Feature

Libya heads rights commission

The week's news at a glance.

Geneva

Notorious human rights abuser Libya was selected this week to head the U.N. Human Rights Commission, a coup that the U.S. said made a mockery of the commission’s work. The U.S. tried to block the appointment by forcing a vote, but all the African countries supported Libya—perhaps in gratitude for Libya’s recent pledge to fund the new African Union. Human rights groups say Libya routinely kidnaps and tortures anyone critical of the dictatorial regime. “A country with this record does not merit a leadership role in the U.N. system,” said U.S. envoy Kevin Moley. The 53-member commission is supposed to investigate and expose abuses by governments. But in recent years it has grown timid, as countries with bad human rights records have vied to become members so they can block their own censure.

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