Australia’s election to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday has again placed the spotlight on the country’s human rights record.
Cuba’s ambassador to the council, Pedro Luis Pedroso, slammed Australia saying “it should be held responsible for its violation of freedoms of speech, assembly and the press.”
Saudi Arabia’s representative to the council, Abdulaziz Alwasil, was just as critical saying that “Australia’s treatment of women is appalling.
“Saudi Arabia’s values of gender equality and protection of women’s rights should serve as a world standard,” he said.
Ambassador Suraya Dalil of Afghanistan agreed: “Afghan has an impeccable record on women’s rights issues and Australia should take note if it ever intends to improve its human rights image on the international stage.”
Congo’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zenon Mukongo Ngay, told the council that “Australia can learn a lot from DR Congo on how a peaceful and tolerant society is run.”
Meanwhile, President of the Council, Joaquim Alexander Maza Martelli, said he was pleased to see “the newly elected UN body made up of so many honourable members.”
He made special mention of new members Angola, Chile, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru and Qatar for their hard work and commitment to human rights values.
“The UN Human Rights Council, elected by the United Nations, has the mandate to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,” he said.