No, this is not a joke
Perhaps as part of his PR firm’s advice, Bashar Assad has made his intention known to become a member of the world’s highest human rights body, the U.N. Human Rights Council. If elected, he would join the ranks of previous members such as Libya – home to Col. Muammar Gaddafi — and Sri Lanka, whose army was responsible for killing thousands of civilians. The body also has the distinction to have convened an emergency session to mourn the death of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder of Hamas.
According to U.N. Watch, Syria’s election to the group is virtually assured, due to the system of fixed slates. Syria is part of the 53-nation Asian group whereby “regional groups orchestrate uncontested elections, naming only as many candidates as allotted seats.”
The U.N. Watch reports also notes that this very same system is how human-rights abusers such as China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia won their current seats, and how Pakistan and Venezuela are about to do the same.
Syria’s election to the council, scheduled for 2013, prompted the U.S. and the European Union to make an unprecedented move, calling for a resolution that would give the council the power to disqualify a candidate even before an election for failing to meet the standards of the U.N. body.
The seemingly straight-forward resolution was met with resistance by Cuba, China, Egypt, Russia and India, among others.
This seems to be in the realm of normal, as U.N. Watch reports that “this past November Syria won unanimous election to two human rights committees of UNESCO, the U.N.’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Despite the suspension of Assad’s regime from the Arab League, the very same nations’ UNESCO ambassadors in Paris refused to allow objections to a country’s human rights record to interfere with their backroom rotation deals—lest one day the precedent be used against them. They nominated Syria, and it was duly elected.”
“Right after a UN Security Council report found Iran guilty of illegally transferring guns and bombs to Syria, which is now murdering thousands of its own people, it defies logic, morality and common sense for the UN to now elect this same regime to a global post regulating the transfer of guns and bombs,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental monitoring group based in Geneva.
“This is like choosing Bernie Madoff to police fraud on the stock market. And the U.N.’s scandalous choice of Iran is exactly why we fear that Syria’s declared bid for a U.N. Human Rights Council seat is not impossible.”