Human Rights Council is flawed: US

Without giving specific names, US has described as "problematic" the election of some countries to Human Rights Council.

Updated: May 14, 2010, 15:09 PM IST

New York: Without giving specific names, the US has described as "problematic" the election of certain countries to the Human Rights Council.

Yesterday, 14 countries were elected to the Geneva-based council including Libya, which invited much criticism from human rights group.

"This year there is a small number of countries whose human rights record is problematic. We regret that," said Susan Rice, US envoy to the UN, without naming Libya.

"I think it`s obvious that which are on the ballot have more problematic human rights record than others," she added.

The Human Rights Council is four years-old and the elected countries for three years are Angola, Mauritania, Uganda, Libya, Maldives, Thailand, Malaysia, Qatar, Moldova, Poland, Ecuador, Guatemala, Peru, Spain and Switzerland.

However, Libya got 155 votes with 97 needed for elections.

"It is the US view that countries that run for and are elected to the human rights council ought to be those whose record on human rights are strong and cannot be impugned," Rice said. "And those that do not meet that standard really don`t merit membership on the human rights council."

Several human rights group criticised the human rights record of countries like Angola, Libya and Thailand. "The council elections have become a pre-cooked process that strips the meaning from the membership standards established by the General Assembly," said Peggy Hicks, global advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

"States serious about the role the council can play in promoting human rights should push for competitive slates in all regions, and should be willing to compete for a seat themselves," she added.

Describing the Council as flawed, Rice noted that the US, which joined the Council a year ago, preferred to reform the council from inside rather than abandon it.

"It is preferable to work from within to shape and reform a body with the importance and potential of the human rights council rather than stay on the sidelines and reject it," the US envoy said.

"We don`t measure the success of the council solely by who is on the body. The most important metric is what the council does," she added.

The US blocked Iran`s entry into the human rights council but Tehran got elected on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) for three years in April.

The CSW reviews the status of women`s rights in nations and issues reports on its findings. "In light of Iran`s record on human rights and women`s rights in particular that`s an unfortunate outcome," Rice said.