A new UN Watch Report, “Dawn of New Era?”, analyzes the performance of the UN HRC in its first year. UN Watch concludes that the new council has largely been a failure and in some instances even worse than before. According to the report, the body has a “brazen alliance” of repressive regimes including Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Russia. While the old Commission on Human Rights criticized Israel about 50% of the time, 100% of the new council’s condemnations have been directed towards Israel – not even Sudan has been censured. Prior to the HRC’s establishment in May 2006, major NGOs such as HRW and Amnesty praised the UN reform, criticizing those who predicted the council would be a failure. HRW has only recently come to terms with the problems of the HRC, though only a few of its statements criticizing the institution mention its exclusive focus on Israel. This NGO and others who condemned the US and Israel for demanding serious reform have yet to admit their mistaken evaluation.
In addition to “Dawn of a New Era?,” UN Watch, in conjunction with Freedom House, issued a report on May 7, 2007, evaluating the suitability of candidates for the UN Human Rights Council before the body’s election on May 17. The evaluation found the overwhelming majority of candidates were either “not qualified” or had “questionable” qualifications to serve on the Council. Only four countries were found to be “well qualified.”
HRW is also part of a coalition that also evaluates the candidates for the HRC, though rather than evaluating all candidates, the coalition has only openly opposed the candidacies of Belarus and Egypt.