New members of UN Human Rights' Council criticised

United Nations

Bahrain, Cameroon and the Philippines were among a number of nations controversially elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday, sparking sharp criticism from rights groups.

Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley criticized the U.N. Friday after its General Assembly elected new members to the controversial Human Rights Council - including countries with poor human rights records. A total of 18 new members were elected by the absolute majority through a secret ballot, PTI reported.

India's neighbor country Bangladesh which is dealing with Rohingya issue, was also got elected to the Council with 178 votes to the Council. It is serving as Vice President representing the Asia-Pacific Group, according to the DFA.

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.

This is the fifth time India has been elected to the Geneva-based Council, the main body of the United Nations charged with promoting and monitoring human rights.

Around a third of the seats on the 47-member council, based in Geneva, were up for grabs for slots lasting from 2019-2022.

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All five of the General Assembly's regional groups had submitted competition-free slates, meaning that all candidates, regardless of their rights records, were virtually assured seats on the council.

The election of Bangladesh to the council is recognition of the progress the country has made in different human rights indices, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN Masud Bin Momen thinks.

Countries can be elected for only two consecutive terms and India took a year's break when its term ended in 2017. Such votes make mockery of word "election".

The body is tasked with promoting and monitoring human rights.

On the basis of equitable geographical distribution, Council seats are allocated to the five regional groups as follows: African States, 13 seats; the Asia-Pacific States, 13 seats; Eastern European States, 6 seats; Latin American and Caribbean States, 8 seats; and Western European and other States, 7 seats. In Cameroon, rights activists say civilians have been subjected to abuses amid fighting between English-speaking separatists and government security forces, and it is thought that thousands of people who fled the violence were unable to vote in Sunday's presidential election.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet will be taking over as the new United Nations human rights commissioner, succeeding Jordanian diplomat Zeid-Ra'ad al Hussein who released the report.

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