NEW YORK, May 5, 2004 (dpa) — Sudan and Pakistan were among the 14 countries elected Tuesday to serve in the 53-member United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which drew protests from some countries and non- governmental organizations.
The United States protested that African countries had submitted a list that included Sudan among the four African candidates to the Geneva-based commission. Sudan has been criticised for serious human rights violations in its western region of Darfur where refugees were victims of the civil war.
The U.S. envoy to the Social and Economic Commission (ECOSOC), which held the election, protested that the African bloc had chosen Sudan, calling the choice “totally inappropriate.”
“In lights of reports of such serious human rights violations in Darfur, the Sudan’s admission to the commission threatens not only to undermine its work, but its very credibility,” U.S. Ambassador Sichuan Siv said.
The Sudanese envoy replied that the U.S. official was shedding “crocodile tears” over the situation in Darfur while turning a blind eye on the reported human rights abuses committed by U.S. troops in Iraq.
Pakistan, a U.S. ally in the global anti-terror campaign, was also criticized by non-governmental organizations for human rights abuses. But its ambassador to the U.N., Munir Akram, who is also president of the U.N. Security Council for May, said Pakistan was elected with 43 votes out of the 54 members of ECOSOC.
“The number speaks for itself,” Akram said.
The newly elected 14 members will begin serving a three-year term in January.
The U.N. Human Rights Commission is responsible for monitoring compliance with human rights conventions by U.N. members. Each year ECOSOC elects one-third of the membership in the human rights panel.
The membership is divided among the world’s regions. Africa selected Sudan, Guinea, Togo and Kenya, which were selected without a vote to fill in four African seats to be vacated in January.
Malaysia (51 votes), Pakistan (43 votes), South Korea (45 votes) were elected for Asia while Vietnam was defeated.
Armenia and Romania were elected for the Eastern European bloc and Ecuador and Mexico for the Latin American and Caribbean bloc.
Canada (38 votes), Finland (48 votes), and France (44 votes) were elected for the Western European bloc while Spain failed to get enough votes.