US now on UN Human Rights Council....
I just can't see how the Obama administration will help change anything here...
The United Nations General Assembly elected the members of its lead human rights body, the Human Rights Council, Tuesday in New York and among them are some of the world's worst human rights abusers.
Now in a position to give the rest of us advice on protecting human rights are Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba and Russia. In a slap in the face to President Obama, the United States was elected with fewer votes than either Belgium or Norway, the only two other states running for the three Western slots. Even a country like Kyrgyzstan received more votes than the United States.
A special mockery of the process resulted from this year's election of Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan. The U.N. resolution that created the council, and abolished the discredited commission before it, was hailed as an achievement because it was said to require pledges from candidates to protect human rights. Candidates Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan had no difficulty getting elected though neither had bothered to make any pledge at all, let alone making promises they had no intention of keeping.
Electability as a U.N. human rights authority, however, has little to do with caring about human rights. The Chinese circulated a pledge reading: "The Chinese government is committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Chinese people and has worked unremittingly toward this goal." That would be news to the billion Chinese subject to arrest for typing "human rights" into an Internet search.
And China is not alone - Tuesday's election also means a majority of council members are not fully free democracies (on the Freedom House scale).
The election also solidified the chokehold of the Organization of the Islamic Conference on the United Nations' human rights agency. The OIC managed to defeat Kenya, a non-Islamic but major African state. This enabled the OIC to retain a majority of the council seats allotted to the African regional group. The OIC also maintained a majority of the seats allotted to the Asian group. Since the Africans and Asians together hold an absolute majority on the council, Islamic countries hold the balance of power.