The world’s top human rights body should only be composed of States who have a genuine commitment to protecting human rights. At the Human Rights Council elections to take place tomorrow in New York, UN Member States should refrain from voting for candidates that blatantly fail to uphold the highest standards of human rights and fail to fully cooperate with this Council.
The Human Rights Council’s credibility is grounded in its ability to take on members who share a common value: the belief that human rights are universal and that everyone – without exception – should enjoy them.
In October 2018, the UN General Assembly will hold elections for the Human Rights Council term 2019-2022. ISHR has prepared scorecards which provide a quick “at-a-glance” objective comparison of the candidates.
ISHR’s Human Rights Council Advocate, Salma El Hosseiny, said that electing States with abysmal human rights records undermines the legitimacy and credibility of the Council.
Over 40 organisations, including ISHR, have called on UN Member States to leave the ballot blank when voting for States that are unfit for Council membership.
“States such as Bahrain, Cameroon, Eritrea and the Philippines should not be elected to the Council, as they fail to fulfil the minimal requirements for promoting and protecting human rights and in cooperation with this Council and its mechanisms”, said El Hosseiny.
ISHR together with Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, the Asian Legal Resource Center and Forum-Asia, highlighted to the Council in a joint statement the dire human rights situations in these countries.
In Bahrain, the sweeping travel bans, arbitrary detention and reprisals against defenders engaging with the Council is a demonstration of the authorities’ systematic and gross human rights violations happening on the ground.
In Cameroon, government forces are responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, excessive use of force, and arbitrary detention. Despite the escalation of violence in the Anglophone region, with reports that armed elements have carried out kidnappings, targeted killings of police and local authorities, extortion and have torched schools, the government of Cameroon refuses to grant access to OHCHR to the Northwest and Southwest of the country.
In Eritrea, the authorities continue to commit grave human rights violations, including arbitrary arrest and detention as a form of punishment for legitimate and peaceful exercise of fundamental rights, and they have refused to cooperate with the country mandate.
The Philippines continues to target human rights defenders including UN mandate holders and has refused access to the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, despite the thousands of killings in the government’s ongoing ‘war on drugs’, and the lack of independent and impartial investigations in the country.
Olnar Ortiz Bolívar and Alexandra Lezama, human rights defenders from Venezuela, are attending the Human Rights Council 52nd session, where the Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela will present an oral update on the human rights situation in the country.
Human rights violations amounting to crimes against humanity have been carried out in Nicaragua, a group of UN independent experts have told the Human Rights Council. To investigate these crimes fully, the Colectivo 46/2 coalition calls for the two-years renewal of UN Human Rights Council resolution on Nicaragua.
The UN Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism presented the Human Rights Council with a report noting continued barriers for defenders working on albinism and calling for greater cooperation between civil society groups.
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