During the years when the late Hugo Chavez ruled Venezuela and attacked human rights there, the UN Human Rights Council was unable to adopt one single resolution about Venezuela. To this sad record a final note was added this week: a moment of silence in his honor.
This would have been objectionable even if the Council had a tradition of such actions, and was following its own rules and procedures. But it has no such practices, so the homage to Chavez was simply a mockery of the Council’s purposes. UN Watch has an account of the event here, calling the honor to Chavez
excessive, uncustomary, and disrespectful of its own experts’ findings of gross and systematic human rights abuses committed by the Caracas government, and of testimony by Venezuelan victims whom UN Watch had brought before the Council.
Now should be a time for the UN to show solidarity with the victims…and not with the perpetrators.
Instead of praising an autocrat who persecuted his country’s independent judges, journalists, human rights activists and students — and who vocally supported mass murderers, tyrants and terrorists in Syria, Libya, and Iran — the UN should be apologizing for having just elected the Chavez regime to its human rights council, and it should begin to call for accountability, reform and an end to impunity in Venezuela.
It is no doubt impossible to prevent the Cuban ambassador from honoring Chavez, but here the institution honored him–putting it as UN Watch said on the side of the perpetrators instead of the victims of human rights abuses. The United States–which stayed out of the Council under President Bush but joined it under President Obama–should investigate how this incident happened and take steps now to prevent a re-occurrence. A festival of tears when Fidel Castro dies would dishonor the Council forever and cannot be permitted.