Pledges of Human Rights Council Candidates vs. the Reality 2009

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;"


The Human Rights Pledge of Jordan:
    "The promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedom for all continues to be a high priority for Jordan... [A] strong partnership between the Government and civil society has been established. Among the fruits of this partnership Jordan has played host to several seminars and workshops on various human rights issues, especially women and children rights, freedom of expression and other social and economic rights. "
    ( /assets/attachments/documents/7628.doc )

Some of what Jordan neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "The government restricted citizens' right to change their government. Domestic and international NGOs reported cases of torture, arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention, and the continuance of poor prison conditions. Impunity, denial of due process of law, and limited judicial independence remained problems. Infringements on citizens' privacy rights continued. The government harassed religious activists and opposition political party members and restricted to varying degrees freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, and movement. Legal and societal discrimination existed against women, converts from Islam, and persons of Palestinian origin. Restrictions on labor rights and abuse of foreign domestic workers remained problems."
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The Human Rights Pledge of China :
    "The Chinese Government is committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Chinese people and has worked unremittingly toward this goal."
    ( /assets/attachments/documents/7643.doc)

Some of what China neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "The government's human rights record remained poor and worsened in some areas...The government continued to monitor, harass, detain, arrest, and imprison journalists, writers, activists, and defense lawyers and their families, many of whom were seeking to exercise their rights under the law. A lack of due process and restrictions on lawyers further limited progress toward rule of law, with serious consequences for defendants who were imprisoned or executed following proceedings that fell far short of international standards. The party and state exercised strict political control of courts and judges, conducted closed trials, and carried out administrative detention. Individuals and groups, especially those deemed politically sensitive by the government, continued to face tight restrictions on their freedom to assemble, their freedom to practice religion, and their freedom to travel. The government continued its coercive birth limitation policy, in some cases resulting in forced abortion or forced sterilization...Serious social conditions that affected human rights included endemic corruption, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against women, minorities, and persons with disabilities."


The Human Rights Pledge of Bangladesh:
    "Bangladesh is strongly committed to the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Its commitment to promoting and protecting human rights flows from the realization that the well-being of the people can only be ensured through effective enjoyment of all human rights by all. Bangladesh has been endeavouring to build a society that is free from all forms of exploitation and in which human rights, fundamental freedoms, equality and justice are secured. Bangladesh holds that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and mutually reinforcing."
    ( /assets/attachments/documents/7649_Banglades_HR_c_pledge_5-5-09.doc)

Some of what Bangladesh neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "...the government's human rights record remained a matter of serious concern, in part due to the state of emergency that remained in place for most of the year and the failure to fully investigate extrajudicial killings. The state of emergency, which was relaxed temporarily in advance of local elections in August and finally lifted on December 17, curtailed many fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of association, and the right to bail. The government promulgated the Emergency Powers Rules (EPR) 2007 and Emergency Powers Ordinance 2007 to enforce the state of emergency. The anticorruption drive that the government initiated, while greeted with popular support, gave rise to concerns about fairness and equity under the law. For most of the year the government banned political activities, although this policy was enforced unevenly. There was a decrease in the number of extrajudicial killings by security forces, but they committed serious abuses, including extrajudicial killings, custodial deaths, arbitrary arrest and detention, and harassment of journalists. Some members of security forces acted with impunity and committed acts of physical and psychological torture. Violence against women and children remained a serious problem, as did trafficking in persons."






The Human Rights Pledge of Kenya:
    "Kenya attaches great importance to the promotion of and respect for human rights as universally shared principles and norms as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and relevant international human rights instruments. The Republic of Kenya has assumed the highest international standards and is a signatory to the major human rights treaties and to most of their optional protocols and regularly submits reports on their implementation."
    ( /assets/attachments/documents/7570_Kenya_pledge_HRC_3-30-09.pdf )

Some of what Kenya neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "The following human rights problems were reported: unlawful killings, torture, rape, and use of excessive force by police and the military; mob violence; police corruption and impunity; harsh and life threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; arbitrary interference with the home; prolonged pretrial detention; executive influence on the judiciary; restrictions on freedom of speech, assembly, and of the press; forced return of refugees and societal abuse of refugees including killing and rape; official corruption; violence and discrimination against women including female genital mutilation (FGM); child prostitution and labor; trafficking in persons, including recruitment of child soldiers and minor Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs); interethnic violence; and lack of enforcement of workers' rights."
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The Human Rights Pledge of Cameroon:
    "Cameroon's commitment to Human Rights is reflected through the creation of an appropriate legal and institutional framework, the adoption of a number of instruments to ensure the protection of Human Rights. The fundamental rights are rooted into the constitutional bedrock and the Constitution also provides the incorporation of international conventions and agreements into the domestic legal framework with a transcendental dimension."
    ( /assets/attachments/documents/7625.doc)

