Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

India wins election to UN Human Rights Council in Asia-Pacific category

India wins election to UN Human Rights Council with highest number of votes Critics slam UN Human Rights Council's election of 'unqualified' new members
Jeannette Daniel | 13 October, 2018, 06:30

The 18 new members were selected from five regional blocs of countries, and their elections were largely predetermined since they were not challenged by other countries. Along with India, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Fiji and the Philippines also staked a claim in the same regional group.

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

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.

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.

Earlier this week UN Watch, the Human Rights Foundation and the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights published a report detailing alleged human rights abuses by the countries elected on Friday.

Nikki Haley, who this week announced her resignation as United States ambassador to the UN, said Friday's vote demonstrates why the U.S. was right to withdraw.

"The General Assembly takes into account the candidate States' contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as their voluntary pledges and commitments in this regard", the council states on its website.

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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.

Serious rights violations in Bahrain and Cameroon also raise significant concerns, it said.

The elections had been criticized by a host of other human rights groups as well.

Following the election, Akbaruddin tweeted, "Voting for a Happy Outcome".

The organisation said Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's crackdown on drugs had been "a killing frenzy that has left thousands dead" and that Eritrean authorities had persecuted and jail government critics.

On the eve of the elections, rights group Human Rights Watch had said United Nations member countries should oppose the candidacies of the Philippines and Eritrea for the Human Rights Council due to their "egregious human rights records".

"Regrettably, when the United Nations itself ends up electing human rights violators to the Human Rights Council, it indulges the very of culture of impunity it is supposed to combat", former Canadian justice minister and head of the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights Irwin Cotler said. India will be a member of the council for three years, starting January 1, 2019. One of the body's more controversial members, Venezuela, will be replaced after serving two terms on the council.

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