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UN Puts Countries with Poor Records on Human Rights Council

Why did Libya, Sudan, Venezuela, and Mauritania make the council?

By:  |  October 21, 2019  |    389 Words

(Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The United Nations (UN) recently held a secret ballot vote to let 14 countries join the Human Rights Council (HRC). The HRC is a part of the UN that is supposed to look for human rights violations around the world. Over the years, it has been the subject of controversy, mostly for the states involved in the council. Many of them have horrible records of violating human rights.

UN Adds to the Human Rights Council

As of January 1, 2020, Libya, Mauritania, Sudan, and Venezuela and ten others will serve on the Human Rights Council with three-year terms. The 14 nations were selected based on geographical representation, using a formula of four seats for African states, four seats for Asia-Pacific states, two seats for Eastern European states, two seats for Latin American and Caribbean states, and two seats for Western European and other states. However, the vote was controversial because four countries have been accused of human rights abuses for years, even by UN officials. Several of the countries already on the list also have histories of human rights abuse.

Serial Human Rights Abusers

So, what are these four states being accused of?

Earlier this year, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, produced a report that showed the abuse of power by the Venezuelan government. It covered the killing of prisoners without fair trials, torture, and the withholding of food and medical supplies.

After the 2011 invasion of Libya to overthrow Moammar Gaddafi, the country collapsed. Today, people are being enslaved and extreme poverty has devastated the nation.

The way security forces in Mauritania are accused of treating prisoners has been considered inhumane. Independent human rights organizations determined in 2011 that authorities would use torture as a form of interrogation. Also, many inmates in prison were not provided with fair public trials.

The UN has estimated that 300,000 civilians in the Sudanese region of Darfur were killed between 2003 and 2010, a horrific act encouraged by the government. Several types of persecution are commonplace in Sudan.

Past Expiry Date?

Critics of the United Nations usually point to these examples and say the UN is unnecessary and maybe even corrupt. The UN does itself no favors by adding names considered to be serial human rights abusers to a council that specializes in the very thing it is supposed to preserve and protect: The dignity of man.

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