India wins seat to Human Rights Council at United Nations with highest votes

United Nations

United Nations

India on Friday won the seat to UN Human Rights Council after getting 188 votes in the Asia Pacific category.

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

Bangladesh, which is at the frontlines of dealing with the Rohingya crisis, was also elected with 178 votes to the Council to fill one of the five vacancies for three year terms from the Asia-Pacific region. It is serving as Vice President representing the Asia-Pacific Group, according to the DFA.

India secured the highest 188 votes. "More importantly, the United States will continue to be the world's human rights leader regardless of the suspect composition and poor decisions of the Human Rights Council", Haley, who is stepping down from her role in January, added.

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Few hours after India was elected to the United Nations' top human rights body on Friday, India's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin, said that New Delhi would continue its balance and moderate approach towards the protection of human rights across the world. Bangladesh is among the five countries elected from the Asia and Pacific region for three years from January, 2018.

The body is tasked with promoting and monitoring human rights. India got the highest number of votes among all 18 countries in the five regional categories.

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.

The new members elected Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Eritrea, Somalia and Togo in the African States category, Bulgaria and Czech Republic in the Eastern European States group, Argentina, Bahamas and Uruguay in the Latin American and Caribbean States group and Austria, Denmark and Italy in the Western European and other States category.

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"UN member countries should show their outrage at the Philippines and Eritrea by leaving two spots on the ballot sheet blank and keeping them off the council", said Louis Charbonneau, U.N. director at Human Rights Watch.

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's presence on the Council will be important because the previous UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein asked the body to facilitate an worldwide commission of enquiry into allegations of human rights violation in Kashmir.

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