The reelection of the United States to the United Nations Human Rights Council was a positive development in a largely disappointing election by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) yesterday, in which seven countries with poor human rights records—Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela—were also elected.
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The current strain in U.S. relations with Russia sums up the challenges of dealing with authoritarian rulers. They vigorously object to any criticism of their human rights record, yet even when such criticism is muted, they may still resist cooperation with the United States on major security issues. The Obama administration has resisted moves by Congress to sanction human rights abusers in Russia, but President Vladimir Putin continues to intensify his crackdown on civil society and block international efforts to stop mass atrocities in Syria. The time has come for the United States to take a fresh look at its relations with Russia and with other dictatorships around the world.
The International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK), consisting over 40 prominent human rights organizations and activists, today submitted a petition to the special procedures of the United Nation Human
Rights Council calling for the UN to help shut down North Korea’s vast gulag system.
A majority of Americans see democracy in the U.S. as weak and getting weaker, according to a national survey released by The Democracy Project, a joint initiative of Freedom House, the George W. Bush Institute, and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
On May 21, 2008, the UN General Assembly will elect 15 new Human Rights Council members. Twenty countries are candidates. Freedom House and UN Watch evaluated each candidate’s suitability for election to the Human Rights Council by examining its record of human rights protection at home and its record of human rights promotion at the UN.
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