Syria and Iran are planning to run for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council later this year, despite reports of ongoing and widespread abuse of citizens in both countries.
The election, to be held in New York, will fill 14 spots for three-year terms beginning in January, Reuters reported.
Hillel Neuer, the head of the advocacy group UN Watch, said that “countries that murder and torture their own people must not be allowed to become the world’s judges on human rights.
“Because both regimes were recently elected to other U.N. human rights panels — Iran on the women’s rights commission, and Syria on UNESCO’s human rights committee — we cannot take anything for granted,” he added, according to Reuters.
Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch told Reuters: “Syria’s candidacy, if maintained, would be a cruel joke, but would almost certainly be met with a resounding defeat.”
Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government and rebels are engulfed in a civil war that has killed as many as 100,000 people.