- The United Nations today elected the Islamic Republic of Iran and more
than a dozen other repressive regimes to top committees charged with
protecting women’s rights and with overseeing the work of human rights
organizations, according to an exclusive report by UN Watch, a
non-governmental Geneva-based human rights group. Human rights activists
are expressing outrage.
is a black day for human rights,” said Hillel Neuer,
executive director of UN Watch. “By empowering the perpetrators over
the victims, the UN harms the cause of human rights, betrays its
founding principles, and undermines its own credibility.”
society loses as repressive states win election,” said the
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR).
the sharp condemnation of
Iran’s human rights record by UN chief Ban Ki-moon—who recently
reported how women in Iran are “subject to discrimination, entrenched
both in law and in practice” and how “women’s rights activists
continue to face arrest and persecution”— the UN Economic and Social
Council (ECOSOC) in New York today elected Iran to a four-year term on
its 45-nation Commission on the Status of Women, the principal
intergovernmental body dedicated to protecting women’s rights.
Equitorial Guinea was among other dictatorships also named to the global
gender equality panel.
in a separate vote today, the UN additionally rewarded Iran by making
the regime a member of its powerful 19-nation Committee on NGOs, a
coveted position because it allows governments to silence criticism by
acting as the gatekeeper and overseer of all human rights groups that
seek to work inside the world body.
egregious human rights abusers elected to the influential panel include
Azerbaijan, China, Cuba, slave-holding Mauritania,
Russia, and Sudan, whose leader, President Omar al-Bashir, is wanted by
the ICC for genocide. All were deemed “not free” in the 2014 annual
survey by Freedom House.
Guinea, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Turkey, Venezuela, flagged as problematic
and only “partly free” by Freedom House, were also elected.
of Today’s Election: What This Means for NGOs
had warned earlier this
month that the failure of democracies to throw their hat in the ring
would mean that “the Committee’s membership will worsen considerably
during the next term” and severely harm the freedom of NGOs—even as
it praised the election of
Greece, Israel, South Africa, Uruguay, and the U.S., countries ranked by the ISHR as
“strong, pro civil society candidates,” but who now constitute a
UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer
said that NGOs within the UN are now increasingly under threat, citing
an incident from last month, as reported in a series of New York
Times articles, of how UN
security officers protected a UN Watch delegate, daughter of jailed
Chinese dissident Wang Bingzhang, from a spying attempt by a
Beijing-backed organization bearing NGO credentials.
“The very UN committee that is meant to
judge our complaint against this dangerous front group is now stacked
more than ever before by China, Sudan and their non-democratic allies,
who control some 70 percent of the seats. When the criminals are made
the judges—the arsonists named as fire-fighters—it’s a travesty of
justice. The crucial role of civil society within the world body is
being eroded, its voice at risk of being silenced,” said Neuer.
“Tragically, the UN’s election today of
regimes such as Iran, Sudan and Mauritania—governments that rape and
torture political prisoners, subjugate women, and commit crimes against
humanity from slavery to genocide—sends a message that crass politics
trumps basic human rights. The UN is letting down millions of victims
around the globe who look to the world body for vital protection,”
Original Source: http://www.unwatch.org/site/c.bdKKISNqEmG/b.1277549/k.D7FE/UN_Watch__Monitoring_the_UN_Promoting_Human_Rights.htm
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