‘Free’ Countries Once Again a Minority on U.N. Human Rights Council

May 23, 2011 04:30

This year’s election for the U.N. Human Rights Council has, once again, produced a body that has fewer “free” countries – 21 of a total of 47 – and has more than one-third of the seats held by members of the Islamic bloc.

By Patrick Goodenough at CNSNews.com


Among the 15 countries to win seats on the Geneva-based HRC on Friday was Congo, which joins 11 other countries ranked “not free” by the democracy advocacy group, Freedom House, based on an annual assessment of political freedoms and civil liberties.

The presence on the HRC of such countries, and their tendency to vote as a bloc against initiatives promoted by Western and other democracies, has been among the issues raised most frequently by critics, including Republican lawmakers who want the Obama administration to withdraw from the HRC and to “explore credible, alternative forums to advance human rights.”

Another target of criticism has been the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the bloc of mostly Muslim-majority states that has used the HRC to target Israel and to promote its provocative “defamation of religion” campaign.


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