Aug. 27, 2012
Agence France Presse

WASHINGTON — A powerful US lawmaker blasted the United Nations Monday as Sudan seemed set to gain a seat on the global body’s Human Rights Council.

“As Sudan appears poised to win a seat on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the UN has hit a new low,” Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who heads the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

“Allowing this genocidal dictatorship, which has killed thousands of its citizens, to serve on such a body is beyond hypocrisy, it is callous, dangerous, and tragic,” she added.

The Geneva-based UNHRC announced on its website recently that there are just five African candidates — Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Sierra Leone and Sudan — in the running for the five African seats currently available on the 47-member council.

Ros-Lehtinen, a national security hawk in the US Congress, said the United Nations has “surrendered to despots and rogue regimes as it allows the likes of Iran’s (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad, Venezuela’s (Hugo) Chavez, and now Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir to corrupt the system and use it to further their own oppressive and despotic schemes.

“It is beyond apparent that the UN is broken. It is time to stop this hostile takeover and implement real change,” she said, adding that US President Barack Obama’s administration has failed to help enact UN reform that would stop the “corrupt system.”

Earlier this month, UN Watch, a Geneva-based group that has long pressed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Washington and other governments to fight against Sudan’s candidacy, reported that the country’s election was virtually assured.

“Electing Sudan to the international community’s highest human body is like putting Jack the Ripper in charge of a women’s shelter,” UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said.

Bashir is the first sitting president indicted by the International Criminal Court, which issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region.

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