Zimbabwe has been re-elected to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, a move that has been widely criticized. William Brenick is deputy U.S. representative to the U-N Economic and Social Council. He says the government of Zimbabwe is not qualified to sit on the U-N Commission on Human Rights:
"My delegation believes that this candidature is entirely inappropriate. We remain deeply concerned that the government of Zimbabwe maintains repressive controls on political assembly and the media, harasses civil society groups, and continues to encourage a climate where the opposition fears for its safety."
The re-election of Zimbabwe to the U-N Commission on Human Rights is a setback for those who have worked to expose the abuses committed by the government of President Robert Mugabe. Albert Musarurwa is chairman of the Zimbabwe Human Rights N-G-O Forum. He said, "We are disappointed that this august body has allowed Zimbabwe to rejoin its ranks. This is definitely a slap in the face for human rights groups, who have been monitoring and documenting serious rights abuses perpetrated by the Zimbabwean government."
As long as the U-N Commission on Human Rights continues to include such serious human rights violators as Sudan, Cuba, China, and Zimbabwe, it will lack legitimacy. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called for reforms. "In particular," she said, "we should encourage the creation of a legitimate human rights body within the United Nations. Serious action on human rights can only come from countries that respect and protect human rights."
Secretary of State Rice says, "We. . . .must use the power of our shared ideals to accelerate democracy's movement to ever more places around the globe. We must usher in an era of democracy that thinks of tyranny as we thought of slavery; a moral abomination that could not withstand the natural desire of every human being for a life of liberty and of dignity." The U-N Commission on Human Rights could be helping to bring about such change; instead, the membership of countries like Zimbabwe hinders its effectiveness and undermines its legitimacy.
The preceeding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.