India wins election to UN Human Rights Council in Asia-Pacific category

The 193-member UN General Assembly held elections at the global organisation for new members to the UN Human Rights Council.

The 18 new members were elected by the absolute majority through a secret ballot.

Eighteen new members - including Somalia, Eritrea, Cameroon, Bangladesh, and the Philippines - were voted into the Council on Friday from five regional blocs of countries. It is serving as Vice President representing the Asia-Pacific Group, according to the DFA. The Philippines won its bid for a re-election, while Bahrain, Bangladesh and Fiji bagged the other three seats.

"Getting a seat in the UN Human Rights Council is a repudiation of the critics and detractors on President Duterte's unrelenting war against illegal drugs", he said.

Following the election, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin told PTI that India's win with the highest number of votes "reflects India's standing in the global comity". "The new members will serve a term of three years beginning January 1, 2019". The post was assured as only 5 five countries, including India, were running for the five vacancies from the region, however, India secured the highest number of votes among all candidates. There were 18 candidates and we got the highest votes.

Haley urged the body to reform in a speech in Geneva in 2017 focusing on its anti-Israel bias and also its membership - which she said led to human rights abusers being protected on the council.

Countries can be elected for only two consecutive terms and India took a year's break when its term ended in 2017.

The United States pulled out of the council in June, calling the organization a "hypocritical" body that "makes a mockery of human rights", in particular in regard to its stance on Israel.

Given that there were five nations vying for five seats in the Asia Pacific category, India's election to the Council was all but certain.

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.

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

Independent watchdog Human Rights Watch criticized the move, warning Washington's absence at the council would put the onus on other governments to address the world's most serious rights problems. India has been appointed for a period of three years from 2019 to 2022.

  • Rogelio Becker