Skip to navigationSkip to content
JOB REQUIREMENTS

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

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte pauses during his third State of the Nation Address at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Manila, Philippines Monday, July 23, 2018.
AP Photo/Aaron Favila
Who can fill my shoes?
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

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.

Afghanistan
n/a
Cuba
n/a
Eritrea
n/a
Iraq
n/a
Somalia
n/a
Egypt
155th (of 159)
Democratic Republic of the Congo
152
Saudi Arabia
149
Cameroon
145
Angola
142
Pakistan
141
Bangladesh
133
Nigeria
133
Ukraine
132
China
130
Togo
129
Brazil
120
United Arab Emirates
116
Qatar
112
Tunisia
111
Argentina
108
Senegal
108
Burkina Faso
94
Bahrain
88
Nepal
74
Mexico
73
Philippines
71
South Africa
68
Rwanda
65
Fiji
62
Bahamas
53
Peru
51
Hungary
44
Croatia
43
Uruguay
42
Bulgaria
41
Chile
37
Italy
35
Slovakia
33
Iceland
31
Spain
30
Japan
27
Czech Republic
25
Austria
12
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
9
Denmark
8
Australia
5

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.