US Ambassador Nikki Haley arrives for a Security Council meeting last month at UN headquarters in New York..
(photo credit: STEPHANIE KEITH/REUTERS)
The reelection of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the UN Human Rights Council is one more blow to its credibility, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said on Monday.
“Countries that aggressively violate human rights at home should not be in a position to guard the human rights of others. Human rights are too important to let a backward and broken system go unchecked and unreformed,” Haley said.
She spoke after the UN General Assembly elected 15 countries – including Qatar and Pakistan – for three-year terms to the UNHRC.
The other countries that will take up seats in 2018 are: Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Chile, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Peru, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine.
They replace the following countries: Botswana, Ghana, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Albania, Latvia, Bolivia, El Salvador, Paraguay, the Netherlands and Portugal.
“For the UN to elect Qatar, Congo or Pakistan as a world judge on human rights is like a making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, the executive director of the Geneva based NGO, UN Watch.
Neuer called for the UN to eliminate the secret ballot and make voting for membership in the 47-member council public. Barring that, he suggested that it would be better to make all UN member states members rather than electing countries that do not meet the council’s standards.
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Haley said that, “today’s election is yet another example of why the Human Rights Council lacks credibility and must be reformed in order to be saved.”
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country infamous for political suppression, violence against women and children, arbitrary arrest and detention, and unlawful killings and disappearances, has been elected to serve on what is supposed to be the world’s preeminent human rights body,” she said.
“The HRC cannot endure many more blows to its credibility before it is rendered absolutely meaningless,” she added.
The US, which is one of the body’s 47 member states, has warned that if may pull out of the UNHRC if it does undergo a serious process of reform, particularly regarding its bias against Israel.
The US and Israel are particularly concerned about UNHRC plans to publish a blacklist of international companies doing business with West Bank settlements, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
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