— by Sharon Bender
U.N. Must Address Flaws of System that Could Even Consider Syria as Human Rights Watchdog
B’nai B’rith International is encouraged to learn that Syria is likely to drop out of the May 20 election for a seat on the Human Rights Council. It is unthinkable that Syria could sit in judgment of other nations when it comes to their commitments to human rights.
More after the jump.
During the ongoing uprisings in Syria, the government has attacked its own people as they sought more freedoms. Hundreds are reportedly dead and scores have been arrested with uncertain outcomes.
In a March opinion piece protesting Syria’s candidacy, B’nai B’rith wrote, “Syria is a one-party state with no free elections….Syria is a major supporter of international terrorism-backing Hezbollah and hosting some of the leaders of Hamas.” And later: “The independent Freedom House, which for 70 years has observed global human rights and democracy issues, in its 2010 annual ‘Freedom of the World’ survey, included Syria near the bottom of the rating scale for both political rights and civil liberties issues. Does this sound like a government that should be determining which nations are committed to universal human rights?”
“There are very serious and compelling human rights issues in the world today. By admitting offender after offender, the United Nations is demonstrating that perhaps actually protecting human rights is not as important as talking about protecting rights. In the council’s five years, as a rule, politics trump human rights.”
B’nai B’rith has long opposed the election system for the council where notorious human rights abusers can sit on the world’s premier body overseeing universal human rights.
In countless U.N. forums, B’nai B’rith has called attention to the deep faults in a system that allows nations such as Syria to even be considered for a spot.
Amid reports that Syria may run again in the future, B’nai B’rith will continue its efforts in Geneva and New York to reform a system that lambastes the democracy of Israel at every turn-there have been about as many resolutions condemning Israel as there have been against the other 191-members of the U.N.-while turning a blind eye to human rights abusers such as Syria.