Two reform proposals for membership in the UN human rights council

Gabriel C. Salvia, Matthias Peschke
Content Type
Special Report
Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL)
The biggest problem the UN is facing when defending Human Rights is that only a minority of its 193 members have a well-institutionalized democracy. Furthermore, unlike many authoritarian regimes and countries with poor democratic systems, which constitute the majority in the General Assembly, they do not coordinate their policy on human rights with each other. What stood out after analyzing the membership of the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) between 2007 and 2017 was that three countries with a poor record on human rights, namely Saudi Arabia, Cuba and China, in fact, served for the longest time possible. Without question, it is rather unlikely that these dictatorships will contribute to the mission of the UNHRC, which consists of promoting human rights in all member states. However, what is even more concerning is that most countries, which Freedom House considers “Not Free” or “Partly Free”, have stagnated in terms of political and civil liberties while serving as members on the Council. This reaffirms the need to introduce reforms that would tackle its membership problem and render it more efficient.
Human Rights, United Nations
Political Geography
China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia