Venezuela and Libya were elected on Thursday to serve on the UN Human Rights Council despite their questionable human rights records.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, said in response, “The Human Rights Council continues to abandon human rights and is now in the business of protecting dictators and war crimes. In Venezuela, a dictator starves his people, and in Libya there are camps that torture African migrants.”
The ambassador added that “these countries are added to the Council’s ‘moral leadership,’ as the body no longer hides its obsessive hostility to Israel, and legitimizes those who blatantly violate and act against its original mandate.”
US Ambassador to the UN, Kelly Craft, described the election of Venezuela to the UNHRC as “an embarrassment to the United Nations and a tragedy for the people of Venezuela.”
“I am personally aggrieved that 105 countries voted in favor of this affront to human life and dignity. It provides ironclad proof that the Human Rights Council is broken and reinforces why the United States withdrew,” added Craft.
“That one of the world’s worst human-rights abusers would be granted a seat on a body that is supposed to defend human rights is utterly appalling. The people of Venezuela should rest assured that Maduro cannot hide behind the cloak of an illegitimate body like the Human Rights Council.”
“Let me be clear: I will not forget those who continue to suffer at the hands of Maduro, and the United States will continue to work with freedom-loving nations in the hemisphere and around the world to support the Venezuelan people,” concluded Craft.
The US left the UNHRC in June of 2018 over its anti-Israel bias.
This is not the first time that the UNHRC has worked with countries with questionable human rights record. In 2015, Saudi Arabia’s envoy to the organization was chosen to head an influential panel on human rights.
Saudi Arabia won its seat on the UN Human Rights Council in 2013, being one of several countries with questionable human rights records to win seats in this body at that time. Other countries included China, Russia, Algeria, Cuba, and Vietnam.