With Nicolás Maduro’s regime in Venezuela likely to be handed a seat on the Human Rights Council in Geneva in two weeks’ time, a U.S. official says the absence of criteria barring the election of such rights violators onto the U.N.’s top human rights body provides a “perfect example” of why the Trump administration withdrew from it.
The regime, which the U.S. and more than 50 other nations no longer recognize as Venezuela’s legitimate government, has formally submitted its candidacy ahead of the election on October 16, when the U.N. General Assembly meets in New York to fill 14 seats on the 47-member HRC, for the 2020-2022 period.
Under U.N. rules, two of the 14 vacancies must be filled by countries in Latin American and the Caribbean group (GRULAC). The group has submitted a “closed slate” of just two candidates – Brazil and Venezuela.
As things stand, the Maduro regime is guaranteed success, unless:
–Other governments successfully pressurize it to withdraw its candidacy;
–Another GRULAC country enters the race, turning the voting exercise into an actual contest; or
–The Maduro regime fails to achieve the required 97 votes, a simple majority in the 193-member General Assembly.
With 17 days to go until the election, there is no sign that Maduro will withdraw, and no indication of a newcomer submitting its candidacy.
The regime could in theory fail to obtain the required 97 votes, but the U.N.’s record in that regard is very poor: Voting is by secret ballot, and past HRC elections have witnessed repressive regimes win seats, repeatedly, by large vote margins (For example, China has garnered as many as 180 votes, Cuba 163, Saudi Arabia 154, and Pakistan 171.)
The Non-Aligned Movement, a bloc whose 120 members comprise a majority in the General Assembly, has already thrown its support behind the Maduro regime’s HRC candidacy.
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