US slams Syria bid for UN Human Rights Council

AP News
Posted: Jul 11, 2013 7:22 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States on Thursday slammed Syria and Iran for seeking seats on the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, saying their own rights violations are under U.N. investigation.

Iran said later Thursday it had dropped out of the race after contemplating a campaign earlier this year.

Syria remains a candidate to join the 47-nation council, along with other often-criticized nations such as Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Vietnam and Russia.

Syria is embroiled in a brutal civil war, with human rights groups blaming both President Basher Assad's government and rebels for abuses. Iran, a key Syrian ally, is criticized for jailing political prisoners and executing drug offenders.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Rosemary DiCarlo told reporters that "attempts by either country to join the Human Rights Council are highly inappropriate given existing Human Rights Council mandates to investigate human rights violations in these countries, their egregious records on human rights and their ongoing collaboration to suppress the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people."

A spokesman for Iran's U.N. Mission, Alireza Miryousefi, confirmed late Thursday that Iran had withdrawn its candidacy back in February.

The 193-member U.N. General Assembly will vote in November to elect 14 nations to three-year terms on the council.

Regional groups within the General Assembly hold caucuses to select their preferred candidates.