Syria candidacy for U.N. Human Rights Council questioned, Iran withdraws

( 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.

Click photo to download. Caption:  Azaz, Syria during the Syrian civil war. Syria is one of several countries with questionable human rights records vying for seats on the UN security council according to reports. Credit: Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons.

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."

Posted on July 11, 2013 .