I think we owe a big hand to Reporters Without Borders, who have done the right thing and taken a firm stand on an important issue:
Reporters Without Borders today deplored the “continuing farce” of “leading repressive countries” – this year China, Cuba and Zimbabwe – being chosen by the United Nations to decide which cases its Human Rights Commission will consider at its annual meeting.
“We know for sure that no case about violations in any of these three countries and their allies will be heard,” the worldwide press freedom organization said. “This is a very grave matter and we don’t understand why the United Nations allows it. It would be comical if it wasn’t so serious.”
The sub-commission working group the three countries have been named to along with Hungary and the Netherlands will meet on 7 February to sift through cases submitted over the past year and decide which to pass on to the Commission, which will sit between 14 March and 22 April to consider them and possibly condemn countries for violations.
The Commission has steadily lost credibility in recent years. The naming of Libya to chair it in 2003 caused an uproar. Last year, Reporters Without Borders pointed out that 25 of its 53 member-countries had not even ratified all international human rights agreements, treaties and conventions.
Reporters Without Borders has proposed reforming the Commission by requiring member-countries to have ratified all these accords. It has also called for abolition of the device of “no-action motions” used to block all discussion about countries that are large-scale human rights violators.
Good for them.