Dissidents from four countries with poor human rights records are appealing to U.N. member-states not to elect them onto the Human Rights Council this week.
As things stand, however, the U.N.’s top human rights body will have among its 47 members next year at least 13 of the world’s most repressive regimes.
With one-third (15) of the HRC seats due to be filled by the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, four of the five regional groups have put forward one or more candidates whose records on political freedoms and civil liberties are so dismal they are graded “not free” by the Washington-based democracy watchdog, Freedom House. They are also all described as “authoritarian regimes” in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index for 2019: China, Saudi Arabia, and Uzbekistan (Asia group); Gabon (Africa); Cuba (Latin America); and Russia (Eastern Europe).
Only the fifth group, Western Europe and Others, has put forward liberal democracies: Britain and France.
The 15 countries selected on Tuesday will join a council in January that will already have eight “not free” countries onboard. They are Bahrain, Cameroon, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Somalia, Sudan, and the Maduro regime in Venezuela.