(JNS.org) Syria, a country whose regime has often been scrutinized for its human rights abuses, is among the seven nations in the Asia group vying for seats in the United Nations Human Rights Council, Reuters reported. Fourteen seats for three-year terms on the council will become available this year.
Another controversial candidate for the council, Iran, withdrew from consideration, a spokesman from Iran's U.N. mission said Thursday.
Hillel Neuer, the head of U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based group monitoring the U.N., said countries that "murder and torture their own people" should "not be allowed to become the world's judges on human rights." According to U.N. figures, as many as 100,000 people have died in the Syrian civil war between rebels and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch called Syria's candidacy a "cruel joke."