Pledges of Human Rights Council Candidates vs. the Reality 2020


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;"

CHINA

The Human Rights Pledge of China
    "The promotion and protection of human rights is high on the Chinese Government's agenda. The principle of respecting and protecting human rights is articulated in the context of the Constitution of the Communist Party of China, the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the national economic and social development plan. China persists in integrating the principle of universality of human rights with its national conditions, and espousing a people-centred view of human rights. The Chinese Government constantly promotes economic and social development, social fairness and justice, and strengthens the rule of law for human rights. In addition, it endeavours to improve the rights of all its people in a coordinated manner and works for their rounded development. China opens a new path of human rights protection based on its national conditions."
    (Voluntary pledge for candidacy to Human Rights Council - China, A/75/90)
Some of what China neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "The People's Republic of China (PRC) is an authoritarian state... During the year the government continued its campaign of mass detention of members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang). Authorities were reported to have arbitrarily detained more than one million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Muslims in extrajudicial internment camps designed to erase religious and ethnic identities. Chinese government officials justified the camps under the pretense of combating terrorism, separatism, and extremism. International media, human rights organizations, and former detainees reported security officials in the camps abused, tortured, and killed detainees. Government documents, as published by international media, corroborated the coercive nature of the campaign and its impact on members of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang and abroad. Significant human rights issues included: arbitrary or unlawful killings by the government; forced disappearances by the government; torture by the government; arbitrary detention by the government; harsh and life-threatening prison and detention conditions; political prisoners; arbitrary interference with privacy; substantial problems with the independence of the judiciary; physical attacks on and criminal prosecution of journalists, lawyers, writers, bloggers, dissidents, petitioners, and others as well as their family members;..."
    (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices China 2019, U.S. Department of State)

CUBA

The Human Rights Pledge of Cuba
    "The important achievements of Cuba in such areas as health, education, scientific and technical research, culture and sports are known internationally. However, what has been hidden or distorted is the fact that all this has been possible precisely because the Cuban people are the masters of their political fate and the country's resources, exercise the fullest power and control over the country's life, and participate actively in the effective system of democracy that they designed and approved in a universal plebiscite."
    (Voluntary pledge for candidacy to Human Rights Council - Cuba, A/75/71)
Some of what Cuba neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "Cuba is an authoritarian state... Significant human rights issues included: reports of abuse of political dissidents, detainees, and prisoners by security forces; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrests and detentions; significant problems with the independence of the judiciary; political prisoners; and arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy. The government severely restricted freedom of the press, used criminal libel laws against persons critical of leadership, and engaged in censorship and site blocking. There were limitations on academic and cultural freedom; restrictions on the right of peaceful assembly; denial of freedom of association, including refusal to recognize independent associations; restrictions on internal and external freedom of movement and severe restrictions of religious freedom. Political participation was restricted to members of the ruling party, and elections were not free and fair. There was official corruption, trafficking in persons, outlawing of independent trade unions, and compulsory labor."
    (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Cuba 2019, U.S. Department of State)

GABON

    NO PLEDGE SUBMITTED

MALAWI

The Human Rights Pledge of Malawi
    "2. Malawi firmly believes in the universality and indivisibility of the principles of human rights and has over the years shown its unwavering commitment to this cause. Malawi endeavours to continue its resolve in the promotion of the universal values of human rights through strong and credible institutions and international cooperation."
    (Voluntary pledge for candidacy to Human Rights Council - Malawi, A/75/330)
Some of what Malawi neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "Significant human rights issues included: extrajudicial killings, torture, and arbitrary detention committed by official security forces; harsh and life-threatening prison and detention center conditions; significant acts of corruption; lack of investigation and enforcement in cases of violence against girls and women, including rape and domestic violence, partly due to weak enforcement; trafficking in persons; and criminalization of same-sex sexual conduct."
    (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Malawi 2019, U.S. Department of State)

NEPAL

The Human Rights Pledge of Nepal
    "2. Nepal is an inclusive democratic nation striving for socioeconomic development and prosperity. Nepal's commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights is total and unequivocal. Nepal believes in an inclusive and integrated approach to democracy, development and human rights and considers them as essential characteristics of a democratic society. To strengthen the national implementation of human rights commitments, Nepal has adopted a wide range of legislative, institutional, policy and administrative measures and integrated provisions of international human rights norms into its national laws and policies."
    (Voluntary pledge for candidacy to Human Rights Council - Nepal, A/75/97)
Some of what Nepal neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "Significant human rights issues included: reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings; torture; arbitrary detention by government; site blocking and criminal defamation laws; interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, including overly restrictive NGO laws; restrictions on freedom of movement for refugees, notably resident Tibetans; significant acts of corruption; and use of forced, compulsory, and child labor."
    (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Nepal 2019, U.S. Department of State)

PAKISTAN

The Human Rights Pledge of Pakistan
    "4. Pakistan has made consistent progress in promoting and protecting human rights at home and abroad. This commitment is rooted in our Constitution and driven by the imperative of our functional democracy, improved rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. These ideals are further guided by the vision of our founding father, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who said, "We are the equal citizens of one State." The Constitution of Pakistan lays down the basic human rights framework by guaranteeing fundamental freedoms and civil and political rights and also provides for the progressive realization and enforcement of economic, social and cultural rights. This is supported by our efforts to strengthen the institutional framework for the realization of human rights at all levels.

