On November 4, Cuban democracy activist Rosa Maria Paya, Chinese dissidents Chen Guangcheng and Yang Jianli, Saudi scholar and activist Ali al-Ahmed, and Russian journalist and author Masha Gessen joined HRF and the Geneva-based organization UN Watch to protest the election of their authoritarian governments to the UNHRC. The UNHRC pledges to subject countries to a peer review based on “objective and reliable information” about their human rights records during their membership. Yet authoritarian regimes like Venezuela, Angola, and Kazakhstan continue to enjoy member status and steer the debate away from their own human rights abuses.
In November 2012, HRF co-hosted our first event at the United Nations headquarters in New York with the Geneva-based organization UN Watch. The event focused on raising awareness of the hypocrisy of the election of Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and Venezuela to the UNHRC. HRF brought human rights activists from those countries to testify about the abuses committed by their respective governments.