Published: Sat, October 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

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

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

Around a 3rd of seats on the 47-member council, based in Geneva, were open for slots lasting from 2019-2022.

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

India was elected to the Human Rights Council at United Nations for a period of three years, beginning January 1, 2019, after obtaining 188 votes in the Asia-Pacific category.

"Our successful bid to keep our seat in the Council is proof that many in the worldwide community remain convinced the Philippines respects and protects human rights and have seen through the efforts of some to politicize and weaponize the issue", Cayetano said in a statement. Bangladesh is among the five countries elected from the Asia and Pacific region for three years from January, 2018. "We will work in a balanced way to protect human rights of the world", the United Nations envoy had told. The other regional candidates were Bahrain, Fiji and the Philippines.

India's presence on the Council will be important because the previous UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein asked the body to facilitate an global commission of enquiry into allegations of human rights violation in Kashmir.

India's neighbor country Bangladesh which is dealing with Rohingya issue, was also got elected to the Council with 178 votes to the Council.

It was created in 2006. A total of 18 new members were elected by the absolute majority through a secret ballot, PTI reported.

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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. Yet again, countries with poor human rights records ran uncontested.

Campaigners had urged United Nations member states to oppose the candidacy of the Philippines and Eritrea and said the choice of Bahrain and Cameroon raised "significant concerns".

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

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 the first-ever report on Kashmir that was rejected by India. 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.

De Guia said the CHR will continue to help the United Nations monitor the human rights situation in the Philippines.

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

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