Aug 31, 2012 4:24 PM GMT
It's a story all too familiar.
A government responsible for mass murder, crushing democratic dissent, or engaging in nuclear, chemical, or biological shenanigans gets elected to the U.N. institution responsible for policing just that -- whether upholding human rights, democracy, or disarmament.
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir stands charged by the International Criminal Court with orchestrating a campaign of genocide in Darfur. So what better place to defend oneself than with a seat on the Geneva-based Human Rights Council?
A couple of months back, Sudan was quietly included on a slate of five African countries -- the others are Ethiopia, Gabon, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone -- due to run unchallenged for seats on the 47-member council this November.
The selection of Sudan as a candidate has provided U.N. critics with another example of the U.N.'s abject moral state. In Washington, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs committee issued a statement Monday, saying Sudan's candidacy shows the U.N. is broken. "As Sudan appears poised to win a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, the UN has hit a new low," she said. "The UN has surrendered to despots and rogue regimes as it allows the likes of Iran's Ahmadinejad, Venezuela's Chavez, and now Sudan's Omar al-Bashir to corrupt the system and use it to further their own oppressive and despotic schemes."
The election of a Sudanese warlord accused of genocide to the United Nations Human Rights Council is now virtually guaranteed, since he has the full backing of the world body's African delegation.
The International Criminal Court has issued a warrant for Omar Al-Bashir -- its first ever for a sitting head of state -- for crimes against humanity he allegedly committed in Darfur. Yet, his regime is set to take its place on the panel, in the latest bizarre appointment to make a mockery of the UN's human rights credibility, according to critics.
It's like putting “Jack the Ripper in charge of a women’s shelter,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.
Neuer's Geneva-based group is calling on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to denounce election of the war-torn North African nation to the 47-member body. Sudan is not technically on the panel, but its election is a certainty because only five African nations are vying for the continent's five seats.