Rights groups to oppose bids by Pakistan and Venezuela for UN Human Rights Council.
The governments of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Pakistan are slated to run unopposed for seats on the UN’s 47-nation Human Rights Council this year, reported the independent monitoring group UN Watch, citing sources close to the UN.
“It’s an outrage,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, who announced the formation of an international coalition of parliamentarians and human rights groups to block both candidacies, “due to their poor records on human rights protection at home and on human rights promotion at the UN.”
Last year, UN Watch exposed Syria’s candidacy to the council, and initiated a diplomatic campaign that pressured Damascus to drop its bid at the last minute. The non-governmental watchdog also led a successful campaign of 70 groups to remove Libya’s Qaddafi regime from the council.
Neuer said that Venezuela and Pakistan were among the few states condemned for gross human rights violations at a recent summit of human rights dissidents, organized by UN Watch and 25 other human rights groups. The resolutions adopted on both countries are being circulated to UN diplomats in hopes they will be addressed at the council’s opening 2012 session next week.
“These are hypocritical candidacies. Chavez throws judges and critics in jail, bullies young student activists and uses his UN vote to shield the atrocities of others. Venezuela just voted against UN action on the horrific massacres perpetrated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,” said Neuer.
“Pakistan persecutes religious minorities, including Sufis, Shiites, Ahmadis and Christians. Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, is on death row in Pakistan under Pakistan’s medieval blasphemy law. Pakistan’s judicial system punishes women who are victimized by rape instead of the rapists. That Pakistan might judge others on human rights is appalling.”
For more, please read UN Watch Briefing, Vol. 345.