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Anorak | Syria on course to join UN’s Human Rights Council

Syria on course to join UN’s Human Rights Council

by | 5th, July 2012

WHAT do you think of the UN’s Human Rights Council? Indeed, which human’s rights are being protected? This is, after all, the board once chaired by  Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya. On it sit such luminaries of equality as China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The HRC website tells us:

“All victims of human rights abuses should be able to look to the Human Rights Council as a forum and a springboard for action.” – Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, 12 March 2007, Opening of the 4th Human Rights Council Session

On June 26, 2012, the UN reported:

In the reporting period, the human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic has deteriorated rapidly. Gross violations of human rights are occurring in the context of increasingly militarised fighting. In some areas the fighting bears the characteristics of a non-international armed conflict. The violence has shifted dramatically from confrontations between protesters and the Government‟s security apparatus to fighting between its army –together with what appear to be pro-Government militias – and numerous anti-Government armed groups…

What would you say to the news that Syria is actively pursuing a seat on the UN’s Human Rights Council? It is. A UN document “stresses that the current Syrian government’s announced candidacy for the Human Rights Council in 2014 fails to meet the standards for Council membership.”

Still, what odds that Syrai will get the nod? Well, they’re pretty high. HRC rules only permit a nation to serve two consecutive three-year terms. Last time out, it was agreed that Kuwait would get Syria’s berth. But what usually happens is that members of the U.N.’s five regional groups “nominate the same number of countries as there are seats available for their group, thus doing away with any contest”.

On July 2, we read:

The United Nations human rights chief today renewed her call on the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC), stressing the need to ensure accountability for the serious abuses committed by both sides in the ongoing conflict.

“In my view, both Government forces and armed opponents have been involved in actions harming civilians,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told reporters after a closed-door briefing to the Council.

Meanwhile:

…this past November Syria won unanimous election to two human rights committees of UNESCO, the U.N.’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Despite the suspension of Assad’s regime from the Arab League, the very same nations’ UNESCO ambassadors in Paris refused to allow objections to a country’s human rights record to interfere with their backroom rotation deals—lest one day the precedent be used against them. They nominated Syria, and it was duly elected.

So. What do you think of the UN?



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