Published: Sun, October 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Venezuela wins seat on United Nations Human Rights Council

Venezuela wins seat on United Nations Human Rights Council

According to UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights NGO, Venezuela received the support of 54 percent of the council, beating Costa Rica's bid to gain a seat by nine votes.

Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, and Sudan won the seats for Africa, while Germany and the Netherlands were awarded the two seats reserved for their region.

Indonesia, Japan, Marshall Islands and South Korea were elected for the Asia-Pacific seats on the Council, of which India is already a member.

The election of countries with poor human rights records is an nearly annual occurrence in Geneva. "Now that UN member states have a choice, there is no possible excuse to vote for Venezuela, " said Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch.

Venezuela's candidacy was criticized by many in the West over accusations of human rights violations by the Caracas government led by President Nicolas Maduro.

Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon said in a statement immediately after Thursday's results were announced that the council "continues to abandon human rights and is now in the business of protecting dictators and war crimes".

Venezuela's attorney-general Tarek William Saab called the vote "an important achievement" for his country. In his address to the U.N. General Assembly last month, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that four million people have fled the country, which he called "one of the largest displacements in the world".

United Nations has also added Mauritania, West African country to its Human Right Council where slavery is still a widespread practice.

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The council is made up of 47 United Nations member states and seeks to promote and protect human rights around the world, while addressing human rights violations and making recommendations on them.

"In Venezuela, a dictator starves his people, and in Libya there are camps that torture African migrants", Danon said. It also presented evidence of human rights violations including torture and extrajudicial killings by Venezuelan security forces.

Most of the Non-Aligned and developing countries rallied around Venezuela, which along with Brazil was the nominee of the Latin American-Caribbean group before Costa Rica joined the fray with U.S. and western backing to oppose Venezuela.

As recently as July, the United Nations called on Maduro's government to take "immediate, concrete measures to halt and remedy the grave violations" of economic, social and civil rights.

The UN General Assembly today also elected Armenia and Brazil, both of whom were deemed "questionable" by UN Watch, due to their problematic human rights records or UN voting records.

"The dictatorship is among the greatest human rights violators on the planet and is supposed to watch over them worldwide", prosecutor Zair Mundaray reacts., now exiled in Colombia.

And it urged Sudan's new transitional government to "set an example on human rights promotion by taking concrete steps toward accountability and reforms".

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