The United Nations Human Rights Council has condemned Israel 95 times, and China not once.

By: Ambassador Mark Green President, Director, & CEO, Wilson Center


UN Photo/Rick Bajornas


Since its inception, the Human Rights Council, or UNHRC, has passed 95 resolutions condemning Israel, more than all other countries combined. Bashar al Assad’s Syria, which has subjected its own people to barrel bombs, chlorine gas, and starvation to preserve his autocracy, has garnered a mere 36 condemnations from UNHRC. North Korea has been condemned only 14 times. China, in the midst of a genocide against its Muslim Uighur citizens, has accumulated a grand total of zero condemnations. UNHRC is the second iteration of this council. The first, the UN Commission on Human Rights, or UNCHR, was established in 1946, and eventually lost credibility not only for its vitriolic criticism of Israel, but its membership made up of a “rogues’ gallery of human rights abusers.” In 2004 the United States walked out following the uncontested election to the Commission of Sudan, which was then ethnically cleansing the Darfur region.

The 2006 establishment of UNHRC was intended to refresh the legitimacy of the UN’s human rights body. The Council’s founding charter provides that elected members “shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights…and be reviewed…during their terms of membership.” And yet, its current membership includes China, Russia, Cuba, and Venezuela. Three years after the Trump Administration withdrew from UNHRC over its anti-Israel bias, the U.S. is rejoining the body following its “election” on October 14. The Biden Administration argues that UNHRC can only be reformed or fixed from within. Given the UNHRC’s lack of action on obvious topics like the genocide in China’s Xinjiang Province and its willingness to include in its membership countries like Venezuela, the question is, “where do you begin?”


A record 32 million Africans are forcibly displaced today because of conflict and repression.


According to figures compiled from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a record number of Africans are now displaced from their homes. Three quarters of the total are displaced within their own countries (“IDPs”), and the balance are hosted primarily in neighboring countries. The Democratic Republic of Congo alone accounts for more than 6 million displaced people.

Eight out of ten displacement source countries in Africa are authoritarian or semi-authoritarian, which isn’t a surprise because the link between autocracy and instability is strong. According to analysis by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, 56% of all autocracies on the continent are in conflict, compared to a quarter of democratizers and zero full democracies. In Ethiopia, where recent progress in democratization has now badly backslid with troubled elections, increasing repression and an intensifying interethnic war, conflict and instability are causing famine — and even more humanity in motion.


For more information: wwics@e.wilsoncenter.org


 

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