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UN Human Rights Council’s newly elected members include dictatorships, authoritarian regimes

The Human Rights Foundation expressed its outrage at the election to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council of what it considers to be “some of the worst dictatorships and authoritarian regimes” in the world. The Foundation, in particular, frowned upon the election of Burundi, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, Togo, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

The council, created in 2006, is said to be “responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and making recommendations on them.” Just recently, 18 countries were selected to serve three-year terms on the council, beginning January.

However, several special interest groups, including the foundation, heavily criticized the U.N.’s selection, highlighting some of the chosen countries’ rampant abuses, including the repression of political opponents and civil society, censorship of independent media and corruption in state institutions.

The Ecuadorian government, for instance, sought to impose fines, sanctions and forced corrections against independent news outlets in order to expand the state’s control over media. In Venezuela, prominent political opponents of elected leader Nicolas Maduro are routinely subjected to persecution and arbitrary imprisonment.

The Washington Free Beacon, in detailing a highly likely repercussion of these countries’ inclusion, stated:

“Critics say that allowing authoritarian regimes to join the human rights council grants legitimacy to leaders who oppress their own people. Authoritarian governments often use their council seats to reject criticism of allies that commit abuses.

“For example, both Ecuador and Venezuela have voted against resolutions at the U.N. that condemned rights violations in Syria, Iran, and North Korea.”

Other notorious right abusers, such as China, Cuba and Russia, will continue to serve on the council. The United States, on the other had, will not be included, having already served two consecutive terms.


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