A Jewish human rights group criticized the election of Syria and Venezuela to leadership posts on a United Nations committee focused on human rights, calling it evidence of the "hypocrisy of the U.N. system."
B’nai B’rith International circulated a press release Friday expressing outrage after Venezuela’s U.N. Ambassador Rafael Darío Ramirez Carreño and Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari were named to leadership positions on the U.N. Special Committee on Decolonization.
"B’nai B’rith International is outraged at the election of Syria and Venezuela to key leadership positions on a committee focused on eliminating the ‘subjugation, domination, and exploitation’ of global populations," the human rights group said.
"The Syrian regime denies the rights of its own people, year after year subjecting them to brutal conditions as it continues to unleash a war against its own population. Human rights violations in Venezuela are well-documented and abhorrent."
"The election of these two nations, notorious and unrelenting human rights abusers, once again demonstrates the hypocrisy of the U.N. system," the group said.
Carreño was elected chair of the committee during the opening of its 2016 session on Thursday. The committee also reelected Ja’afari as its rapporteur.
Ban Ki-Moon, the U.N. secretary-general, "commended" the leadership of the committee during the opening of its 2016 session on Thursday.
"I am pleased to send warm greetings to all participants at this session of the Special Committee on Decolonization. I commend the leadership of all those committed to bringing new energy to its work," the secretary-general said in a statement.
U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based watchdog monitoring human rights at the United Nations, has also criticized the decision to elect Syria and Venezuela to leadership positions on the committee.