Some of what Cameroon neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "The following human rights problems were reported: security force use of excessive force against civilians, criminal suspects, and detainees, resulting in injuries; arbitrary arrest and detention; abuse of prisoners and harsh prison conditions; official impunity; occasional restrictions on freedom of the press and freedom of assembly; corruption; violence and discrimination against women and children, including female genital mutilation (FGM); trafficking in persons, including children; discrimination against persons with disabilities; and child labor."
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The Human Rights Pledge of Djibouti :
    "The Republic of Djibouti had already demonstrated its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights by ratifying or acceding to the following international and regional agreements: The Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1990; The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in 2002; The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, in 1999; The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the two Optional Protocols thereto, in 2002; The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, in 2002; The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol; The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights; The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa."
    ( /assets/attachments/documents/7626.doc)

Some of what Djibouti neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "Serious problems included difficult...prison conditions; corruption; official impunity; arbitrary arrest and detention; prolonged pretrial detention; interference with privacy rights; restrictions on freedom of the press, assembly, and association; and restrictions on unions. FGM was widely performed on young girls...[A]n estimated 93 percent of females in the country had undergone FGM..."
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The Human Rights Pledge of Cuba:
    "The Government of the Republic of Cuba gives the highest importance to international cooperation for the promotion and protection of human rights within the United Nations..."
    ( /assets/attachments/documents/7632cuba.pdf )

Some of what Cuba neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "The government continued to deny its citizens their basic human rights and committed numerous, serious abuses. The government denied citizens the right to change their government. At year's end there were at least 205 political prisoners and detainees. As many as 5,000 citizens served sentences for "dangerousness," without being charged with any specific crime. The following human rights problems were reported: beatings and abuse of detainees and prisoners, including human rights activists, carried out with impunity; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions, including denial of medical care; harassment, beatings, and threats against political opponents by government-recruited mobs, police, and State Security officials; arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights advocates and members of independent professional organizations; denial of fair trial; and interference with privacy, including pervasive monitoring of private communications. There were also severe limitations on freedom of speech and press; denial of peaceful assembly and association; restrictions on freedom of movement, including selective denial of exit permits to citizens and the forcible removal of persons from Havana to their hometowns; restrictions on freedom of religion..."
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The Human Rights Pledge of Azerbaijan:
    "Azerbaijan regards the protection and promotion of human rights as an issue of priority for its internal and foreign policy agenda. It assumes that peace and security, development and human rights are cornerstones of the contemporary international relations, while the rule of law, democracy and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms are key pillars for national development. All human rights and fundamental freedoms set forth in the international documents are enshrined in the Constitution of Azerbaijan."
    ( /assets/attachments/documents/7629.doc)

Some of what Azerbaijan neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "The government's human rights record remained poor and worsened in some areas. The public's right to peacefully change the government was restricted in the October presidential election. Torture and beating of persons in police and military custody resulted in three deaths, and law enforcement officials acted with impunity. Prison conditions were generally harsh and life threatening. Arbitrary arrest and detention, particularly of individuals considered by the government to be political opponents, and lengthy pretrial detention continued. The government continued to imprison persons for politically motivated reasons. Pervasive corruption, including in the judiciary and law enforcement, continued. Restrictions on freedom of assembly continued...Restrictions and pressure on the media and restrictions on political participation worsened. The government imposed restrictions on the activities of some unregistered Muslim and Christian groups. Cases of violence against women were also reported. Trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation and forced labor remained a problem."


The Human Rights Pledge of the Russian Federation :
    "The Russian Federation is firmly attached to such fundamental values as freedom, justice, life, well-being and human dignity, family traditions, political diversity, integrity of the court system, responsibility of leadership, social guarantees and the eradication of poverty and corruption, as well as to its international obligations in the field of human rights. We continue to pursue a policy of the further strengthening of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms."
    ( /assets/attachments/documents/7631.doc)

Some of what the Russian Federation neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "There were numerous reports of government and societal human rights problems and abuses during the year... Security forces reportedly engaged in killings, torture, abuse, violence, and other brutal or humiliating treatment, often with impunity. In Chechnya, Ingushetiya, and Dagestan, security forces were allegedly involved in unlawful killings and politically motivated abductions. ... extrajudicial killings increased in Ingushetiya... Prison conditions were harsh and frequently life threatening, law enforcement was often corrupt, and the executive branch allegedly exerted influence over judicial decisions in some high-profile cases. ... Unresolved killings of journalists remained a problem. ... the government restricted media freedom through direct ownership of media outlets... Local governments limited freedom of assembly...The government limited freedom of association. The government restricted religious groups in some regions, and there were incidents of societal discrimination, harassment, and violence against religious minorities, including anti-Semitism. Trafficking in persons continued to be a significant problem...During the year there was a steady rise in xenophobic, racial, and ethnic attacks and hate crimes, particularly by skinheads, nationalists, and right-wing extremists ... Domestic violence remained a major problem. The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that during the year approximately 12,000 women were killed by their husbands, boyfriends, or other family members."