India wins seat at United Nations Human Rights Council

United Nations

India was elected to the United Nations' top human rights body for a period of three years beginning January 1, 2019, getting 188 votes in the Asia-Pacific category, the highest number of votes among all candidates.

The UNHRC meets three times a year, and reviews the human rights records of all UN members in a special process the council says gives countries the chance to say what they have done to improve human rights, known as the Universal Periodic Review.

The UN General Assembly also elected the following member states: Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, India, Italy, Somalia, Togo and Uruguay. The 18 new members were elected by absolute majority through a secret ballot. However, no other country has backed Zeid call for the investigation.

"They have always raised human rights violations against this administration, but as repeatedly said by the president, he will not allow human rights violations in this country", Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.

"By putting forward serious rights violators and presenting only as many candidates as seats available, the regional groups risk undermining the council's credibility and effectiveness", said New York-based Human Rights Watch.

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"India's victory today at UN General Assembly during elections to human rights council is reflection of high standing that our country enjoys globally.We're grateful to the many many friends that we've across the globe who came out and voted in such large numbers to ensure that India got the highest number of votes among all the 18 candidates", said India's Ambassador to UN S Akbaruddin.

The Council is made up of 47 United Nations member states from five regions, which are elected by the UNGA. Yet again, countries with poor human rights records ran uncontested.

The council's controversial Agenda Item 7, a permanent fixture on the schedule, is exclusively devoted to discussing alleged Israeli rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. India has served two tenures earlier between 2011 and 2017.

Israel is the only country with a dedicated council item. "The world's democracies must join in the preservation and protection of the Council's mandate, and not end up accomplices to its breach". A report to the Human Rights Council a year ago by a United Nations special rapporteur condemned Eritrea for its "indefinite length of conscription" and said that the government had "an ongoing unwillingness to meet its obligations and commitments under regional and worldwide human rights instruments".

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

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