Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Human Rights Watch - Votes Count: Monitoring the UN Human Rights Council

Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced that it has updated its website that measures State action with respect to human rights issues.  Called "Votes Count: Monitoring the UNHRC", the website keeps track of how the Members States of the UN Human Rights Council voted on various human rights matters involving individual countries that came before the Council in 2014.

According to John Fisher, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch: “Countries often hide behind their regional groups or the political dynamics at the Human Rights Council, but each has a role in the council's successes and failures, . . . Each council member should be held accountable for its votes and for its leadership, which our VotesCount website makes easily accessible.”

Human Rights Watch provides the voting record, as well as a summary assessment, of each Member States and often does not mince words.  It describes Cuba, China, Russia and Venezuela as having the weakest voting records on human rights issues.  From the African group, HRW noted that South Africa abstained from voting on all resolutions, except for resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Paletine and other occupied Arab territories. By constrast, Botswana received high praise from HRW for its human rights records. Japan is described as a strong supporter of the Councils's mandate, but HRW expressed disappointment with Japan's actions towards Sri Lanka.  From the Western European & Others region, HRW describes Ireland as a strong supporter of the Council's work and complements the United States' leadership on many issues, but regrets the United States' inaction on Palestine. 

This is just a sampling of the information that may be found on the website, so it's worth a look of your own.


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