Saudi Arabia and Chad easily won coveted seats on the UN Security Council today, despite criticism from human rights groups that their rights records are abysmal. Nigeria, Lithuania, and Chile also won seats. The five candidates endorsed by regional groups faced no opposition because there were no contested races for the first time in several years.
- Philippe Bolopion, United Nations director for Human Rights Watch, denounced the election of Chad, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia. "The prestige of a seat at the world's foremost diplomatic table should prompt the new members to get their house in order," he told the AP. "Chad should put an end to the recruitment of child soldiers, which earned it a spot on the UN list of shame. Saudi Arabia should end its crackdown on human rights activists and grant women their full rights." And Nigeria, he said, should "end chronic abuse by security forces and better protect civilians in the north" from attacks by the Boko Haram terrorist network.
- Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch, accused Saudi Arabia of denying women the right to vote, drive a car, or travel without the permission of a male relative. He also accused it of "praising and shielding Sudan" whose president, Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Neuer said Chad should not have oversight on UN peacekeeping operations as long it employs child soldiers.
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