PH wins UN Human Rights Council seat

PH wins UN Human Rights Council seat

PH wins UN Human Rights Council seat

Countries that have been widely criticised for severe human rights abuses are among 18 newly elected members of the United Nations' Human Rights' Council.

The victory of India came after the previous UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein asked the body to do an global commission of inquiry into allegations of human rights violation in Kashmir.

Elections were held by secret ballot in the 193-member General Assembly on Friday, although the number of candidates for all the five regions matched the vacancies making it a formality. Thanks to the support of all our friends @UN, India wins seat to Human Rights Council with highest votes among all candidates.

Of the 18, six are classified by U.N. Watch, a human rights watch group based in Switzerland, as human rights abusers - Somalia, Eritrea, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Philippines and Bahrain.

India was vying for the seat in the Asia-Pacific category.

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In the Asia Pacific category, India got 188 votes followed by Fiji with 187 votes, Bangladesh 178, Bahrain and Philippines 165 each.

"Our successful bid to keep our seat in the Council is proof that many in the global community remain convinced the Philippines respects and protects human rights and have seen through the efforts of some to politicize and weaponize the issue", Cayetano said in a statement.

With the victory, the Philippines will get to serve another 3-year term in the 47-member Council based in Geneva from 2019 to 2021.

Members serve on the council for three years and can have only up to two consecutive terms. The group cited the administration's drug war, citing more than 12,000 suspected drug dealers have been killed in anti-drug operations - a huge jump from the government data showing 4,000 have been neutralized - as well as the attacks on human rights defenders.

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. "We will work in a balanced way to protect human rights of the world", the United Nations envoy had told.

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It said Human Rights Council member states should seek to neutralise any attempts by its "worst members to shield themselves and other serial rights abusers & keep doing good work on #Yemen, #Myanmar, #Syria, #Burundi & other crises".

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

The council also sends out independent experts and has set up commissions of inquiry to report on human rights violations in countries including Syria, North Korea, Burundi, Myanmar and South Sudan.

India's election comes just a month after Michelle Bachelet, the newly appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said, "The people of Kashmir have exactly the same rights to justice and dignity as people all over the world and we urge authorities to respect them".

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