    5. Pakistan considers human rights as the bedrock of peaceful, inclusive and prosperous societies. It therefore accords high priority to advancing the mutually reinforcing objectives of development, human rights and democracy."
    (Voluntary pledge for candidacy to Human Rights Council - Pakistan, A/75/119)
Some of what Pakistan neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "Significant human rights issues included: unlawful or arbitrary killings by the government or its agents, including extrajudicial killings; forced disappearance; torture; arbitrary detention; arbitrary or unlawful government interference with privacy; the worst forms of restrictions on free expression, the press, and the internet, including violence against journalists, censorship, and site blocking; substantial government interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, such as overly restrictive nongovernmental organization (NGO) laws; severe restrictions of religious freedom; significant restrictions on freedom of movement; acts of corruption within the bureaucracy; unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers by nonstate militant groups; trafficking in persons; crimes involving violence targeting members of racial and ethnic minorities; crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex persons by nonstate actors; the existence or use of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults; and the use of forced or compulsory child labor."
    (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Pakistan 2019, U.S. Department of State)

RUSSIAN FEDERATION

The Human Rights Pledge of the Russian Federation
    "1. The promotion and protection of human rights is an absolute priority of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation.
    ...
    4... Russia has worked consistently to advance cooperation based on equality of rights and mutual respect in promoting and protecting human rights, in accordance with the principles and rules of international law; to eliminate double standards; and to prevent the use of human rights issues as a pretext for interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States."
    (Voluntary pledge for candidacy to Human Rights Council - Russian Federation, A/75/71)
Some of what the Russian Federation neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "The Russian Federation has a highly centralized, authoritarian political system... The country's occupation and purported annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula continued to affect the human rights situation there significantly and negatively. The Russian government continued to arm, train, lead, and fight alongside Russia-led forces in eastern Ukraine. Credible observers attributed thousands of civilian deaths and injuries, as well as numerous abuses, to Russia-led forces in Ukraine's Donbas region (see the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for Ukraine). Authorities also conducted politically motivated arrests, detentions, and trials of Ukrainian citizens in Russia, many of whom claimed to have been tortured. Significant human rights issues included: extrajudicial killings, including of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons in Chechnya by local government authorities; enforced disappearances; pervasive torture by government law enforcement personnel that sometimes resulted in death and occasionally involved sexual violence or punitive psychiatric incarceration; harsh and life-threatening conditions in prisons; arbitrary arrest and detention; political prisoners; severe arbitrary interference with privacy; severe suppression of freedom of expression and media, including the use of "antiextremism" and other laws to prosecute peaceful dissent; violence against journalists; blocking and filtering of internet content and banning of online anonymity; severe suppression of the right of peaceful assembly; severe suppression of freedom of association, including overly restrictive laws on "foreign agents" and "undesirable foreign organizations"; severe restrictions of religious freedom; refoulement of refugees; severe limits on participation in the political process, including restrictions on opposition candidates' ability to seek public office and conduct political campaigns, and on the ability of civil society to monitor election processes; widespread corruption at all levels and in all branches of government; coerced abortion and sterilization; trafficking in persons; and crimes involving violence or threats of violence against persons with disabilities, LGBTI persons, and members of ethnic minorities."
    (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Russian Federation 2019, U.S. Department of State)

SAUDI ARABIA

The Human Rights Pledge of Saudi Arabia
    "1. Saudi Arabia is nominating itself for membership of the Human Rights Council for the period 20212023 owing to its deep-rooted Islamic values, which prohibit the violation of human rights and require that they be protected, its human rights efforts at the national, regional and international levels, and its recognition of the important role that the Human Rights Council plays in improving the situation of human rights in the world."
    (Voluntary pledge for candidacy to Human Rights Council - Saudi Arabia, A/75/377)
Some of what Saudi Arabia neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "Significant human rights issues included: unlawful killings; executions for nonviolent offenses; forced disappearances; torture of prisoners and detainees by government agents; arbitrary arrest and detention; political prisoners; arbitrary interference with privacy; criminalization of libel, censorship, and site blocking; restrictions on freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and movement; severe restrictions of religious freedom; citizens' lack of ability and legal means to choose their government through free and fair elections; trafficking in persons; violence and official discrimination against women,..."
    (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Saudi Arabia 2019, U.S. Department of State)

SENEGAL

    NO PLEDGE SUBMITTED

UZBEKISTAN

The Human Rights Pledge of Uzbekistan
    "3. Uzbekistan is firmly committed to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and strictly accomplishes its international obligations on human rights in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, which encompass the values and principles of democracy and the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the International Bill of Human Rights."
    (Voluntary pledge for candidacy to Human Rights Council - Uzbekistan, A/74/477)
Some of what Uzbekistan neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "Significant human rights issues included: Reports of physical and psychological abuse of detainees by security forces; arbitrary arrest and incommunicado and prolonged detention; political prisoners; restrictions on freedom of speech, the press, and the internet, including censorship, criminal libel, and website blocking; restrictions on assembly and association, including restrictions on civil society, with human rights activists, journalists, and others who criticized the government subject to harassment, prosecution and detention; restrictions on religious freedom; restrictions on freedom of movement; restrictions on political participation in which citizens were unable to choose their government in free, fair, and periodic elections; criminalization of sexual relations between men and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons and conduct; and human trafficking, including forced labor."
    (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Uzbekistan 2019, U.S. Department of State)