India wins seat to Human Rights Council at United Nations with highest votes

Clay Curtis
October 13, 2018

The 18 new members were elected by the absolute majority through a secret ballot.

The country will be among 47-member states of the council from 2019 to 2021, following its election in 2015.

But ahead of the vote, aid group Human Rights Watch had slammed this year's process which saw every candidate run unopposed, thus assuring them a seat on the Council "regardless of their rights records".

Eighteen countries, ranging from India to the Bahamas to Denmark, were chosen in a UN General Assembly vote. In the 193-member UN General Assembly, only four countries did not vote for India.

Needing 97 votes to become a member of the top rights body of the UN, Bangladesh secured 178 votes. India reportedly got highest number of votes among all the other candidate nations.

Outgoing US ambassador to the UN, Nicki Haley, said on Friday that "this lack of standards continues to undermine the organisation and demonstrates again why the United States was right to withdraw from it earlier this year".

"Our successful bid to keep our seat in the Council is proof that many in the global community remain convinced the Philippines respects and protects human rights and have seen through the efforts of some to politicize and weaponize the issue", former Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.

While the last sentence may be challenged, what stands out is that Nikki Haley did not make any exception in criticising the newly elected states.

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Following the election, Akbaruddin tweeted, "Voting for a Happy Outcome". India has been appointed for a period of three years from 2019 to 2022. The army has serially been reported of using highhandedness in both operations. "We will work in a balanced way to protect human rights of the world", the United Nations envoy had told.

The Foreign Ministry hit back saying, "It is a selective compilation of largely unverified information".

More than 4,200 drug suspects have been killed since 2016, but human rights groups and government critics said this figure is understated.

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

"The Commission on Human Rights welcomes the Philippines' election to the UN Human Rights Council", De Guia said in a statement. "She is there to convene not to impose".

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.

The seemingly bad news is that a few of the elected members of the United Nations have arguably not upheld what is also stated in the same resolution - the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.

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