The countries in the UN Human Rights Council are terrible at human rights

Who can fill my shoes?
Who can fill my shoes?
Image: AP Photo/Aaron Favila
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The yearly cohort of countries to join the UN Human Rights Council was voted in today. The new members—Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, India, Italy, Philippines, Somalia, Togo, and Uruguay—were selected in order to achieve an equitable representation of different regions, from the Caribbean to Eastern Europe. 

The only problem: Many of them have dismal human rights records, themselves.

This year, the Philippines (an expert in extra-judiciary killings) and Eritrea (a dictatorship), join pre-existing members like Saudi Arabia (infamous for restricting women’s freedom). Five have such poor data on human rights that they weren’t even ranked on the Cato Institute’s 2017 Human Freedoms Index, a comprehensive report on 159 countries’ respect for rule of law, civil liberties, access to trade, and legal and property rights. Here’s how the rest of the council’s members rank.