Sunday, 16 December, 2018

UN criticised over new human rights council members

India wins election to UN Human Rights Council with highest number of votes India wins election to UN Human Rights Council in Asia-Pacific category
Deanna Wagner | 13 October, 2018, 13:11

Bahrain, Fiji and the Philippines were other regional candidates.

The United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday elected a new set of representatives to serve three-year terms.

Haley urged the body to reform in a speech in Geneva in 2017 focusing on its anti-Israel bias and also its membership - which she said led to human rights abusers being protected on the council.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the "lack of standards continues to undermine the organization and demonstrates again why the United States was right to withdraw from it" in June.

Reflecting on the same, he told ANI, "India's victory today at the UN General Assembly during elections to human rights council is a reflection of high standing that our country enjoys globally".

The UN drew criticism on Friday for allowing countries with dismal human rights records to join its Human Rights Council.

Human Rights Watch's (HRW) UN director Louis Charbonneau called the election "a mockery" in a post on Twitter.

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While other countries with stronger human rights records were voted in - such as Argentina, Czech Republic and Denmark - the addition of those with poor records was cited as evidence by Haley that the USA was right to withdraw from the body earlier this year.

"Earning a seat in the said Council, however, puts pressure on the Philippine government to address numerous allegations of human rights violations, starting with the growing cases of extrajudicial killings purportedly linked to the government's campaign against illegal drugs", she added.

All five of the General Assembly's regional groups had submitted competition-free slates, meaning that all candidates, regardless of their rights records, were virtually assured seats on the council.

Louis Charbonneau, the group's United Nations director, called the vote "ridiculous" and said on Twitter it "makes aE mockery of (the) word 'election'".

Eritrea has been widely condemned as one of the most repressive countries in the world. "In Eritrea, the authorities persecute and jail government critics and force citizens into indefinite national service". It meets three times a year and its aim is to promote and protect human rights around the world.

The Council is made up of 47 United Nations member states which are elected for three years, with a new cohort joining every year. In Cameroon, rights activists say civilians have been subjected to abuses amid fighting between English-speaking separatists and government security forces, and it is thought that thousands of people who fled the violence were unable to vote in Sunday's presidential election.

This was also supported by his successor Michelle Bachelet and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.