On Tuesday, the United Nations General Assembly elected 15 countries to serve on its premier body, the U.S. Human Rights Council for three-year terms, only to draw criticism from human rights groups.
The criticism resulted due to the fact that elected countries were previously engaged in religious freedom violations. A few of these countries are China, Russia, Pakistan, and Cuba. Before the election on Tuesday, human rights organizations called on U.N. member states to oppose the election of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan due to their "unqualified" human rights records.
China, purportedly detained over 1 million Uighur and other ethnic Muslims in Western China but beat Saudi Arabia into the election.Cuba was placed on the State Department's "special watch list" of countries for engaging in or tolerating violations of religious freedom.Pakistan and Russia are also guilty of violating religious freedom for persecuting Christians.
"Nations that have the honor of serving on the Council must commit to international human rights law. Council members must ensure that Cuba does not shirk responsibility for its own conduct or use its seat to weaken these international norms," human rights groups criticized.
Hillel Neurer, the executive director of UN Watch shared the shocking reality of the UN in a statement, "Currently, 51% of UN Human Rights Council members fail to meet the minimal standards of a free democracy."
The U.S. withdrew itself from the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2018 after accusing the Council of being a "hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights."
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took this opportunity to back the U.S. decision 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," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted.
The U.S. Human Rights Council proposes resolution on human rights issues and also oversees investigations into violations of religious freedom. It elects seats by region: for the East Europe region, Russia and Ukraine were elected and for Latin American/Caribbean region, Mexico, Cuba, and Bolivia were elected.