Thu | Nov 23, 2017

UN elects Congo to Human Rights Council despite abuses

Published:Tuesday | October 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM

UNITED NATIONS (AP):

The United States and human-rights groups sharply criticised yesterday's UN election for 15 new members of the Human Rights Council, singling out conflict-torn Congo's victory despite accusations of serious rights abuses and an investigation by the UN's top human rights body.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley called the election "yet another example of why the Human Rights Council lacks credibility and must be reformed in order to be saved".

Haley previously dangled the possibility that the United States could quit the council during a visit to its Geneva headquarters in June, when she lambasted the 47-nation body as a "forum for politics, hypocrisy and evasion" that allows rights abusers to whitewash their images and foes of Israel to criticise the Jewish state unfairly.

In a statement after the 193-member General Assembly voted Congo onto the Human Rights Council as part of an uncontested African slate for a three-year term starting January 1, Haley said the rights organisation "cannot endure many more blows to its credibility before it is rendered absolutely meaningless".

Haley called Congo "a country infamous for political suppression, violence against women and children, arbitrary arrest and detention, and unlawful killings and disappearances" and said its unopposed election is another spur to US-led efforts to reform the Human Rights Council.

She made no mention of a US withdrawal from the council. She said in June that the United States wants to see two key reforms: the use of competitive elections to choose the council's 47 members and removal of Israel as a permanent fixture on its agenda the only country in the world that has a permanent spot.