India elected to UN Human Rights Council with highest votes

Oct 13, 2018 12:26 IST
India elected to UN Human Rights Council with highest votes

India was on October 12, 2018 elected to the United Nations' Human Rights Council ' for a period of three years beginning January 1, 2019.

India secured 188 votes in the Asia-Pacific category, the highest number of votes among all candidates. Following the election, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said that India's win with the highest number of votes reflects the country's standing in the international community.

Key Highlights

The 193-member UN General Assembly held elections for new members to the UN Human Rights Council.

The countries needed a minimum of 97 votes to get elected to the Council.

18 new members were elected to UNHRC by absolute majority through a secret ballot.

India got the highest number of votes among all 18 countries in the five regional categories.

In the Asia Pacific category, India got 188 votes followed by Fiji with 187 and Bangladesh 178 votes.

The new members will serve a term of three years beginning January 1, 2019.

Background

India had been looking to win the seat at the UNHRC in the Asia Pacific category.

India had previously been elected to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council for the 2011-2014 and 2014-2017. Its last term had ended on December 31, 2017 and in accordance with the rules, it was not eligible for immediate re-election since it had already served two consecutive terms.

Along with India, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Fiji and Philippines had also staked a claim in the same regional group.

So in total, there were five nations vying for five seats in the Asia Pacific category. India's election to the Council was hence, all but certain.

About UNHRC

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was established by the UN General Assembly in March 2006 as its principal body dealing with human rights.

The body's main mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world.

The UNHRC comprises 47 elected members states. The states are elected for a three-year term on a regional group basis.

On the basis of equitable geographical distribution, the council seats are allocated to the five regional groups as follows:

1.  African States: 13 seats

2. Asia-Pacific States: 13 seats

3. Eastern European States: 6 seats

4. Latin American and Caribbean States: 8 seats

5. Western European and other States: 7 seats

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.

Former President of Chile Michelle Bachelet assumed the role of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in September this year, succeeding Jordanian diplomat Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, who had in June this year released a first-ever report on Kashmir that was rejected by India.

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