Pledges of Human Rights Council Candidates vs. the Reality 2007

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 Angola made to Fellow UN Members (only 89% of which are fully democratic):

Some of what Angola neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "The government's human rights record remained poor and serious problems remained....Human rights abuses included: the abridgement of citizens' right to elect officials at all levels; unlawful killings by police, military, and private security forces; torture, beatings, and harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; corruption and impunity; arbitrary arrest and detention; an inefficient and overburdened judicial system; lengthy pretrial detention; lack of due process; restrictions on freedom of speech, the press, including self-censorship, and assembly; forced evictions without compensation; and discrimination and domestic violence and abuse against women and children."


The Human Rights Pledge Egypt made to Fellow UN Members (only 89% of which are fully democratic):
    "At the domestic level, the Government of Egypt will...Preserve the freedom of the press, the independence of the judiciary, and the role of the Supreme Constitutional Court in reviewing the constitutionality of the laws and to act as an arbiter between the various branches of government...Endeavour to fulfil the aspirations of its people for a better future through a process of political, social and economic reform, anchored in the promotion and protection of human rights..."

Some of what Egypt neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "...serious abuses continued in many areas...[including] limitations on the right of citizens to change their government; a state of emergency, in place almost continuously since 1967; torture and abuse of prisoners and detainees; poor conditions in prisons and detention centers; impunity; arbitrary arrest and detention, including prolonged pretrial detention; executive branch limits on an independent judiciary; denial of fair public trial and lack of due process; political prisoners and detainees; restrictions on civil liberties--freedoms of speech and press, including internet freedom; assembly and association; some restrictions on religious freedom; corruption and lack of transparency; some restrictions on NGOs; and discrimination and violence against women, including female genital mutilation."


The Human Rights Pledge Madagascar made to Fellow UN Members (only 89% of which are fully democratic):

Some of what Madagascar neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "The following serious human rights problems were reported: use of excessive force by security forces to disperse demonstrators, resulting in death and injuries; harsh prison conditions, which resulted in deaths; arbitrary arrest of demonstrators; lengthy pretrial detention; restrictions on freedom of speech and of the press; official corruption; restrictions on freedom of religion; societal discrimination and violence against women; trafficking of women and girls; and child labor, including forced labor."


The Human Rights Pledge the Philippines made to Fellow UN Members (only 89% of which are fully democratic):
    "If re-elected into the Council, the Philippines will continue to play an active role in upholding the rights and welfare of the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, including women, children, indigenous peoples, migrants and persons with disabilities. The Philippines will likewise continue to be a voice for vulnerable groups and will support human rights-based approaches that address their concerns in a comprehensive, positive and practical way....The Philippines condemns extrajudicial killings in the strongest terms and, in cooperation with the international and national human rights community, shall continue to strongly address the issue."

Some of what Philippines neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "During the year there were a number of arbitrary, unlawful, and extrajudicial killings apparently by elements of the security services and of political killings, including killings of journalists, by a variety of actors. Many of these killings went unsolved and unpunished, contributing to a climate of impunity, despite intensified government efforts during the year to investigate and prosecute these cases. Members of the security services committed acts of physical and psychological abuse on suspects and detainees, and there were instances of torture. Arbitrary or warrantless arrests and detentions were common. Trials were delayed and procedures were prolonged. Prisoners awaiting trial and those already convicted were often held under primitive conditions. Corruption was a problem in all the institutions making up the criminal justice system, including police, prosecutorial, and judicial organs. During a brief "state of emergency" in February, there was some attempted interference in freedom of the press and in the right of assembly. In addition to the killings mentioned above, leftwing and human rights activists were often subject to harassment by local security forces. Problems such as violence against women and abuse of children, child prostitution, trafficking in persons, child labor, and ineffective enforcement of worker rights were common."


The Human Rights Pledge Qatar made to Fellow UN Members (only 89% of which are fully democratic):
    "The State of Qatar pays great and increasing attention to the goal of promoting and protecting human rights, considering that effort the cornerstone of the policy of constitutionally, politically, economically, socially and culturally comprehensive reform followed by Qatar.... Among the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, we might mention, among others, equality before the law, the prohibition against discrimination, personal freedom, the criminalization of torture, freedom of the press and expression, the establishment of associations, freedom of worship, the right to work, the right to education and the right of assembly."

Some of what Qatar neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "Citizens lacked the right to change their government peacefully. There were judicially sanctioned corporal punishments. Civil liberties, such as the freedoms of speech (including the use of the Internet), press, assembly, and association continued to be restricted, and limitations existed on freedom of religion. There were also some restrictions on foreign travel, as well as arbitrary deportation, sometimes after detention for several years. Government corruption was perceived to be a problem along with lack of public access to government information. Trafficking in persons, primarily in the labor and domestic worker sectors, was a problem. Discrimination against women, both legally and culturally based, limited their full participation in society. Bidoons (Arabic for "without" meaning "without citizenship"; people with residency ties by not documented nationals) unresolved legal status resulted in discrimination against these noncitizens with residency ties. Worker rights were severely restricted, especially for expatriate laborers and domestic servants."

