UN Human Rights Council – How do the candidates for the 2017 elections rate?

September 13, 2016

The UN Human Rights Council – now in its 33rd session – has quite a few States on it that shouldn’t be there because of their own deplorable human rights record. In order to help influence the election process a number of procedures have been developed such as public pledges by the candidate States. NGOs, such as AI and the ISHR, have even organized public debates to which these States are invited [see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/some-states-have-the-courage-to-set-out-their-commitments-as-members-of-the-human-rights-council/]

The ISHR has now published ‘scorecards’ for each of the States seeking election to the UN Human Rights Council for 2017-2019.

Human rights defenders and other civil society actors from all regions are increasingly turning to the Human Rights Council to promote human rights progress on the ground. This is particularly the case in States where civil society space is closing at the national level – such as in Bahrain, Burundi and Venezuela – where international monitoring is crucial to promote accountability and prevent regress – such as in Myanmar and Sri Lanka – or where international resolutions and recommendations may be influential in achieving progressive domestic reform – such as in Cote d’Ivoire or Tunisia,‘ ISHR Director Phil Lynch said. ‘If the Council is to fulfil its promise and potential, however, it must be comprised of Member States with a genuine commitment to promoting universal human rights and defending those who advocate for them. The scorecards and #HRCpledging event are an important contribution in this regard.’

He added that the scorecards offer only a quick ‘at-a-glance’ comparison of the candidates, focusing on their cooperation with the Council, their support for civil society, their engagement with UN treaty bodies, and whether they have established a national institution to promote the implementation of international human rights at home. While the scorecards are intended to increase scrutiny and enhance transparency in the elections, ISHR acknowledges that data limitations and the need for objectivity mean that the criteria are primarily concerned with form rather than substance. ‘The mere fact that a State has accepted a high number of UPR recommendations, for example, says nothing about the extent to which those recommendations have been implemented on the ground,‘ Mr Lynch said.

These scorecards should be used in conjunction with other important tools, such as the world reports produced by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and the election guide published by the Universal Rights Group.

Scorecards are available for:

You can also download the full set of scorecards as a single file here.

Source: HRC elections / How do the candidates rate? | ISHR

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