On October 12, India was elected to the United Nations top human right body UNHRC(United Nations Human Rights Council) as one of its members for the next three year. India secured a total of 188 votes in the Asia- Pacific category, which was the highest among all the candidates. As reported by Times of India, the period of three years will begin from January 1, 2019.
India’s Election into UNHRC
There were five seats available for taking in the Asia Pacific category and India was vying for one of them along with Fiji, Bangladesh, Bahrain and Philippines. However, as there were exactly five countries for the five seats, India’s election into the council was all but certain, and a secret ballot was just held as a formality. India secured a total of 188 votes out of 193 which was the highest among all the 18 countries in the five regional categories. Syed Akbaruddin, India’s UN Ambassador, told PTI that India’s win with the highest number of votes “reflects India’s standing in the international community. This is the third occasion on which India has been elected to this Geneva-based Human Rights Council, the last two terms being 2011-2014 and 2014-2017. The last tenure ended on December 31, 2017.
India will join China, Nepal and Pakistan who have been elected last year in the council.
Importance of this Election to India.
According to the Hindustan Times, India’s presence in the council is very important due to previous UN high commissioner for human rights Zaid Raad Al Hussein demanding an international commission of inquiry into allegations of human violations in Kashmir. Zeid’s successor Michelle Bachelet has backed Zeid’s demand for which Pakistan – a member in council is campaigning for.
What is the UNHRC
Formed in the year 2006, the United Nations Human Rights Council is a body of the United Nations which overview the protection of human rights all around the world. It investigates any allegations of human rights violations in UN member states. The UNHRC has 47 members elected for a period of the span of three years on a regional group basis. The seats are geographically distributed with the African States getting 13 seats, Asia Pacific States getting 13, Eastern European states get six seats, western European and other states get seven seats, and Caribbean States 8 seats. Each country needs a minimum of 97 votes to get elected into the council.
The Other elected countries
In the Asia Pacific region, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Fiji and Philippines all secured a spot in the council. In the African States category, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Eritrea, Somalia and Togo were elected. Bulgaria and Czech Republic in Eastern European states group, Argentina, Bahamas and Uruguay in Latin American and Caribbean States group. Austria, Denmark and Italy in Western European and other states category. All the countries mentioned will be a part of the UNHRC from January 1, 2019.
Questions over the elections
The Human Rights Watch have opposed the elections and have called the voting mockery over the word “elections”.They believe that Philippines and Eritrea do not belong in the rights council and should leave two spots on the ballot sheet blank, keeping them off the council. They wish that all the members should seek to neutralise any attempt by its “worst member “ to shield themselves and other serial rights abusers and keep doing the excellent work.
Source: The Logical Indian
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