United Nations director for Human Rights Watch, Philippe Bolopion, has criticised the recent election of Nigeria, Chad and Saudi Arabia as non-permanent members at the UN Security Council due to the countries’ appalling Human Rights records.
In Nigeria’s case, the UN diplomat cited extra judicial killings of suspected Boko Haram operatives while failing to protect civilians from incessant terrorist attacks from the religious sect.
In the case of Chad, Bolopion accused the African country of recruiting child soldiers, which he said has earned it a spot in the UN list of shame.
He singled out Saudi Arabia for the country’s crackdown on Human Rights group and urged the Saudi government to grant women their full rights.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based Human Rights group, UN Watch, also joined Philipe Bolopion in his criticism of Saudi Arabia and Chad.
He accused Saudi Arabia of denying women the right to drive a car, vote in elections or travel without the permission of a male relative. The Saudi Authorities were also accused of “praising and Shielding Sudan”. The Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes.
As for Chad, Neuer said it should not have oversight on UN peacekeeping operations as long it employs child soldiers.
The three countries accused did not respond directly to the criticism.
In reaction to the election, Nigeria’s Foreign Minister Viola Onwuliri said her country will focus on conflict prevention, preventive diplomacy, mediation, the control of small arms and light weapons, terrorism and counter-terrorism, and “the protection of all.”
“We’ll talk for Africa,” she said. “The African issues are the majority of issues facing the United Nations Security Council today.”
The 15-member council includes five permanent members with veto power — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France — and 10 non-permanent members elected for two-year terms.
The five countries elected Thursday will assume their posts on Jan. 1 and serve through the end of 2015. They will replace Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo.
Chad, Saudi Arabia and Lithuania have never served on the U.N.’s most powerful body while Nigeria and Chile have both been on the council four times previously.
Nigeria last served as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council as recently as 2010/2011, when the decision to implement a “no fly zone” over Libya was taken.
Nigeria was one of the ten countries that voted in favour of the “no fly zone” decision taken by the UN Security Council, which directly resulted in the toppling of Ghadaffi as Libya’s Head-of-State after 42 years in power. The remaining five countries, including China and the Russian federation abstained from that vote.