Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Nation - Indo Asian News Ser­vice let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

In­dia was elected with the high­est num­ber of votes by the Gen­eral As­sem­bly to the in­flu­en­tial Hu­man Rights Coun­cil on Fri­day with a pledge to com­bat in­tol­er­ance.

In­dia re­ceived 188 votes, the high­est polled by any of the 18 coun­tries elected in the vot­ing.

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

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 in­ter­na­tional com­mis­sion of in­quiry into claims of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tion in Kash­mir.

His suc­ces­sor Michelle Bachelet and Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res have backed Zeid’s rec­om­men­da­tion, which Pak­istan -- a mem­ber of the Coun­cil -is cam­paign­ing for. So far, no other coun­try has backed Zeid’s call for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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 Asi­aPa­cific re­gion.

The re­gional group en­dorsed five coun­tries, which matched the num­ber of seats open for election this year, and they were the only coun­tries on the bal­lot. The other re­gional can­di­dates were Bahrain, Fiji and the Philip­pines.

Thir­teen other coun­tries rep­re­sent­ing the other four re­gions were also elected to the Coun­cil.

In Jan­uary In­dia will join China and Nepal, be­sides Pak­istan, which were elected to the 47-mem­ber Coun­cil in pre­vi­ous years to serve three-year terms.

When it nom­i­nated it­self for the Coun­cil, In­dia show­cased its po­si­tion as “the world’s largest democ­racy (and) In­dia’s sec­u­lar polity.” It pledged that it will con­tinue to sup­port in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to com­bat racism, racial dis­crim­i­na­tion, xeno­pho­bia and re­lated in­tol­er­ance.


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