Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan’s ruthless dictator, has been awarded a medal by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for “strengthening friendship and cooperation between nations, development of cultural and religious dialogue, and supporting cultural diversity.”

IWF’s Yasmine Rassam has the story over at  Turns out, this is not the first time that UNESCO has honored a ruthless dictator:

“On February 3, 2006, UNESCO awarded its 2005 José Martí International Prize to Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. Cuban president Fidel Castro personally handed the Martí prize which is intended to recognize those who have contributed to the ‘struggle for liberty’ in Latin America to Hugo Chávez, another repressive leader who has a winning track record of electoral fraud, human rights violations, property theft and political repression.”

The United Nations, meanwhile, has problems of its own:

“Just as the United Nations newly ‘reformed’ Human Rights Council still allows egregious human rights violators to sit in judgment of other nations, UNESCO is following other United Nations’ branches that are failing to live up to the ideals and mission upon which it is founded. All branches of the United Nations must reform and stand for the very principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights–the founding document of the United Nations. Otherwise, the United Nations’ moral authority regarding human rights is completely undermined by its deference to dictators and egregious violators of human rights.

“In addition to allowing dictators the run of the UN, the UN is also infected by corrosive and destroying corruption. One of the worst examples of this corruption once could be found at UNESCO. Recognizing that UNESCO was bursting with corruption, as well as mismanagement and politicization, the United States withdrew from it in 1984. In 2003, after UNESCO instituted a number of reforms, including eliminating half of its top staff members, the United States rejoined the body.”

Read the whole story here.