Human Rights Groups Criticize Decision to Elect China, Russia, Pakistan, and Cuba to UN Human Rights Council

Countries that have engaged in religious freedom violations, such as China, Russia, Pakistan and Cuba, have been elected by the United Nations General Assembly to the 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council, drawing criticism from human rights groups. 

On Tuesday, the 193-member General Assembly elected 15 countries to serve on its premier body for protecting human rights worldwide for there-year terms. The council not only proposes resolution on human rights issues but also oversees investigations into violations of religious freedom.

Among the countries elected to the panel are those included by the U.S. State Department either on its list of countries of particular concern for religious freedom violations or on its “special watch list” of countries that engage in or tolerate severe violations of religious freedom.

Seats on the Human Rights Council are allocated by region. According to the Associated Press, most of the 15 members elected to the council Tuesday were elected in uncontested races.

Russia and Ukraine were victorious for the East Europe seats, while Mexico, Cuba and Bolivia won three open seats for the Latin American/Caribbean region. Cuba and Russia were among countries that ran opposed.

In a race contested five ways, China, which is said to have detained over 1 million Uighur and other ethnic Muslims in Western China, beat out Saudi Arabia

Before Tuesday’s election, human rights groups called on U.N. member states to oppose the election of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Pakistan and Uzbekistan, saying those countries’ human rights records make them “unqualified.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith

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