The UNHRC pledges to subject countries to a peer review based on “objective and reliable information” about their human rights records during their membership. Yet authoritarian regimes continue to enjoy member status and steer the debate away from their own human rights abuses.
In October 2016, HRF cohosted a press conference with UN Watch at the United Nations Correspondence Association to oppose bids from Cuba, China, Egypt, Russia, and Saudi Arabia to join the UNHRC. Saudi human rights activist and wife of Raif Badawi Ensaf Haidar, Chinese dissident and Tiananmen Square survivor Dr. Yang Jianli, and Cuba Archive Truth and Memory Project executive director María Werlau testified about the human rights abuses in their home countries. Hillel Neuer and Javier El-Hage from UN Watch and HRF jointly presented a report evaluating the countries that have submitted candidacies for the election to the UNHRC.
In October 2015, HRF partnered with the Lantos Foundation and UN Watch to host a luncheon at the UN in opposition to bids from Ethiopia, Pakistan, the UAE, and Venezuela for election to the UNHRC. The briefing included testimony from women’s rights advocate and Pakistan expert Dr. Qanta Ahmed as well as Diego Arria, the former president of the U.N. Security Council. HRF president Thor Halvorssen and UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer jointly presented a report evaluating the countries that have submitted candidacies for the upcoming election of new members to the UNHRC.
In November 2013, HRF partnered with UN Watch to protest the election of the dictatorships of Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia, and Russia to the UNHRC. Cuban democracy activist Rosa Maria Paya, Chinese dissidents Chen Guangcheng and Yang Jianli, Saudi scholar and activist Ali al-Ahmed, and Russian journalist and author Masha Gessen joined to give testimony about the crimes of these authoritarian states. HRF president Thor Halvorssen and UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer jointly presented a report evaluating the countries that submitted candidacies for the November 12, 2013, election of new members to the UNHRC.
In November 2012, HRF co-hosted our first event at the United Nations headquarters in New York with the Geneva-based organization UN Watch. The event focused on raising awareness of the hypocrisy of the election of Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and Venezuela to the UNHRC. HRF brought human rights activists from those countries to testify about the abuses committed by their respective governments.