UNITED NATIONS: The United States won a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council that former President Donald Trump denounced and resigned, joining 17 other nations elected in uncontested votes on Thursday, which have been criticized for including countries with poor rights records.
The 193-member United Nations General Assembly elected all 18 candidates proposed by the world’s five regional groups. Benin ranked first with 189 votes, followed by Gambia with 186 votes, the United States with 168 votes, and Eritrea with 144 votes at the bottom of the list.
Louis Charbonneau, director of Human Rights Watch at the United Nations, said the lack of competition in this year’s Human Rights Council vote makes a mockery of the word ‘election’. The election of serious human rights abusers such as Cameroon, Eritrea and the United Arab Emirates sends a shocking signal that UN member states are not serious about the councils’ primary mission to protect human rights.
He said Cameron’s government suppressed dissent, crushed dissent, and persecuted lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. He said that Eritrean forces had committed large-scale atrocities in the neighboring Ethiopian region of Tigray and other grave human rights violations, and the human rights situation in the UAE remains dire, “with prominent Emirati human rights defender Ahmed Mansour imprisoned without a rank in almost complete isolation.”
The Geneva-based Human Rights Council was created in 2006 to replace a commission discredited by some members’ poor human rights records. But the new council soon faced similar criticism, including that rights abusers sought seats to protect themselves and their allies.
Under HRC rules, seats are allocated to regions to ensure geographical representation.
The United States criticized the selection of candidates with poor human rights records to undisputed lists as well as the Human Rights Council’s excessive criticism of Israel. This culminated in the Trump administrations withdrawing from the House in June 2018.
When Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced in February that the Biden administration was re-engaging with the council, he said Trump’s withdrawal had done nothing to encourage meaningful change, but instead created a vacuum in American leadership, something that nations with authoritarian agendas used to do. . their interest.
In a statement thanking UN member states for allowing the US to serve on the 47-nation body, Blinken said the US and other countries must stand up to attempts to subvert the ideals upon which the Human Rights Council was founded.
He said the council plays an important role in documenting atrocities in order to hold violators accountable, but added that it also suffers from serious flaws, including disproportionate interest in Israel and the membership of several countries with terrible human rights records.
The 18 countries elected for a three-year term beginning on January 1 are Benin, Gambia, Cameroon, Somalia and Eritrea from the African Group. India, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Qatar and the UAE are from the Asia group. Lithuania and Montenegro are of the Eastern European group; Paraguay, Argentina and Honduras are from the Latin American and Caribbean group; Finland, Luxembourg and the United States are mainly from the group of Western countries.
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