Believe it or not, Syria to bid for seat on UN Human Rights Council
U.N. Watch reports that Syria is a declared candidate for a seat on world’s foremost human rights body • Syria's candidacy revealed after a U.S.-sponsored draft resolution calls on council to disqualify Syria from election • U.S.-sponsored resolution slated for vote in Human Rights Council on Friday.
Israel Hayom Staff
Syria is a candidate for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, according to a report on Wednesday by U.N. Watch, an NGO which monitors the activities of the U.N.
U.N. Watch quoted a draft resolution, sponsored by the U.S. and and supported by the EU, which says, "The current Syrian government’s announced candidacy for the Human Rights Council in 2014 fails to meet the standards for council membership." The resolution was discussed by the 47-nation Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday, and is slated for a vote on Friday.
U.N. Watch said Syria, part of the U.N.’s 53-nation Asia group, would likely win a seat on the council "due to the prevalent system of fixed slates, whereby regional groups orchestrate uncontested elections, naming only as many candidates as allotted seats."
China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other non-democratic countries have won a spot on the council through this mechanism, the NGO said.
The draft resolution appears to be an attempt to disqualify Syria's candidacy in advance of the election for the position.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been waging a bloody crackdown on protesters since the popular uprising against his rule erupted in March last year. Activists say about 14,000 people have been killed since the uprising began.
Amid Syria's intensifying civil war and an increasing death toll, U.N. Watch noted that the strong opposition several countries have expressed to the draft resolution comes as a surprise.
Cuba and China, for example, both declared they were against Syria's disqualification, demanding the paragraph's deletion from the resolution.
U.N. Watch said Egypt and Brazil claimed that any reference to Human Rights Council membership was "outside the scope of the resolution."
Russia, according to the NGO, said no action should be taken until Assad formally submitted Syria's candidacy.
However, U.N. Watch noted that Syria had already declared its candidacy in early 2011. "It was only after U.N. Watch revealed Assad’s bid and organized an international coalition of human rights groups to fight it that Western democracies rallied to the cause, applying heavy pressure on the Asian states. At the last minute, on May 11 last year, a deal was announced: Kuwait would replace Syria," U.N. Watch said.
This would not be the first time the U.N. has granted Syria committee membership. Last November, Syria was unanimously elected to two sub-committees of the U.N.'s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).