China, Russia, and Cuba were each awarded seats on the United Nations Human Rights Council Tuesday despite their gross abuses of the very rights the council pledges to uphold.
The council, which the United States withdrew from in protest of its condemnation of Israel while bolstering Venezuela and Saudi Arabia two years ago, features a mission statement that its inclusion of rights-violating nations directly contradicts. It reads:
The mission of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is to work for the protection of all human rights for all people; to help empower people to realize their rights; and to assist those responsible for upholding such rights in ensuring that they are implemented.
China is carrying out a genocidal campaign against the nation’s Uighur Muslims. The campaign is the largest mass internment of any ethnic-minority religious group in nearly a century since the Holocaust.
Human Rights Watch, a New York City-based international non-governmental organization, has similarly faulted Cuba and Russia for their human rights abuses. In Cuba, the group wrote, “the government continues to use other repressive tactics against critics, including beatings, public shaming, travel restrictions, and termination of employment.”
In Russia, “authorities responded to rising civic activism with bans, repressive laws, and showcase prosecutions,” the group concluded. “Record numbers of people protested the groundless exclusion of opposition candidates from a local election in Moscow, and authorities responded with an overwhelming show of force, detentions, and rushed criminal prosecutions.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo highlighted Tuesday’s UN vote as further justification for the United States leaving the council in 2018.
“The election of China, Russia, and Cuba to the UN Human Rights Council validates the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Council in 2018 and use other venues to protect and promote universal human rights,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter. “U.S. commitment to human rights is far more than just words. We have identified and punished human rights abusers in Xinjiang, Myanmar, Iran, and elsewhere, and call for all nations to take this moment to recommit to the #UDHR.”
U.S. commitment to human rights is far more than just words. We have identified and punished human rights abusers in Xinjiang, Myanmar, Iran, and elsewhere, and call for all nations to take this moment to recommit to the #UDHR.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 13, 2020