World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Most repressive countries on Human Rights Council

Some of the world's most repressive countries recycled into new Human Rights Council

The 9 May 2006 election of 10 of the world's worst violators of free _expression - Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia - to be members of the UN's new Human Rights Council was called a "scandal" today by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

"It is outrageous that 10 countries that violate the rights of journalists and free expression on a massive scale should have been chosen to ensure that human rights are protected throughout the world - we foresee nothing good coming from this council," the press freedom organisation said.

"There is no difference between the composition of the former Human Rights Commission - whose work was unanimously condemned by NGOs, and by many countries as well - and that of the new council," RSF said. "They have taken the same countries and started over. What is more, seven of these 10 countries have been elected for three-year terms, the longest envisioned under the Council's rules, terms that can be renewed once. So the reforms adopted by the United Nations are clearly insufficient. The UN will not guarantee respect for human rights in the world in the future any more than it has in the past."

The organisation said the system of regional quotas and election by a simple majority were responsible for the planet's most repressive countries being elected to the council, which will meet for the first time on 19 June.

"What a victory for them, and what a defeat for the United Nations," the organisation said. "We are deeply disappointed, even if the result is not surprising. We had already voiced our concern last week about the candidacies of certain countries."

RSF continued: "Our only hope now is that the other countries elected to the council that respect free _expression - such as Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mali, Mauritius, Switzerland and the United Kingdom - will use their influence to prevent the Council from discrediting itself as soon as it takes office."

The organisation added: "On the eve of the election, UN secretary-general Kofi Annan had warned that it would depend on the member countries 'whether the council really is a spectacular improvement or simply continues the practices of the old commission under a new name'. Today we have the answer. This election was one more lost chance."

The wheeling and dealing customary during elections for the former commission were again in evidence yesterday. Kenya, which was the 14th candidate in the African group, pulled out at the last moment with the result that all of the other 13 candidates for the 13 African seats were elected automatically. Meanwhile, 17 of the countries elected to the Council are members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

"Regional, cultural and religious solidarity and alliances were much more decisive in the election of the council's members than their commitment to protect human rights," RSF concluded. "And let us add a final, disturbing figure: about 90 percent of the capital punishments carried out worldwide in 2005 took place in a single country that is a member of the new Council."

China and Cuba are the world's two biggest prisons for the press. Censorship is the rule in Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, where journalists are exposed to harsh reprisals if they overstep the mark. In Russia, the Kremlin has already taken over the leading news media, starting with the TV stations. There is almost daily violence against journalists in Bangladesh, Nigeria and Pakistan. Dozens of journalists are in constant risk of imprisonment in Algeria, where the most critical media are repeatedly prosecuted. The murders of two journalists in Azerbaijan in 2005 remain unpunished.

The list of countries elected to the Human Rights Council and the length of their terms (determined by lottery):

African States: Algeria (1 year), Cameroon (3 years), Djibouti (3 years), Gabon (2 years), Ghana (2 years), Mali (2 years), Mauritius (3 years), Morocco (1 year), Nigeria (3 years), Senegal (3 years), South Africa (1 year), Tunisia (1 year) and Zambia (2 years).

Asian States: Bahrain (1 year), Bangladesh (3 years), China (3 years), India (1 year), Indonesia (1 year), Japan (2 years), Jordan (3 years), Malaysia (3 years), Pakistan (2 years), Philippines (1 year), Republic of Korea (2 years), Saudi Arabia (3 years) and Sri Lanka (2 years).

Eastern European States: Azerbaijan (3 years), Czech Republic (1 year), Poland (1 year), Romania (2 years), Russian Federation (3 years) and Ukraine (2 years).

Latin American and Caribbean States: Argentina (1 year), Brazil (2 years), Cuba (3 years), Ecuador (1 year), Guatemala (2 years), Mexico (3 years), Peru (2 years) and Uruguay (3 years).

Western European & Other States: Canada (3 years), Finland (1 year), France (2 years), Germany (3 years), Netherlands (1 year), Switzerland (3 years) and United Kingdom (2 years).

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news