June 10, 2019

UNITED NATIONS: UN Draws Fire After Electing Somalia, Congo To Women’s Rights Boards: 'Asking The Fox To Guard The Chickens'. 77% of UNHRC Reps Praise DR Congo’s Human Rights Record. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Fox News
written by Adam Shaw
Wednesday May 8, 2019

The United Nations has elected several countries with poor women’s rights records to boards charged with promoting those rights -- leading one critic to compare the decision to “asking the fox to guard the chickens.”

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lebanon, Nigeria and Sierra Leone were among those elected by the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to the Executive Board of the U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (U.N. Women), while Somalia was among those elected to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.

The Executive Board governs U.N. Women’s operational activities, approves its programs and activities, and decides the budgets and financial plans of the body. The Commission on the Status of Women, meanwhile, is tasked with “the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women,” according to its website.

“The CSW is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women,” the website says.

While numerous other countries such as Germany and New Zealand were also elected to terms on these panels, the presence of nations with poor women’s rights records is likely to raise questions.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report placed Congo at 144th out of 147 countries it monitored. Lebanon was 140th, Nigeria was 133rd and Sierra Leone was 114th.

“The election to U.N. women’s rights bodies of countries such as Somalia, where female genital mutilation is widespread, or the Democratic Republic of Congo, which many consider the rape capital of the world, is a betrayal of the UN’s founding principles,” Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, an independent monitoring group based in Switzerland, told Fox News.

“By placing regimes that are complicit with some of the worst crimes committed against women to global leadership posts on women’s equality, the U.N. is saying that they don’t really care about the rights of women,” he said. “This just sends absolutely the wrong message.”

A U.N. Women official stressed to Fox News that elections are a member states-led process with member states being elected by their peers, and that therefore the body does not comment on the countries elected to the board and commission.

"U.N. Women welcomes in inter-governmental fora all countries that are interested in discussing and promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women," the official said. "The U.N. Women Executive Board and the CSW are Member State fora where all countries have the right to contribute to a constructive discussion on gender equality."

The U.N. Women’s website itself gives some damning summaries of those countries that have been elected. It notes that “the women of Somalia bear an unequal brunt of the hardships occasioned by poverty, conflict and clan-based culture which promotes strict male hierarchy and authority.”

“Somalia has extremely high rates of maternal mortality, rape, cases of female genital mutilation, violence against women and child marriage,” the U.N. Women’s website says. “Women’s access to justice is restricted both within the formal, clan based and sharia-based judicial systems. Women face limited access to economic resources and assets. This is compounded by women’s low participation in politics and decision making spheres.”

“Violence against women and girls remains high in Somalia with displaced women and girls targeted. Somalia also has a history of violent attacks on women leaders, women who speak out against gender-based violence and the men and women who defend them,” it says.

U.N. Women reports that in the DRC, up to 52 percent of women are survivors of domestic violence, and that women have little access to decent jobs, less access to education and lower rates of literacy.

Lebanon, meanwhile, is praised for recent strides in women empowerment and for having “one of the most vibrant feminist movements in the Arab region” but the report notes a number of "legal, institutional and social hurdles to women’s full enjoyment of their rights remain in place” and the labor force participation rate for women is just 22 percent, compared with 72 percent for men.

“Countries that show contempt to the founding purposes of UN women’s rights bodies should never have been elected as their leaders,” Neuer said. “It’s asking the fox to guard the chickens.”

The elections are the latest example of countries with questionable records being elected to U.N. bodies charged with protecting rights. The Human Rights Council, from which the U.S. withdrew last year, currently includes Cuba, China, DRC, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia among its members.
UN Watch
written by Staff
Tuesday May 7, 2019

GENEVA, May 8, 2019 — Nation after nation lined up at the UN yesterday to shower praise on the human rights record of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a notorious abuser of human rights, during a mandatory review that all UN member states undergo every five years at the UN Human Rights Council. DRC is itself a member. (See quotes at bottom.)

While the review is meant to scrutinize governments and thereby strengthen the basic rights and freedoms of their citizens, 76 out of 99 countries that abused the opportunity by showering praise on the country, according to a count by UN Watch.

Another 12 countries expressed some praise for DRC’s alleged achievements while also applying scrutiny in their statements. If one includes these statements, then 88 out of 99 countries, or 89%, expressed praise for the DR Congo government.

Only a small minority of countries challenged DR Congo—an elected member of the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council—with the criticism and questioning it deserved based on its well-documented record of human rights abuses.

A 2018 UN investigation suggests that abuses by DRC security forces amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes. Some abuses include deliberate killings of civilians, use of child soldiers, mass rape, and widespread torture.

Unfortunately, some countries praised the country’s recent elections as evidence for the government’s progress in the realm of human rights, despite the fact that several international election observers have cast doubt on the integrity of the election results.

Representing DRC at the UN session was Marie-Ange Mushobekwa, the country’s human rights minister, who boasted of several strides in the realm of human rights since their last review five years ago.

“It’s a great privilege for us to sit in the Human Rights Council, and we shouldered the commitment to behave in an exemplary fashion,” she said.

May 7, 2019

North Korea: “We commend [DRC’s] steadfast commitments and sincere efforts for the promotion and protection of human rights.”
China: “We welcome [DRC’s] efforts and focus in terms of promotion and protection of human rights.”
Libya: “We commend the Democratic Republic of Congo for promoting gender equality and protecting human rights.”
South Africa: We are “encouraged by the [DRC’s] reduction of child involvement in conflicts.”
Venezuela: DR Congo’s “internal legal order is in line with human rights commitments.”
Russia: “We support the Congolese authorities and their efforts to improve the situation of human rights.”
Eritrea: “My delegation congratulates the government [of DRC] for progress made.”
Zimbabwe: “The DRC adopted a number of legislative measures to enhance the realization of the rights of women, children, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples.”
Iraq: “The organization of elections had its effect strengthening democratic principles in the country.”
Burundi: “The [DRC’s] elections were democratic, transparent, free, and took place peacefully.”
Egypt: “We take note with satisfaction [DRC’s] efforts taken linked to human rights.”
Mauritania: “Our country hails progress made [by DRC].”
Myanmar: “Myanmar commends efforts of the [DRC] government.”
Chad: We commend “true political will [of DRC] to promote human rights.”

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