    "In June 2004, a new criminal code was enacted that established new rules for proselytizing. Individuals caught proselytizing on behalf of an organization, society, or foundation for any religion other than Islam, may be sentenced to a term in prison of up to ten years. If proselytizing is done on behalf of an individual, for any religion other than Islam, the sentence is imprisonment of up to five years. According to this new law, individuals who possess written or recorded materials or items that support or promote missionary activity are imprisoned for up to two years."


The Human Rights Pledge Belarus made to Fellow UN Members (only 89% of which are fully democratic):
    "At the national level, Belarus will do its utmost to ensure that all international human rights instruments to which it is a party are fully observed. Belarus will continue its activities to promote and protect human rights, including social and economic rights, the rights of the child and women's rights."

Some of what Belarus neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "The government's human rights record remained very poor and worsened in some areas as the government continued to commit frequent serious abuses. In March the government denied citizens the right to democratically change their government by holding a fraudulent presidential election. Throughout the election campaign and in the months afterward, opposition and civil society activists, including four domestic election observers and a former presidential candidate, were beaten, harassed, fined or imprisoned. The government failed to account for past disappearances of opposition political figures and journalists....Arbitrary arrests, detentions, and imprisonment of citizens for political reasons, criticizing officials, or participating in demonstrations were common. Court trials, whose outcomes usually were predetermined, frequently were conducted behind closed doors without the benefit of an independent judiciary or independent observers. The government further restricted civil liberties, including freedoms of press, speech, assembly, association, and religion. The government seized at will published materials from civil society activists and closed or limited the distribution of several independent newspapers. The few remaining independent publications often were fined, usually for alleged slander or not following restrictive registration procedures. State security services used unreasonable and often brutal force to disperse peaceful protesters. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and political parties were subjected to harassment, fines, prosecution, and closure. Religious leaders were fined or imprisoned for performing services and ceremonies, and churches were either closed, deregistered, or had their congregations evicted....There was official discrimination against Roma, ethnic and sexual minorities, and the Belarusian language."


The Human Rights Pledge Bosnia and Herzegovina made to Fellow UN Members (only 89% of which are fully democratic):
    "The genuine commitment of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the promotion and protection of human rights is deeply rooted in its distinctive nature as a truly diverse multi-ethnic and multicultural society. Bosnia and Herzegovina truly believes that the development and well-being of its citizens can only be achieved through a culture of dedicated protection and promotion of human rights... .The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms provided for in the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina are secured to all persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status."

Some of what Bosnia and Herzegovina neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "Entity and local governments and police forces frequently allowed or encouraged an atmosphere in which abuses of religious freedom could take place. Compared to 2005 attacks on religious objects and religious officials increased significantly during the year, particularly in the campaign months before the national elections, during which nationalist rhetoric employed by certain political parties heightened religious and ethnic tensions in the country...Ethnically-motivated religious violence was often directed at ethnic symbols, clerics, and religious buildings, particularly in the months surrounding the October 1 national elections. Such acts of violence were reported in several municipalities in the country. Local police generally did not conduct serious investigations into such incidents...Harassment and discrimination against minorities continued throughout the country, often centering on property disputes. These problems included desecration of graves, graffiti, arson, damage to houses of worship, verbal harassment, dismissal from work, threats, and assaults."


The Human Rights Pledge Bolivia made to Fellow UN Members (only 89% of which are fully democratic):
    "As a founding member of the United Nations, Bolivia has acceded to and ratified nearly all the fundamental international human rights instruments, a record that clearly reflects its firm resolve to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights. Bolivia has also adopted the appropriate domestic laws to guarantee their full observance.... The Government of Bolivia reaffirms that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. It will therefore support the equal, balanced and non-discriminatory treatment of all categories of human rights everywhere in the world, in particular the right to development.

Some of what Bolivia neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "The most significant human rights problems were abuses by security forces, including several deaths; harsh prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; threats to civil liberties, including the right to a fair and public trial, press and religious freedoms; corruption and a lack of transparency in government; discrimination based on gender and ethnicity; trafficking in persons; child labor; and brutal working conditions in the mining sector."


The Human Rights Pledge Nicaragua made to fellow UN members (only 89% of which are fully democratic):
    "Nicaragua, in recognizing, promoting and respecting the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Nicaraguans, has made progress in the legal and administrative sphere, and has developed institutions guaranteeing the enforcement of national and international human rights standards, with emphasis on the most vulnerable sectors such as children and adolescents, women, indigenous peoples, disabled people and migrants.... Our country commits itself to using the law to preserve, promote and protect the culture of indigenous peoples and ethnic communities.... The Government is a staunch promoter of the human rights and gender equity of Nicaraguan women, in rural and urban areas, and in all their roles."

Some of what Nicaragua neglected to mention in its pledge:
    "The most significant human rights abuses during the year included harsh prison conditions; widespread corruption and politicization of the judiciary, the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), and other government organs; harassment and abuse of journalists; ineffectiveness, corruption, and politicization of the Office of Human Rights Ombudsman (PDDH); domestic violence; abuse and exploitation of women; violence against children; widespread child labor..."