Venezuela wins seat on UN Human Rights Council in spite of opposition


Venezuela won a contested election for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday in spite of a campaign by more than 50 organizations and quite a few nations opposed to Nicolas Maduro’s government and its rights record.

There was scattered applause in the Common Assembly chamber when its president announced the final results of the voting for two Latin American seats.

Brazil topped the ballot with 153 votes followed by Venezuela with 105 votes and late entry Costa Rica with 96.

The 193-member globe physique elected 14 members to the 47-member Human Rights Council for 3-year terms beginning Jan. 1. Beneath its guidelines, seats are allocated to regions to guarantee geographical representation.

In other contested races, Iraq lost out in the Asian group contest for 4 seats to Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and the Marshall Islands, and Moldova lost in the Eastern Europe group race for two seats to Armenia and Poland.

Africa had 4 nations on the ballot — Benin, Libya, Mauritania and Sudan — for 4 seats. But when Common Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande announced the final results the winners had been Namibia, Libya, Mauritania and Sudan, with Benin obtaining just 1 vote.

There was no competitors for the two Western group seats and Germany and the Netherlands had been overwhelmingly elected.

The Geneva-primarily based Human Rights Council can spotlight abuses and has unique monitors watching specific nations and concerns. It also periodically evaluations human rights in each UN member nation.

Made in 2006 to replace a commission discredited simply because of some members’ sorry rights records, the new council quickly came to face related criticism.

The Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights, led by former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler, released a statement final week urging the council to reject Venezuela, Indonesia, Iraq, Libya, Mauritania and Sudan, offered their human rights records.

Cotler, even though, anticipated Venezuela to get approval.

The United States left the council partly simply because it saw the group as a forum for hypocrisy about human rights, even though also simply because Washington says the council is anti-Israel.

Venezuela’s lawyer-common Tarek William Saab referred to as the vote “an significant achievement” for his nation.

‘No achievable excuse’

Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon stated in a statement quickly just after Thursday’s final results had been announced that the council “continues to abandon human rights and is now in the enterprise of guarding dictators and war crimes.”

“In Venezuela, a dictator starves his individuals, and in Libya there are camps that torture African migrants,” Danon stated.

Prior to the vote, Human Rights Watch stated there was “no achievable excuse to vote for Venezuela” just after Costa Rica entered the race in early October.

A protester throws a petrol bomb whilst clashing with safety forces for the duration of a rally against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, in Might 2017. (Marco Bello/Reuters)

Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch, stated: “A vote for Venezuela is a vote for the torture, murder, and impunity that have turn into trademarks of President Nicolas Maduro’s government.”

“It is a slap in the face to the millions who have fled the nation, quite a few facing dire humanitarian situations, and the numerous victims who by no means produced it out,” he stated.

Venezuelan officials on a regular basis reject any criticism of the country’s human rights record. When the UN’s higher commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, chronicled circumstances of torture, sexual abuse and extrajudicial killings in the nation, deputy foreign minister William Castillo stated her report “does not reflect the reality in our nation.” He referred to as it a “biased vision” of Venezuela and demanded it be “corrected.”

‘Serial rights abusers’

Philipe Bolopion, deputy director of international advocacy for Human Rights Watch, said the UN council really should continue to scrutinize the Maduro government’s “abuses,” even with Venezuela at the table, and hold these accountable to account.

“The UN Common Assembly really should recognize that electing serial rights abusers like Venezuela betrays the basic principles it set out when it made the Human Rights Council,” he stated.

Prior to the vote, Human Rights Watch also criticized Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro for embracing “rhetoric hostile to human rights norms” and for providing “a green light to criminal networks destroying the Amazon rainforest.”

It criticized Poland for systematically eroding “the independence and powerful functioning of its judiciary,” Indonesia for increasing “religious intolerance” and Mauritania for employing laws on criminal defamation, spreading “false data and blasphemy to prosecute human rights activists, bloggers and political dissidents.”

And it urged Sudan’s new transitional government to “set an instance on human rights promotion by taking concrete actions toward accountability and reforms.”


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