Pledges of Human Rights Council Candidates vs. the Reality 2011


According to the UN General Assembly resolution that created the Council (A/RES/60/251, adopted March 15, 2006): "when electing members of the Council, Member States shall take into account the contribution of candidates to the promotion and protection of human rights and their voluntary pledges and commitments made thereto;"

REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

The Human Rights Pledge of the Republic of the Congo:
    "The Republic of the Congo has always acted in accordance with international law in the promotion and protection of human rights...The Republic of the Congo contributes to United Nations efforts for the promotion and protection of human rights...it is important to note that women enjoy the same rights as men in all areas of life (the Congo has a gender policy). Minorities receive sustained attention from the Government, which introduced a bill on the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. The rights of the child are guaranteed, sexual offences punished and civil liberties guaranteed."
    (http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/65/787&Lang=E)

Some of what Congo neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "Principal human rights problems included suspected killings of detainees by security forces; mob violence; beatings and other physical abuse of detainees; rapes; theft; solicitation of bribes; harassment and extortion of civilians by unidentified armed elements...official impunity; arbitrary arrest...infringement of citizens' privacy rights; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, association, and movement; official corruption and lack of transparency; domestic violence, including rape; societal discrimination against women; trafficking in persons; discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, particularly against Pygmies; and child labor... the penalties for rape could be as little as several months...Domestic violence against women, including rape and beatings, was widespread...Child abuse was...thought to be prevalent... A law...in force prohibits homosexual conduct as punishable by up to two years' imprisonment..."
    (http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/af/154341.htm)


PHILLIPINES

The Human Rights Pledge of Philipines:
    "The Philippine Government attaches the greatest importance to the promotion and protection of human rights... the Philippines made lasting contributions to the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, particularly on articles on the equal dignity and freedom of all human beings and non-discrimination."
    (http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/65/790&Lang=E)

Some of what Phillipines neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "Arbitrary, unlawful, and extrajudicial killings by elements of the security services and political killings, including killings of journalists, by a variety of state and non-state actors continued to be serious problems. Concerns about impunity persisted. Members of the security services physically and psychologically abused suspects and detainees, and there were instances of torture...Disappearances occurred, and arbitrary or warrantless arrests and detentions were common. Trials were delayed, and procedures were prolonged. Corruption was endemic...Problems such as violence against women, abuse of children, child sexual exploitation, trafficking in persons, child labor, and ineffective enforcement of worker rights were common."
    (http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/eap/154399.htm)


Burkina Faso

The Human Rights Pledge of Burkina Faso:
    "Burkina Faso was elected a member of the Human Rights Council in 2008 with the support of the African Union and many friendly countries...Burkina Faso pledged to intensify its efforts, policy and activities to protect and promote human rights at the national, regional and international levels...Convinced that the capacity of the Human Rights Council to fulfil its mandate of promoting and protecting fundamental rights in all countries depends on the strong commitment of its members to support these rights, Burkina Faso undertakes to carry out the following activities during its second term...
    - Take effective action against human rights abuses, including blatant and systematic human rights violations and urgent violations of fundamental rights"
    (http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/65/826&Lang=E)

Some of what Burkina Faso neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "Human rights problems included security force use of excessive force against civilians, criminal suspects, and detainees; arbitrary arrest and detention; abuse of prisoners and harsh prison conditions; official impunity; judicial inefficiency and lack of independence; occasional restrictions on freedom of assembly; official corruption; societal violence and discrimination against women and children, including female genital mutilation; trafficking in persons; discrimination against persons with disabilities; and child labor."
    (http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/af/154333.htm)


Nicaragua

The Human Rights Pledge of Nicaragua:
    "Promoting and protecting human rights is part of the fundamental vision and commitments that guide the policies and administration of the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity of Nicaragua...Nicaragua believes that promoting human rights means helping every person understand his or her rights and the ability to exercise them"
    (http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/65/823&Lang=E)

Some of what Nicaragua neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "The most significant human rights abuses during the year included restrictions of citizens' right to change their government and widely reported voting fraud in regional elections...unlawful killings by security forces...police abuse of suspects during arrest...lack of respect for the rule of law and widespread corruption and politicization of the membership and actions of the Supreme Judicial Council (CSJ), the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), and other government organs; withholding of accreditation from election-monitoring nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); and erosion of freedom of speech and press, including government intimidation and harassment of journalists and independent media. There were also frequent instances of corrupt practices; government harassment and intimidation of NGOs; increasing violence against women; trafficking in persons; discrimination against ethnic minorities and indigenous persons and communities; widespread societal discrimination and abuse of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals; discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS..."
    (http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/wha/154513.htm)