Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

India wins election to UNHRC

Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Teddy Locsin Jr. and Maria Fernanda Espinosa President of the UN General Assembly. DFA handout Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Teddy Locsin Jr. and Maria Fernanda Espinosa President of the UN General Assembly. DFA handout
Steven Clarke | 13 October, 2018, 06:30

The 18 new members were elected by the absolute majority through a secret ballot. Along with India, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Fiji and Philippines had also staked a claim in the same regional group. Those countries will join other countries with poor human rights records, such as Cuba, China, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, on the world's top human rights body.

The new members elected Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Eritrea, Somalia and Togo in the African States category, Bulgaria and Czech Republic in the Eastern European States group, Argentina, Bahamas and Uruguay in the Latin American and Caribbean States group and Austria, Denmark and Italy in the Western European and other States category.

India's election into UNHRC is important considering previous UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein who asked the body to facilitate an worldwide commission of inquiry into allegations of human rights violation in Kashmir. "This lack of standards continues to undermine the organization", she said.

The Council is made up of 47 United Nations member states from five regions, which are elected by the UNGA.

Rights groups and the USA criticized the United Nations Human Rights Council for electing controversial nations to the council.

This is the fifth time India has been elected to the Geneva-based Council, the main body of the United Nations charged with promoting and monitoring human rights.

HRW also criticised the candidacy of Bahrain, citing its jailing of prominent human rights defenders such as Nabeel Rajab.

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Following Friday's election, United States ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said "yet again" countries with poor human rights records had run uncontested.

Around a 3rd of seats on the 47-member council, based in Geneva, were open for slots lasting from 2019-2022.

"Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's abusive "war on drugs" has been a killing frenzy that has left thousands dead".

In light of the uncontested election of serial human rights abusers, UN Watch suggested reforming the council's election system.

"The United States will continue to support reforms that would make the Human Rights Council credible".

In Cameroon, HRW said government forces and armed separatists had committed "grave abuses" in the country's Anglophone region.

The Philippines was granted another three-year term in the council seat after 165 to 192 member-states voted for it, according to Ambassador Teodoro Locsin, Jr. - who is also the incoming DFA chief. One of the body's more controversial members, Venezuela, will be replaced after serving two terms on the council. "They are the ones who chose to run people for these seats and their the governments who vote for them".

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