On Friday, October 28, 2016, the General Assembly elected 14 members to the Human Rights Council. The body deals with human rights issues around the world. UN Watch objected to the election of human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia, China and Cuba. To add insult to injury, many of the unqualified countries trumpeted their election as international recognition of the high level of respect of human rights domestically. Examples abound:

Cuba

  • Abelardo Moreno, Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister: “The result achieved today at the General Assembly constitutes a fresh push for my country to continue promoting its modest international solidarity and cooperation in the field of human rights with the peoples worldwide. The 163 votes won today are irrefutable evidence of Cuba’s historic prestige in the promotion and protection of all human rights for all Cubans.” (Source)
  • Josefina Vidal, Director General of the Division of Relations with the United States, Cuban Foreign Ministry: “The vote is a symbol of the international community’s recognition for all that Cuba has done for the human rights of its people and the peoples of the world.”cuba-tweet_josefinavidal
  • Periodico Granma, Official Organ of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party: “The world recognizes once more Cuba’s commitment to the issue of human rights”cuba-tweet_communist-party

China

  • Hua Chunying, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson: “The re-election of China speaks volumes for credit given by the international community to China for its achievement in developing human rights.” (Source)

Saudi Arabia

  • Abdullah bin Yahya Al-Moallami, Saudi Ambassador to the UN: “The re-election of Saudi Arabia reflects the international community’s trust in the pioneering and leading role of the Kingdom in the Human Rights Council.” (Source)
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Mission to the UN: “We thank God, it comes as we wished.”

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Egypt

  • Ahmed Abu Zeid, Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson: “Egypt’s membership confirms the international appreciation and welcome of the soundness of the political process in the country that moves forward with steady steps towards building a modern civilian state that gives priority to the values of human rights and democracy and the rule of law despite the difficult situation in the region that poses internal and regional challenges” (Source)
    “Egypt’s accession to the UN Human Rights Council […] is a display of its rise to global prominence and the growing confidence it gained at the international level, with its leading role in enhancing security and stability in the Middle East and Africa, and in upholding the principles of International law and the Charter of the United Nations.” (Source)

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  • Amr Ramadan, ambassador to the UNHRC: “Many Western countries voted for Egypt, which is indicative of Egypt’s commitment to human rights and those countries’ realization of the importance of such a powerful ally in the region. In fact, Egypt got the same number of votes as the UK.” (Source)

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