Iran, Syria to Seek Seats on UN Rights Council

Some of the most oppressive regimes, possibly including Iran and Syria, are vying to serve on United Nations' Human Rights Council.

Rina Tzvi ,

UN Human Rights Council
UN Human Rights Council

Some of the most oppressive regimes worldwide, possibly including Iran and Syria, are vying to serve on the United Nations' Human Rights Council, Fox News reported.

Algeria, Chad, China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam  have all announced plans to run in a November election to fill 14 seats for the 2014-16 period.

Iran and Syria also are reportedly considering candidacies.

The nations will be bidding to replace council members that now include equally infamous rights violators Pakistan, Venezuela and Kazakhstan, noted Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental organization based in Geneva.

“This is a recipe for disaster,” Neuer said in a statement. “By electing massive abusers of human rights to the very body charged with protecting them, the UN is about to drop more rotten ingredients into the soup. We should not be surprised by the results.”

The council consists of 47 United Nations member states which are elected to three-year terms by a majority vote of the General Assembly’s 193 members. The seats are apportioned out by region.

UN Watch has previously led successful campaigns to block bids by Syria and Sudan, but most countries win election to the body, Neuer said, according to Fox News. 

“Politics, not principles, are too often what rule in UN elections,” Neuer’s statement continued. “Candidates like Algeria, China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia have one thing in common: they systematically violate the human rights of their own citizens.”

The aforementioned countries are not only unqualified, but should be “in the dock of the accused,” Neuer said.

“It is an insult to their victims — and a defeat for the global cause of human rights — when the UN allows gross abusers to act as champions and global judges of human rights,” Neuer’s statement continued. “When the UN’s highest human rights body becomes a case of the foxes guarding the henhouse, the world’s victims suffer.”