For idealists who view the Human Rights Council as flawed but necessary, this raises the argument that perhaps this body is irredeemable?
With each speaker, frustration about Venezuela, Pakistan and Kazakhstan joining the Human Rights Council became more palpable. But some, like Thor Halvorssen, the president of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, remained hopeful that the system could be reformed. “It is up to the news media and civil society groups to point out the contradictions within the Human Rights Council,” Mr. Halvorssen said.
But some think reform is a lost cause. Critics of the council say the election system is flawed, giving equal say to all countries in the General Assembly, regardless of their record. “That’s the problem with using the U.N. to address human-rights problems,” wrote Joel Brinkley, a professor of journalism at Stanford and former foreign correspondent for The Times, in an op-ed in July. “Every single state in the world, even the most reprehensible, is an equal member.”
Once they gain membership, repressive states use the council to craft Orwellian resolutions that seek to protect their political control under the banners of national sovereignty and international respect. “The council is irredeemable,” Mr. Brinkley wrote. “It’s time the U.S. dropped out.”