The Reverend Leon H. Sullivan is remembered today as one of the most respected leaders of the American civil rights movement. For many decades, he served as pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia, a northern city with a reputation for hostility to racial change. From early on, Sullivan identified lack of economic opportunity as a crucial element of racial inequality. Thus among his first campaigns was an economic boycott directed at major corporations in Philadelphia that refused to interview young black job applicants. “Selective patronage,” Sullivan called it.
The election of Hungary to the United Nations Human Rights Council is a welcome development that offers a glimmer of hope to those who still believe that the council might yet fulfill its mandate to protect and promote human rights globally.
The United States is a welcome addition to the United Nations Human Rights Council, but the country will face an uphill battle in restoring credibility to a body that also counts some of the world's most repressive regimes among its membership.
Freedom House and UN Watch strongly urge United Nations members to block seven countries from obtaining seats on the Human Rights Council, including three countries that are among the world's most repressive regimes.
Serious human rights violations in Azerbaijan, China, Cuba, Russia, and Saudi Arabia undermine their candidacies for the May 12, 2009 election to the United Nations Human Rights Council, a global coalition of international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) said in a letter released today.