US votes against Cuba on UNHRC

  • Category
    International Organisation
  • Published
    13th Aug, 2020

Context

The United States has urged UN members not to support Cuba’s bid to join the organisation’s Human Rights Council.

About

  • The UN Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for 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).

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.
  • The seats are distributed geographically and are awarded for a period of three years. Members are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.
  • Seats on the Council are distributed as follows:
    • 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

The upcoming elections

  • As the UN Human Rights Council is set to elect 15 new members this fall, Russia and China are both vying for seats at the 47-nation group.
  • Cuba, which sat on the UNHRC in 2014-2016 and 2017-2019, has applied to fill one of the regional vacancies for 2021-2023.

India and UNHRC

  • India has been elected eight times to the UN Security Council. 
  • India was elected to the United Nations’ top human rights body for a period of three years beginning January 1, 2019.
  • India has been seeking a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council as a member of the G4, an organization composed of Brazil, Germany, Japan, and India, all who are currently seeking permanent representation.
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