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‘Pakistan, China re-elected to UNHRC’

  • Category
    India & world
  • Published
    26th Oct, 2020

Pakistan and Nepal have been re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council, while China won a seat by the smallest margin showing a drastic drop in standing. 

Context

Pakistan and Nepal have been re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council, while China won a seat by the smallest margin showing a drastic drop in standing. 

About

  • What is UNHRC?
  • UNHRC is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for-
    • strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe
    • addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
  • The UNHRC has “the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year”.
  • The Human Rights Council replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR).
  • The Human Rights Council holds no fewer than three regular sessions a year, for a total of at least 10 weeks.
    • The sessions are held at the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

Items for Box

Highlights of the 75th General Assembly Session

  • Saudi Arabia was defeated in the elections for the four seats up for vote to represent Asian and Pacific countries getting only 90 votes, seven shy of the 97 required for election.
  • Russia, which was defeated in 2016 by two votes having received only 112, made a comeback getting 158 votes.
  • Ukraine, its regional adversary, ran unopposed for the other seat.
  • Pakistan got 169 votes in the election held by secret paper ballot with COVID-19 precautions, and Nepal 150.
    • The two South Asian countries are members of the council with their current terms ending on December 31 and will now serve for three more years.
  • India and Bangladesh are also a member of the council last elected in 2018 to the term starting in 2019 and running out at the end of next year.
    • India had previously been elected to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council for the 2011-2014 and 2014-2017 terms.
  • Uzbekistan was the fourth country elected from the Asia Pacific region with 169 votes.
  • France, Britain, Cuba and Mexico were among the 15 countries elected to represent other regions at the 47-member council based in Geneva.

Membership

  • The Council is made up of 47 UN Member States, which are elected by the UNGA through a direct and secret ballot.
  • The General Assembly takes into account the contribution of the candidate states to the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as their voluntary pledges and commitments in this regard.
  • Members of the Council serve for a period of three years, and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.
  • The HRC has a Bureau of one President and four Vice-Presidents, representing the five regional groups.
    • They serve for a year, in accordance with the Council’s annual cycle.

Distribution of Seats

  • African States: 13 seats
  • Asia-Pacific States: 13 seats
  • Latin American and Caribbean States: 8 seats
  • Western European and other States: 7 seats
  • Eastern European States: 6 seats
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