Here’s a fun chart, put together by my colleague Adam Chilton. The blue dots show the average human rights performance of all UN members. The red dots show the human rights performance of the members of the special UN human rights body that is supposed to monitor and enforce human rights law. Yes, the members of the human rights body do a lot worse than the average country. Why? Well, it makes sense if you are a human rights violator to lobby for a position on the human rights body, where you can protect yourself from criticism by forming coalitions with other abusers. (The scores for each country are from Chris Fariss’ data set.)
But there is hope for non-skeptics. The UN abolished the much-despised UN Commission on Human Rights and replaced it with the UN Human Rights Council in 2006, and made some effort to improve the membership. As both charts show, the human rights performance of the members increased noticeably. Still, not as good as the average country.