World
UN elects Sudan to human rights panel

United Nations General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic of Serbia addresses 67th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York September 25, 2012.

Credits: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR

KRIS SIMS | QMI AGENCY

The United Nations has placed Sudan on its panel that oversees human rights and the plight of women.

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) elected new member countries to its group this week, and Sudan won a spot on Africa's branch.

"Benin, Mauritius, Tunisia, South Africa and Sudan get elected in the UNECOSOC from the African States Group, congratulations to the new members of the UNECOSOC!" wrote Vuk Jeremic, the president of the 67th session of the United Nations general assembly in a tweet this week.

Africa has five seats on the 47 member council that includes Canada and other western countries.

The election to the post happened even though the UN's International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an international arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2009 for his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity and genocide, targeting blacks in the Darfur region.

The UN says more than 300,000 people have died during the armed conflicts in that region, most from disease.

Canada expressed disgust at the news.

"It is truly unfortunate the United Nations has chosen one of the world's worst offenders of human rights assume a post on ECOSOC," said Rick Roth, spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, in an e-mail to QMI.

"This development not only undermines the efforts of those member states that commit to uphold the United Nations' fundamental principles but also the UN institutions themselves. Despite this development, we pledge our unwaivering commitment to combat human rights abuses in countries like Sudan."

A watchdog group that monitors the UN was the first to highlight the election.

"It's an outrage," Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch said in a statement. "Electing genocidal Sudan to a global human rights body is like choosing Jack the Ripper to guard a women's shelter. This diminishes the credibility of the United Nations human rights system and casts a shadow upon the reputation of the organization as a whole."

The NDP was not able to respond to the news as their critic is overseas and the United Nations did not respond to questions from QMI by press time.

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