Benin is an important supporter of the Council's
mandate to respond to violations around the world. It was one of the African
member states with the strongest performance in the Council.
Benin continued to demonstrate support for country-specific action at the Human Rights Council in 2014. It voted in favor of the resolution on Sri Lanka after opposing an attempt to adjourn the debate, and also supported resolutions on Syria, North Korea, Belarus and Ukraine. It also voted in favor of all resolutions on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories (OPT), with the exception of the July 2014 Gaza special session resolution, on which it abstained.
Regrettably, Benin maintained its abstention on the resolution on Iran in March 2014, despite the grave human rights situation in that country, including the sharp increase in the application of death penalty. This stance contrasts with Benin’s role in championing calls for abolition of the death penalty in thematic resolutions of the Council. Another stain on Benin’s record at the Council is its support in March 2014 for a joint declaration put forward by Saudi Arabia that backed the government crackdown in Egypt, despite the massive rights violations it entailed.
Benin also supported the special sessions of the Council on the Central African Republic and on Iraq, but did not support the special session on the conflict in Gaza.
Benin only co-sponsored country resolutions that were sponsored by the African Group or the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, rather than co-sponsoring any resolutions in its national capacity. As in past years, Benin contributed to debates of the Council dealing with country situations very rarely.
As it will become an observer state of the Council in 2015, Benin should make a particular effort to be more vocal during country-specific debates in order to remain a relevant player of the Council.
Voting record in 2014
Support for key joint statements in 2014
With the exception of its votes on the Libya resolution, Benin had an impeccable voting record in 2012. Benin voted in favor of the resolutions on Syria, Sri Lanka, Iran and Belarus. In 2013, however, Benin moved from supporting the Iran resolution to abstaining, a blot in its otherwise unimpeachable voting record. In 2012 and 2013 Benin voted in favor of all the resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.
Benin was a key signatory of the joint statement on Eritrea that helped garner support for the establishment of a Special Rapporteur on that country. In 2013, Benin signed on to the statement calling on the Security Council to refer the Syrian case to the ICC.
In 2012 and 2013 Benin co-sponsored 40 country-specific
resolutions under agenda items 1, 4, 7 and 10. However, Benin’s statements
during the Council's debates on country situations were scarce. Benin could
consolidate its positive record in the Council by expanding its participation
in the country-specific debates.