Concern about UN Human Rights Council

Two senior staff of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) have expressed concern that in the Geneva meeting of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that began on 10 June and runs through until 27 June are a number of member states that continue to perpetrate or tolerate serious violations of human rights, including religious freedom.

Katrina Lantos Swett and Mary Ann Glendon state that five of its 13 new states this year — China, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Cuba, and Russia — have been cited by USCIRF for failing to respect or protect this liberty. They argue that “Their behaviour contradicts the Council’s mission of promoting and protecting fundamental rights, including religious freedom. The world community should spotlight this incongruity and support accountability and change.”

The article concludes “Until these nations show signs of genuine progress on human rights, including religious freedom, their UNHRC presence sends an unfortunate message to both friends and foes of freedom. It makes the role of the United States and other supporters of human rights and religious freedom all the more pivotal, not only to address these violations but to stand as witness to them, providing strength and hope to the oppressed.”

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