World Jewish Congress: UNHRC elections demonstrate ‘clear and deep’ need for reform across the board

October 14, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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World Jewish Congress CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer has said that the United Nations Human Rights Council’s elections, in which the number of countries running equaled the number of seats available, demonstrated “a clear and deep need for reform to both the structure and priorities” of the UN’s top human rights body.
“The World Jewish Congress congratulates each of the democratic and tolerance-promoting countries elected today to the UN Human Rights Council, and we wish you the best of luck in working to protect and defend those in need,” Singer said. “However, the very process by which these non-competitive elections were held demonstrates, once again, that the Council must enact much-needed reform in order to truly fulfill its mandate as a body concerned with human rights, rather than advancing a political agenda.”

“We must not forget that some of the countries that sit on this Council are also some of the world’s most notorious human rights violators, a fact that weakens this body’s credibility,” Singer said. “While these countries, whose citizens are suffering on a daily basis, sit and dictate to the world what comprises human rights and how to define what it means to be in violation, Israel remains continuously and biasedly targeted.”

“The UNHRC reforms must include competitive and fair elections, as well as immediate efforts to deal with its double standards against Israel, including the removal of agenda item 7, the only standing item targeting a specific country,” Singer said. “We sincerely hope that the countries newly elected to the Council will push for this strong reform and arrange its priorities in accordance with the true crises facing the international community. Rather than demonizing Israel, this Council should recognize the serious and worrying increase in incidents and attacks targeting Jewish people and their communal property and put antisemitism and other forms of racism and xenophobia at the forefront of its agenda.”

“The WJC will continue to advocate for these much-needed reforms, and we hope to find willing and strong partners among the new members of this Council,” Singer said.

The countries elected to join the existing Council, which as stated, are exactly matched to the seats available, are: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Eritrea, Somalia, Togo (Africa Group); Bahrain, Bangladesh, Fiji, India, Philippines (Asia-Pacific Group); Bulgaria, Czechia (Eastern European Group); Argentina, Bahamas, Uruguay (Latin-American and Caribbean Group); Austria, Denmark, Italy (Western European and Other Group).

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