Voting for U.N. Rights Council Puts Focus on Records of Panel’s Member States – NYTimes.com

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.”

via Voting for U.N. Rights Council Puts Focus on Records of Panel’s Member States – NYTimes.com.

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2 thoughts on “Voting for U.N. Rights Council Puts Focus on Records of Panel’s Member States – NYTimes.com

  1. ctrmathias says:

    The United Nations needs a body that has some authority over Human Rights. However, the Human Rights Council seems to be going the same way as the Human Rights Commission, its predecessor. Mr. Halvorssen seems close to giving up hope on the body. My personal recommendations would be to have a panel for determining if states are eligible for membership in the Council. The panel would judge based on the states current stances on human rights. While some may complain about the loss of democracy, a committee dedicated to Human Rights must remain pure.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thor-halvorssen/chavez-and-nazarbayev-cel_b_2117825.html

  2. It looks like we’re not the only ones who need to remember to stay in character! After reading the article, the question I want answered is this: “Why do countries that violate human rights want to be on the Human Rights Council?” Is it just a question of relative morality – do some of them not realize — or not want to admit — that they are violating human rights, or do they just define them differently?

    A similar article a while back addressed differing views on freedom of speech among countries. This brings up a similar dilemma. If countries want democracy, they need to have free speech. If countries want to be on the Human Rights Council, they need to make some serious steps toward supporting those rights.

    And now for something completely different! Here’s an article about Putin’s own HRC:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/11/vladimir-putin-forms-his-own-human-rights-council/265128/

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