Next week, Global Americans will be releasing our first report, Liberals, Rogues & Enablers: The International Order in the 21st Century, where we review how Latin American countries act when it comes to protecting human rights globally. In the meantime, we’ll preview the report this week with a snapshot of how some Latin American countries have voted on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) when it comes to protecting human rights and investigating abuses in the ongoing conflict raging in Syria.
There have been 19 UNHRC votes, in both regular and special sessions, regarding the Syrian civil war since it began in 2011 through 2015. However, because of UNHRC term limits, few, if any, countries have voted on every Syrian resolution.
Latin America is split when it comes to international obligations to protect human rights. Most countries have been consistent in their votes: either 100 percent supportive of human rights protection or 100 percent against interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign country. Surprisingly, despite Argentina’s former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s less-than-friendly rhetoric toward the United States and international expressions of concern over the erosion of judicial independence in her own country, Argentina voted consistently to express its concerns and defend human rights in Syria.
In fact, only two Latin American countries broke this 100 percent model: Brazil and Ecuador. Despite an obligation to protect human rights as part of their foreign policy, Brazil has voted against speaking out on human rights concerns in Syria in the name of human rights 10 times, and abstained twice. Ecuador broke with its ALBA allies in voting about Syria. While Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia have unanimously and consistently voted against international support for human rights, Ecuador has shown more independence and voted to support twice, reject three times and abstained seven times.
Below are graphic depictions of the votes. And how did Russia, China, South Africa, and India—the other BRICS countries with Brazil? Well, that’s in the report.
Note: At the 31st session of the UNHRC that just concluded on March 24th, there was another vote on the Syrian conflict, not included in our report. In that vote, countries remained consistent with their past voting records that we have documented in the report: El Salvador, Mexico, Panama and Paraguay voted “yes” to protect human rights, Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela voted “no”, and Ecuador abstained.