Human Rights: Villains Took over the Hall of Justice

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (right) embraces his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro, at Ortega’s reinauguration in Nicaragua on January 10, 2022. Photo: Presidency.

In 2022, 68% of the nations that make up the UN Human Rights Council are countries that violate basic freedoms.

By Andres Cañizalez (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – At the end of 2019, the United Nations (UN) assembly decided that Venezuela, represented by the regime of Nicolas Maduro, would have a seat in Geneva, among the 47 countries that make up, on a rotating basis, the Human Rights Council. It was rather striking news.

The Venezuelan delegation will be present until December 2022 in this body that has precisely issued orders to investigate the Maduro Government. It is the same Human Rights Council, which before Venezuela’s entry gave a mandate to Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, to follow up the Venezuelan crisis, and it is the same agency that also decided to create a Fact-Finding Mission to document the massive and systematic violations of human rights in that country.

If the entry of Venezuela with a seat in Geneva resulted outrageous, in the body that rightly showed concern and made decisions given the widespread violation of human rights in Venezuela, in this 2022 we will witness sessions in the UN Human Rights Council in which most of the countries that will analyze the lack of freedoms are precisely countries in which human rights are violated.

In 2022, the villains have literally taken over the hall of justice. And although it is said on a comic note, it is neither a joking matter nor easy to digest.

The Council was created in 2006 in the hope of solving the discredit into which the former UN Commission on Human Rights had fallen. It is composed of 47 States on a rotating basis, each with a three-year mandate. The purpose of this body is the promotion and protection of all human rights throughout the world. It is a hall of global justice. However, democracy and human rights are not today’s common currency in the world.

A majority live under authoritarianism

Of the 7.7 billion people inhabiting the globe today, the vast majority live under authoritarian regimes and lack basic freedoms. To live in full democracy has become a privilege.

Dictatorships do not seem to be cornered. On the contrary, they organize and support each other so that by 2022, for example, 68% of the nations that make up the UN Human Rights Council are precisely countries that violate basic freedoms.

All this should be seen as a symptom of how the various UN bodies function, a world forum where a country under dictatorship can have a voice and vote, with the same weight as a fully democratic nation. To be part of different specialized agencies, it is customary to vote in the UN Assembly, nominations are presented by regions, which are reached under basic premises: I support you in this vote, you nominate me for this position.

The international NGO UN Watch, which monitors the internal work of the UN, made a selection of the ten worst authoritarians who are part of the 68% of countries in dictatorships that will control this year the global decisions on human rights by the United Nations. It will undoubtedly be a bad year for the Human Rights Council.

Pakistan, Mauritania, Qatar, Somalia, Russia, Libya, Cuba, Eritrea, Venezuela, and China are the ten countries with the most negative track-record for denying freedoms, but which will have a seat and whose vote also has the same weight as full democracies when decisions are made in the Human Rights Council, which meets in Geneva.

During 2022, nations with complicated human rights crisis such as Gabon, Burkina Faso, Indonesia, Sudan, Mexico, the Philippines, and Nepal, are also part of the Council.

This will be a year to follow up on the UN Human Rights Council. What was once conceived, and this is not an empty metaphor, as a hall of global justice, has been taken over by the villains.

*Article originally published in El Estímulo.

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