Oct 15, 2019

NEW YORK – This week, the U.N. General Assembly will vote to elect 14 countries to the UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC). Six countries that are notorious for their poor human rights records have a strong chance of being elected to the very same council that is supposed to condemn their actions.

Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro is among those who stands to join the UN’s highest human rights body. This is possible because of the way that the elections are structured. Countries are elected by region, and often, as a result of backroom deals, they run unopposed.

For example: in the African regional group, Libya, Mauritania, and Sudan  — countries ruled by authoritarian regimes that have committed serious human rights violations, including torture, slavery, and arbitrary arrests — are almost guaranteed to be elected, with zero competing candidates.

“The absence of competition undermines the very purpose of the UN’s Human Rights Council elections,” said Javier El-Hage, HRF’s chief legal officer. “This should be a wake-up call to all democratic U.N. member states to either start taking this council’s function seriously or to consider abolishing it altogether.”

Some of the worst offenders on the list of this year’s candidates include the governments Venezuela, Iraq, Libya, Mauritania and Sudan. The numerous human rights abuses perpetrated by these countries are detailed in a new 28-page report, released by UN Watch and sponsored by the Human Rights Foundation and the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights.

The report finds that six of the 14 candidate countries up for election this year are not qualified to serve given their poor records of domestic human rights protection and their negative U.N. voting records. Under the dictatorship led by Maduro, the human rights violations in Venezuela include extrajudicial killings, life-threatening prison conditions, restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of the press, violent suppression of peaceful demonstrations, and restrictions on political participation.

In the Latin American voting bloc, there is still hope: Costa Rica has emerged as a last-minute challenger to Venezuela. HRF calls on all democratic governments at the U.N. General Assembly to help defeat the criminal Maduro regime by voting for Costa Rica and Brazil in the Oct. 17 election.

Read the full report here: Evaluation of UN HRC Candidates for 2020-2022

Contact: Natalia Ciolko, +1 2102757842, [email protected]