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B’nai Brith Urges Reform of UN Human Rights Council Election Process and Appointment of an Effective High Commissioner

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August 30, 2022

OTTAWA – B’nai Brith Canada today renewed its call to reform the electoral process for membership at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and is urging UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to choose a more effective candidate for the post of High Commissioner. 

In terms of electoral reform, B’nai Brith hopes to see the UN adopt a standard where nations rated as Not Free will be ineligible for election to the UNHRC.  

Equally important, an invaluable opportunity for improving its effectiveness presents itself with the expiry of the mandate of current UNHRC High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet on August 31. 

B’nai Brith believes that a key solution to redeeming the organization’s credibility is for Guterres to nominate a High Commissioner candidate who reflects the values of the western democratic nations. 

“Bachelet has been an enormous disappointment and public trust in the UNHRC has completely eroded,” said Marvin Rotrand, B’nai Brith’s National Director of its League for Human Rights. “Bachelet has kowtowed to China, whitewashed its treatment of the Uyghurs, and allowed the appointment of antisemites to investigate Israel. No wonder the UNHRC does just about nothing else other than critique Israel.” 

The UNHRC is dominated by nations that are among the worst human rights abusers in the world. Composed of a rogue’s gallery of states such as China, Libya, Eritrea, Somalia, Pakistan, Cuba and Qatar among others, the Council has become a forum for attacking Israel.  

While the plight of the Uyghurs in China and the Rohingya in Myanmar are of little concern, the UNHRC has condemned Israel 99 times since its founding in 2006. This equals the combined condemnations the body has made against all other countries.  

The Taliban in Afghanistan has never merited a rebuke. Russia – a Council member until recently when it was expelled for its invasion of Ukraine – has a single resolution weighing against it. States like Iran and Syria, who violently repress their own people while at the same time exporting terrorism, have hardly been mentioned. China has never been called out for its ongoing human rights abuses. 

“Bachelet has been a failure, never standing up to the antisemites and the nations that flagrantly commit human rights violations. In fact, the UNHRC provides political cover for dictatorships and its unhealthy obsession with Israel promotes global antisemitism,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith’s CEO. “Guterres’ choice for the next High Commissioner will determine if the west should continue to take part in the UNHRC.” 

The High Commissioner is nominated by the Secretary-General for a four-year mandate upon gaining UN General Assembly approval. B’nai Brith has urged Canada’s UN delegation to vote against any candidate who won’t publicly commit to calling out the UNHRC’s anti-Israel bias and promising to do more to expose the world’s true human rights violators.