Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and Azerbaijan.

The sad irony is, the Council was actually conceived as an alternative to the now-defunct Human Rights Committee, which had been widely condemned for doing exactly what the new Council is doing now. The United States had been a leading advocate for reform, but refused to sit on the Council at its inception, fearing that it would degenerate into a talking shop that would aid and abet the worst violators.

AFP

In Geneva this week, any pretense of utility or fairness that clung to the United Nations Human Rights Council finally evaporated. By a decisive margin, the Council voted to end its examination of Iran and Uzbekistan despite worsening human rights records in both countries. Japan, South Korea, and Brazil were surprising votes in favor of the free passes; they had been supported more predictably by Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and Azerbaijan.

The sad irony is, the Council was actually conceived as an alternative to the now-defunct Human Rights Committee, which had been widely condemned for doing exactly what the new Council is doing now. The United States had been a leading advocate for reform, but refused to sit on the Council at its inception, fearing that it would degenerate into a talking shop that would aid and abet the worst violators.

That position is looking pretty prescient now. The Council has condemned Israel 8 times, but refused to pass judgment on even a single other regime. Regional blocs cover for their own, while tyrants point to the shortcomings of democracies to hide the fact that they aren’t even trying. All of which just goes to show the inherent weakness of a body that treats all of its members as formal equals in judging matters in which they manifestly are not. What results are mealy-mouthed excuses, like this drivel from Azerbaijan’s representative: 

Human rights as a concept itself is unfortunately a very much politicized matter. And of course, one if the ideas when the council was created, was to make sure that all members are elected by two-thirds of the UN General Assembly membership. And that means more than 100 countries. If you consider that someone elected by more than 100 countries is a bad country or a good country, it’s a very subjective view. And I think that what we have to do right now is to avoid dividing lines.

Eleanor Roosevelt would have been proud.

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